How Cheating Was My Best Lifestyle Lesson!

This BLUE looks just as tempting as that new “Unicorn” Frappuccino that Starbucks has, recently, introduced – ha! I digress but, seriously, if cheat meals were still the “in thing” would you really be pounding back the blue-dyed icing?

Like how you CHEAT, right?

Although I have made mention to this in past blog posts, as well as throughout the 2 Health Nuts various social media outlets, I wanted to go a little deeper into my “cheating” years, and how it was one of my biggest lifestyle lessons. You see, as an advocate for moderation and, as I mentioned before, “liking what you eat,” the concept of “cheat meals” is not something that I speak on very often. Not only is this due in part to the fact that I don’t believe in this practice – at least, anymore – but the negative connotation that is associated with the word is just well, “ick.”

I can’t deny, though, that this was a philosophy I used to live by, especially when I was in the hunt for the “next best thing,” so I feel it is only right to share it with you!

The good news – this craze did not last too long for me (and thank God for that)!

Back in the day, I, too, was just like MOST individuals who were trying to attain a certain physique or simply a number on the scale. This should come as no surprise but it looked a little something like this… “super strict” (for the most part) with my food during the week, only to “allow,” “reward” and “go all out” come the weekend. If I look back on it now, it just seems crazy…but we live and learn, right?

Honestly, I was feeling so overwhelmed by what I was being “told” to do that I ended up sabotaging my own efforts in the process. Aside from the white knuckling weekdays, and cheat weekends, I had become accustomed to eating by way of what time the clock read vs. my ACTUAL hunger levels. If I view my eating THEN, to what it is NOW, I most definitely was consuming way more food than I needed (and probably wanted).

Nothing was more exciting than when Friday or Saturday night rolled around and it became a “free-for-all.” While my breakfasts pretty much stayed on point, it was my lunches and dinners that became my “I have been good all week treats.” Foods such as pizza, chips and dips, heavy Italian, crab pretzels, Mexican, desserts, cosmopolitans (yes, it was back in my Sex In The City days), and, well, you know the drill.

I can even remember explaining this to my Mom at a family dinner one night. We were having a conversation about how our weekend eating ALWAYS seems so much more disjointed than during the week. I chimed in by reassuring that it was totally OKAY if she splurged – her eating was on-point during the week and by consuming MORE calories, and “unfamiliar” foods, you were, actually, doing the metabolism a favor!

Boy, how I have come a long way from THAT. Mind you, there is validity to that statement, so I was not off by any means BUT it is the rational for which I was saying and, let’s face it, LIVING IT. It’s kind of comical in a way but it, also, validates to me the shift my mindset has taken over the last 10 years.

It was this very dinner party (and subsequent parties and dining out) that I came home feeling absolutely stuffed, bloated, miserable, and GUILTY. Good thing it was a Sunday because, NOW, I could get back into my routine – 60+ minutes (give or take) in the gym and my 5-6 meals that were chock full of oatmeal, egg whites, brown rice, chicken, veggies, turkey, and yada, yada, yada.

For some people, this lifestyle works for them in all realms. And, for some, they can do this and not feel the need to go into complete binge mode when they deviate from their structured meals.

This is not the majority, and it, certainly, was not for me. It kept me stagnant. It kept me deprived.

It kept me unhappy…something I did not realize until years later. 

Going out and/or ordering in was treated as a special occasion. I had that paralyzing mindset of “eat it all now or who knows when you will get it again.” I was left feeling weak and powerless at times because I didn’t understand why it was not working for me, yet the cover models on the fitness magazines seemed to make it look effortless.

Little did I know that, years later, I would become totally disillusioned, spent, and nowhere close to seeing the results that I wanted to see.

Little did I know that I would be living by, and educating, on the very mantra that gave me the BEST life lesson – “the RIGHT way is the ONLY way that works for YOU.”

Being SUPER STRICT and CONTROLLING did nothing more than lead me to being super consumed and totally self-sabotaged. What you read in a magazine, or hear from your peers about what works for them, does not mean that it is realistic, attainable, and even sustainable for YOU. This only leads you down that rabbit hole of feeling weak, powerless, and headfirst into the bag of potato chips, M&M’s, or having consumed a whole plate of French fries or nachos.

So, where am I today? Well, to start, I eat according to my hunger levels. If my first meal is at 10:00 am instead of 30-60 minutes after waking, then so be it. If I want that glass of wine or two each night, or a few slices of my favorite meats and cheeses, awesome. If everyone is having pizza, and it is something that sounds really good, I will load up on veggies and have a slice or two of pizza.

No deprivation, no boring foods, and, certainly, no need to feel like I am CHEATING…because I have already been down that road and let’s just say it leads to a dead end. Plus, don’t you want to feel just as good as you do TODAY on MONDAY?

As for my workouts, I exercise because I want to and it makes me feel good. Whether it is 10, 15, 20, 30 or 60 minutes, I am doing it to better myself and build the body I want vs. feeling the need to “work off” the so-called CHEATS.

Did I mention how much leaner I am too? Not only is my lifestyle a little more automated and effortless, I am, actually, seeing the fruits of my labor! Talk about a win-win! 

The moral of the story? Cheater, cheaters are NO FUN…and you certainly do not want to be (or become) ONE!

Here’s to eating what you like…and cheers to the weekend!

xoxo

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