Can I cheat? It’s the number one question that I get asked. Fundamentally, my goal is to help people crave healthier foods so there isn’t a need to "cheat", but even if you already eat super well, sometimes it feels good to go ham (literally, where is the bacon?). So how can you indulge and feel good about? Here are a few tips:
SET REALISTIC GOALS
Before we talk about how to cheat, let's think about what you're cheating on. Setting too many restrictions and unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to an "ah f*** it moment", followed by that dreaded post-binge guilt. Make a plan that you can stick with for more than 3 days.
ONLY EAT FOOD YOU LOVE
Life is too short to eat food you don't like! If you're trying to "diet" and you don't like the food, it's not going to work. Period. Think you could never truly enjoy healthier foods? Talk to me.
FIND BETTER ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCES
Be smart about your choices. Read labels. You might be surprised to find that there are healthy versions of your favorite junk foods that don’t actually taste like junk. Some of my favorties:
- Eating Evolved coconut butter cups > Peanut butter cups
- Tequila soda lime on the rocks > Classic margarita
- Siete Foods grain-free tortilla chips > Corn tortilla chips
- Brad’s Veggie Chips > Wheat Thins
MAKE YOUR CHEATS COUNT
In other words, don’t eat a donut alone in the dark. Share your indulgences with friends (not the donut, the experience). Really take time to appreciate and enjoy your food. When you’re home on your own, just eat healthy. No one is watching.
WHEN IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL. DO IT.
If something is really going to make you happy—like cake on your birthday, your mom’s meatloaf or a bowl of pasta at your favorite restaurant—go and have it. Live your life. But just don’t make it an everyday thing.
QUALITY IS KEY
Eating better quality, less processed food will be easier on your digestive system and better for your overall health. If you want a burger, have one. Just maybe swap your MacDonald’s for an organic grass-fed alternative.
Try not to mindlessly eat a ton of crappy cheese and crackers from the buffet table (c'mon, we've all been there). If you’re eating something that might fall out of your healthy routine, make sure you’re paying attention and, more importantly, enjoying it.
Being disciplined and taking time to reestablish healthy routines is a good thing (shoutout to all my homies on The RASA Challenge right now), and will help you make lifestyle changes that stick. You’ll notice that as you clean up your diet, your cravings will change and your “cheats” will become healthier. That’s the goal.
And for the record: yes, I cheat. All the time. But I don’t call it cheating, I call it living. No shame in that game.