Now that 2019 is well underway and we’ve all (hopefully!) managed to successfully detox after enjoying all the rich offerings that go hand in hand with the festive season it’s time for a return to ‘normality’. But what do we mean by ‘normal’? Well, for us a balanced diet is definitely not about self-denial. OK, so detoxing might mean abstaining from some of our more indulgent favourites for a wee while, but our everyday lives don’t have to mean completely ignoring the foods that we really love. In fact, we’d go so far as arguing that doing without that favourite pizza once in a while could actually have a negative effect on our health. In this blog, we’ll explore why and discuss some tips for how to indulge more responsibly.
Guilty isn’t healthy
We’ve all been there. That four week diet plan that promises to solve all of our nutritional woes, if we can just manage to stick to it for the full month. That feeling of accomplishment on having got through it without even so much as a single square of chocolate. Then we celebrate all that hard work and discipline with some of our favourite treats – and as if by magic, we’re back to where we started and feeling just as guilty about our eating habits as we did before. It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to figure out that this ‘forbidden food’ effect is not good for us. Our minds count for just as much of our overall health as our bodies do and this cycle of denial, over indulgence, guilt is not a helpful one. If this sounds like you, indulgence in moderation could be a useful approach to take. But how best to go about it?
Having a plan for how you’re going to indulge, and doing so in a way that you’re comfortable with, is a great idea. For example, perhaps your scheduled treat comes on a Friday evening. This gives you something to look forward to, enjoy when it comes, whilst not having reason to beat yourself up given that the majority of your week has been health-conscious. That feeling of being in control whilst still being able to live your life and enjoy eating is pretty moreish in itself! Some people swear by the 80/20 rule. This works in the sense that 80% of your meals are healthy and 20% of them can be slightly more indulgent.
What about if all this 80/20 business sounds all well and good, but your problem is self-control? Well, giving in to those cravings doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sometimes they simply just need to be honoured. For example, taking two squares of chocolate instead of eating the whole bar (and then putting the remainder out of sight) can help soothe that burning desire
Willpower not included
Of course it must be said that being able to take a more restricted, but still permissive, approach to eating requires some practice. Especially if you’re used to doing the opposite. It takes a little time to find that balance, but if you have a few stumbles along the way try not to be too hard on yourself!