Yep, you read it correctly. Jim and I don’t cheat. We don’t have cheat meals, ever.
But we do TREAT ourselves. Because rather than dieting and restricting foods from our day-to-day, we allow for that wiggle room so that we can actually live life and enjoy it, all while being healthy. We practice balance and moderation.
Cheat meals, cheat days, and some of you with your cheat months (not judging), I get it. And it works for many people that have very specific goals they are looking to accomplish. I mean, Jim has done countless media stories here, here, here and more on WHY people should cheat and not stay so restrictive on their diets. But the word cheat has such a negative connotation. Like you’re doing something wrong. Just look at the definition:
Cheat: /CHēt/ a person who behaves dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.
synonyms: swindler, deceiver
But when you look at the definition of treat, it sounds a lot more pleasant and something that I want to take part in.
Treat: /trēt/ an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.
synonyms: celebration, entertainment
But really, if you need a break from your diet then it’s very likely that what you’re doing is not sustainable for one reason or another. So if you are not training for something specific or have a very specific goal, then it may be time to re-evaluate that nutrition plan. When we treat ourselves, we are able to live our lives and truly enjoy it rather than revolving it around when and what we are going to eat at all times. We don’t live “cheat meal” to “cheat meal”. If your family is going out for fro-yo for a Wednesday evening treat, but you can’t partake because you’re cheat meal isn’t until Saturday, well that just sucks. I’ve tried the whole cheat meal thing. It was the worst week of my life. Well, maybe not THAT dramatic but it definitely wasn’t fun. I was working at an ‘office job’ prior to JWFNS and the office ordered pizza for lunch. I had been craving pizza all week but I hadn’t planned for my cheat meal until Saturday night so I sat there, miserable and salivating, with my salad while everyone else ate their hot and tasty pizza. It was probably the tastiest pizza that was ever made, too. But I’ll never know. It was seriously the worst.
But now I consciously eat. I know what I am putting in my body, I eat what I want and when I want it. And because of that, I don’t find myself binge eating the “bad” foods or severely craving. I still crave foods at times, but it’s nothing like it used to be. So now that I treat myself, I choose to fill up on the salad first and have just one slice of pizza. Rather than restricting myself altogether and leaving me unsatisfied and wanting it even more.
If “treat meals” are never off-limits, you will find that you’ll be less likely to think constantly about food.
For instance, this morning I had breakfast with a couple of girlfriends and while we had a spread of healthy foods like yogurts, fruit and an egg & spinach quiche, I decided to grab some Duck Donuts on my coffee run because it was right next door and why would I not?
Have you ever tried their donuts?? Each bite is like a little taste of soft and crispy heavenly goodness. And since I don’t restrict myself from these foods I crave, it also means I rarely go ‘overboard’ and binge out on these types of foods. We ended up cutting the donuts in smaller pieces which allowed for just enough satisfaction without binge eating the entire box and having my girlfriends roll me to my car on the way out. It also means that I was satisfied, didn’t overindulge and won’t “wait until Monday” to start back up on my healthy eating. It’s a lifestyle. And it’s what being really, truly fit is all about.
Love your body, don’t cheat on it. Go on and TREAT YO’ SELF!