When discussing diets, and healthy eating, people often ask if indulging in their favourite foods is ok. Of course, this is ok! I believe that being too regimented, all the time, is unhealthy.
As a nutritionist, my world is very health-orientated and so, I am very focused not to be too strict, or fussy. On the weekends, I indulge a little without the worry or guilt, and my body loves it. The key is indulging with mindfulness and moderation.
I have spoken with many people who won’t eat anything ‘naughty’ as they are afraid, they may spiral out of control and binge. We all have weak spots. This is not a bad thing; it is human nature. However, playing the game of mental negotiation will get you nowhere slowly and only make you feel more stressed.
I can indulge in my favourite foods because I trust my body. Will one indulgent meal cause a skin breakout? Or significant weight gain? Will it derail your good habits? The answer is: No. What matters is how you eat MOST of the time. This means eating clean 80 per cent of the time and allowing yourself to eat “imperfectly” for the remaining 20 per cent.
Does this mean go crazy and eat all the junk food you crave? Unfortunately, not. Healthy indulgence means being able to eat these foods in moderate amounts, while still loving yourself. No stress, no guilt. Eat mindfully and give thanks. Trust that your body can handle it and take care of you.
Here are my 3 Steps to Healthy Indulgence:
- Plan to indulge
If you’re going to a birthday party or dinner with friends, there’s no need to restrict your eating that day so that you can go “all out”. Be mindful. It is important to eat satiating meals that day to keep your blood sugar stable. Also, if you’re prepared and excited about the indulgence, you’re less likely to feel guilty.
- Watch your language
Avoid terms like ‘cheat meal’ or ‘giving in’. You’re not cheating and you’re not giving in. You are in control and have made a conscious effort to indulge.
- Eat your treats in moderation.
Remember that this is not your only meal for the day, so no need to over do it. You can some more tomorrow if you wish because you are no longer depriving yourself.
Note: Even though you’re allowed to indulge, you can’t call a box of biscuits a “snack” and expect to keep on track (even if your other meals are healthy!). The 20 percent refers to the ratio of “good” versus “bad” foods, but also to the amount of calories you eat every day.