I always look for inspiration for my blogs. Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to have my own experience or I have one of my clients give me some inspiration. I’m traveling this week and this morning I was walking by a donut shop in downtown Chicago. Well, I’m sure you know what happened next so I’m going to share my thoughts on cheating when your health requires clean eating.
First of all, I did tell myself that when I got here, knowing I would walk by the donut shop that I was not going to partake. I was extra hungry and when I got to my favorite salad shop, I was so disappointed because it was closed. ? And the temp had already dropped 15 degrees, I was freezing, and it was starting to rain. What is wrong with this picture? Hmm.
Second of all, don’t make poor decisions when you are significantly hungry. I should never have allowed myself to get that hungry. Ever. But I’m traveling and it is hard. It does require planning which I didn’t do well today.
I actually didn’t make my choice in this moment. Nope. I walked around the corner to another salad shop and the line was ridiculous. We are talking 30 minutes standing and waiting and I couldn’t do it. I stopped into Anthropologie cause I needed a fix, thankfully my suitcase is full. Left and continued on my way to Beatrix which I love. I could just go to their salad bar. Not really a great place to stay Gluten Free, as there is a lot of contamination in salad bars, but it was my best option. I really did make the attempt but then it started spitting cold drops of rain and I was poorly underdressed for the change in the weather. It was beautiful when I left the hotel this morning. But not anymore.
I knew the closest option was the Poke Bowl place around the corner, but I don’t really like my options. I was getting picky because of my disappointment. I was so looking forward to the parmesan crisps in my salad.? On the way to the Poke Bowl place, I had to walk past the donut shop one more time and I just couldn’t refuse. I was going to have a lunch that would not satisfy me at all and in this moment, I needed food satisfaction, so I did walk in and get myself a donut. Now I have to tell you about this donut. Yes, it is loaded with sugar but it is much less than a bagel, that’s a plus. It had this scrumptious glaze that was still wet and shiny. And it was covered in a rainbow of sparkles. And when I bit into this donut, it was still warm. It was like heaven on my tongue and yes, it was worth every bite. Every single bite and I was happy.
Food can have an amazing way of satisfying you to your emotional core and in this moment, I was very satisfied.
I suppose the question would be when and how do I allow myself to cheat? There are degrees of cheating. So, what are we talking about here?
A donut is a pretty significant cheat especially if you are constantly fighting sugar cravings. And that amount of sugar in one sitting can wreak some havoc for a day or two on your body. If it causes bloating, that might be something you are willing to live with. Adding a pound or two overnight due to inflammation might be worth it. If the sugar is going to add or worsen your pain, you might decide that it isn’t worth it.
A little bit of cheese on your tacos or in your salad might be a small cheat.
A couple of scoops of ice cream even if it is gluten free might contribute to digestive issues or pain. Is it worth it? Up to you really.
Maybe a glass of wine
The reality is that cheating every day isn’t good for you. The goal of all your hard work is a reduction in inflammation to allow your body to heal. It isn’t possible if you are cheating daily.
Questions to ask yourself before cheating.
1. How big is the cheat? Are we talking a little cheese or is it some crème brulee? What are you compromising? Sugar? Dairy? Gluten? – better not be gluten, just sayin’!!!
2. Are you prepared to live with the consequences because it can set you back a little bit? Is it worth it?
3. When was the last time you cheated? Was it yesterday? If yes, what are you doing? If it was two weeks ago, ok. Good for you.
4. Why are you cheating? If you are cheating to help you emotionally feel better, you might want to walk yourself through the process mentally before you cheat and blow it. Stress eating is never a good thing. It is time to get a handle on that shit. Find another way to let the stress go.
If you ponder all these and still decide you are going to go ahead and do it, then make sure you have a handle on it. Don’t binge. Eat enough to satisfy but not enough to make you guilty. It should be a reward that serves you without too much repercussion.
And, enjoy it. Yum.