If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know that I’m typically a light hearted blogger, usually making fun of myself and the situations I find myself in. This will be a little different, so sit tight for a slightly more serious Maddi.
I often hear people talking about what they ate as a ‘treat’ or what their looking forward to for their weekly ‘cheat meal’. If you’re new to this kind of talk, basically a cheat meal means to set aside a specific day and meal, and allow yourself to eat foods that stray from your usual structured diet or routine. The way in which people choose to do these cheat meals varies from person to person, some people choose to set no limits and basically until they can’t eat no more. While others choose to add a few restrictions too their cheat meals. Now this is fine, for some people, as it allows them to stay on track and reduce binging. Whatever you feel will keep you balanced and consistent is always the best way to go.
Now to where this kind of mentality can go a little wrong. It’s all well and good when you’re hitting every session hard, you’re focussed on your goals and your motivation is through the roof. You’re ‘treating’ yourself for all your hard work yeah? The danger of using this kind of terminology isn’t so great when everything is tracking well; it’s when you fall slightly off the ‘perfect’ bandwagon. What happens when you skip that gym workout? What happens when you don’t quite put 100% into that PT session? You’re sick for a few days so you stay in bed? Basically – what happens when life, well… happens?
You haven’t worked so hard this week, so now you ‘don’t deserve’ that ‘treat’ meal. Last week you went to gym every day and this week you only went twice, so now there’s no way you could possibly have that ‘cheat’ meal. But you’re so used to having this weekly indulgence so you do it anyway. The guilt sets in because now you’ve ‘treated’ yourself, without feeling as though you really deserved it.
This is how powerful this kind of language can be. So quickly your mind can take over and begin thinking irrational and ridiculous thoughts. The building blocks for creating seriously disordered eating can start so small with a few seemingly harmless words. I used to be one of those people. A ‘cheat-mealer’ that is; but I found myself in this exact cycle. It’s exhausting.
Remove the labels, remove the guilt and allow yourself to eat freely.
Removing the ‘cheat meal’ label, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy those foods anymore – no sir. It just means you can eat without overthinking. While I still recommend keeping the consumption of highly processed, fatty and high sugar foods to a minimum; and fueling your body with micronutrient dense, clean foods; I just want you to know that it’s ok to let go a little. Stop feeling guilty, and stop feeling regretful.