If You’re Going to Cheat on Your Healthy Diet, Make It Indulgent and Worth It
In a perfect world, we would all be able to choose to not eat something indulgent that is highly processed and also high in sugar, and to never be tempted to allow it into your diet again. We would all have lost the weight when we first decided to do so, or we would have run that race or marathon when we wanted to in the first place.
Unless you have
incredible self-control like my husband or Jocko Willink, who says that
discipline equals freedom, you are probably like the majority of the human
population, and you will fail at times and cheat on your diet or your fitness
You can choose to be
very frustrated with yourself and to dive deep into self-loathing when you do
fail for a moment or go off the rails for a day, or you could choose to not let
a 30-minute meal ruin the next ten hours of your life.
After cheating on diets in the past, I
have climbed into very dark and deep holes of self-loathing, and I realise that
it is unrealistic to expect myself to be perfect or to do things perfectly. I
kept thinking that I had to keep trying to learn what I had to do, so that I
would never cheat again, then maybe I just had to change my mindset around
cheating on my diet.
In the greater scheme
of things, eating badly and too much for one day will not damage your body
permanently, and if you eat healthily afterward for three or five days, your
body will return back to normal.
Then, if you know
that there is a 95% chance that you are going to cheat on your diet, then
decide that, from now on, you will not feel guilty if that happens. Also
promise yourself that if you are going to cheat on your diet, it has to be
You will know exactly
what I mean by that if you have, in the past, craved something, cheated on your
diet, and then the thing you were eating was very disappointing and not nearly
as tasty as you imagined it would be.
A disappointing and
stale doughnut really is not worth the calories. If a doughnut is what you are
really craving, then rather make it a Krispy Kreme doughnut than a cheap, stale,
second-rate version of it.
If I choose to eat
something that contains gluten, then it has to be worth the side effects of
having stomach cramps and my skin breaking out more. The only food source of
gluten that I have found is worth a pimple or two is a croissant.
I have exceptions for
each one of my diet rules. I do not need gluten, but I will indulge in a
croissant. I do not eat sugar, but I will never say no thank you to a macaroon
or one of the Lindor balls from Lindt.
I follow a low-carb
diet, but I will never give up sushi entirely, and I will have popcorn every
few months or so.
If you can weigh up
the negative effects of what you are eating, you can decide if eating it will
be worth it or not. The same applies to when you are eating the indulgent treat.
Sharing a piece of cake with a friend is much better than eating cake alone in
Taking your kids for
ice cream is better than eating ice cream in the car on your way to another
Of course, you do not
want to eat unhealthy foods every day, and want to follow a healthy diet 80% of
the time. But every now and then, eating something that contains gluten or
sugar is still okay, and you do not have to feel guilty about indulging.
An indulgent diet,
for me, is the way to go. I practically live on healthy and indulgent desserts
that are low in sugar and carbohydrates, but high in healthy fats. I might have
a croissant every three months, but because I eat healthily most of the time, I
do not have to feel guilty.
To me, it is worth
cheating on my healthy diet. Until I can make an equally indulgent, but
healthier croissant that tastes the same as the original, I will not deny
myself one of mankind’s most delicious creations.
A great example of a
group of people who only choose indulgent treats that are worth eating is the
French. There is something called the French paradox. The people in France tend
to be quite healthy, yet they consume a lot of wine and indulgent cheese,
croissants, and sweet pastries and treats.
They do, however,
practice portion control, and they have high standards when it comes to what
they choose to eat. Rather eat an indulgent and rich piece of chocolate cake
than a cheap candy bar.
Become a dessert snob
and only eat something if it is high-quality and absolutely worth it to you. You
can decide what is worth eating or not, but do not waste your calories or
naughty treat on something mediocre when you could have chosen incredible
Next time you are faced with the decision of whether or not to eat a
slice of pizza or have cake at your best friend’s birthday party, ask yourself whether
it is worth it or not. Life is too short for disappointing desserts.