Bad Foods Love Good Cheaters

This is a good food. This is a bad food. Who remembers being taught this? Did it stick? Let’s try a game. If I say…”donut” – what did you think of?

Apple? Good or bad? Well, some might dare call it “bad”…because sUgAr…



Birthday Cake?

Good and bad are terrible ways to describe foods. Food carries no morals, and it never should. Are certain foods healthier for you than others? OF COURSE!

But the “poison” is dose dependant of course.

If you enjoy a donut once in a while, you won’t blow up overnight.

If you eat donuts daily, slug them down with a big glass of OJ, and finish it off with a morning smoke…well, that’s probably not the healthiest breakfast.

Almonds. Super heart healthy. Moderate protein. BUT very calorie dense, so if you eat too many of them it might make fat loss more challenging because you can easily push yourself out of a deficit.

Salmon. SUPER healthy. Great source of protein. But if your allergic to fish…you’re dead!

Birthday Cake. It’s your kids birthday. Such a happy day. Such a special occasion. But your “diet” won’t let you eat it because it’s “bad”. Sure – it’s higher in sugar and fat…but if you can’t enjoy a piece of birthday cake guilt free, we’ve got a mindset shift to work on!

Something I often work with my clients on is reframing their word choices around foods. It’s not their fault, they probably were raised that way – being told good/bad foods – finish your vegetables or you don’t get dessert. And no, It’s not the parents’ fault either, that’s what they thought was best. #CancelParents

“I ate bad this weekend” – “I was off plan this weekend”

See the difference?

Funny enough, is its usually followed up with “BUT it was SOOO needed, and I had so much fun!”

GREAT! You enjoyed it, and now we move on, and strategize how next time you can make a few minor improvements (if you want) and keep working toward your goals.

Why start something if you can’t wait to cheat on it?

A relationship? A career? A diet?

That would be so silly to say out loud – yet people do it all the time with their diet.

If you wanna be single and mingle – cool, your choice. If you want to be in a committed relationship – cool, your choice. But there is no both, and don’t you dare ruin someone else’s life because you want both.

Same thing with your diet. Want to figure out a plan that works for you, allows you to see sustainable results, enjoy your kids birthday cake? Date nights? Weddings? Awesome!

But don’t go on some unsustainable fad diet that puts you through Hell for 21 days just so you can go crazy on day 22 with all your “dirty foods”.

So what do we call it instead?

Free meal, free day, untracked day, off plan day, didn’t feel like measuring things… whatever you want to call it – but don’t be bringing your morality and cheating around here.

This is where it gets interesting…

Some people do very well with off plan days. Others can be derailed for weeks.

Here’s how:

Physiologically – eating a huge amount of calories in one day cant reverse a weeks worth of progress….can it?

You better believe it can. Let’s say you’ve been losing weight at 1800 calories per day. Then you have a “cheat day” of 4000 calories. Easy to do, really.

Your average calories for the week just went from 1800 to 2114 (a 314 calorie increase) which COULD be enough to push you into maintenance.

Now, what also happens after a high calorie fun day? Water retention.

Don’t be shocked if the scale goes up 3-5 (or more) pounds.

Did you gain 5 pounds of fat from one meal?!? NO. But this brings up the other hardship for some…

Psychologically – this can be VERY hard for someone who has attached morality not only to food, but to the scale as well. You gain 3-5 pounds of water weight, and all of a sudden that scale makes you feel like a terrible human being.

Non-sense. ALL the scale tells you is you current pull against gravity. Nothing else.

If you end up feeling guilty after your cheat days, this is not a good place to be.

Or, if all you do is look forward to your next cheat day while suffering through the week and not working on actually improving your relationship with food; also a bad place to be.

How do we find balance?

There should be room in your diet for the occasional indulgence even when you are trying to lose weight.

If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of restrictive diets anyway, and I definitely do not recommend scheduling days or meals in which you eat everything you can get your hands on. Why?

You have consumed several thousand calories, potentially feel full of guilt and maybe even a little physically sick to your stomach. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

I never want people to feel shameful, guilty, or bad about over eating – BUT it IS healthy and important to note how you PHYSICALLY feel. If you are so bloated up, gassy, tossing and turning all night, dry mouthed, and crampy from stuffing your face at the local Chinese Buffet – is that really worth it? Really?

Make an assessment. Choose your answer, and course correct for the future. That’s all we can do.

Sometimes, you WILL decide that the “juice was worth the squeeze” and as long as YOU accept that, and the outcome of it – I’m cool with it.

It’s in the past. Now let’s get to work.

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Published by Mike Gorski

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach OWNER OF MG FIT LIFE LLC

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