We are in the thick of fitness resolution season. Health coaches and personal trainers are in demand for their motivation and personalized guidance. Many of the clients that I see have already gone the health coach or personal trainer route; many of these folks are what I would call professional dieters.
Recently I read a posting from a health coach to her clients. She was describing how lousy you can feel as the result of a “cheat”, even if you eating well 80% of the time.
News Flash!!!: there really is no such thing as a “cheat”. Adults make a choice to eat a particular food or drink a particular beverage. As adults, we accept and deal with the consequences of all of our choices. By labeling a choice as a cheat, we are attaching guilt to that food. Forever.
Maybe this has happened to you: a dinner meeting is looming on your calendar and your coach has given you a pep talk. You order grilled salmon, steamed vegetables and a green salad according to the plan. But, some time between the drink orders and the appetizers, the waiter brings a basket of hot bread to the table. The basket is passed around the table and you help yourself. At first you enjoy it and later you feel guilty.
80/20 is really not a bad approach to changing eating behaviors. Even the Dietary Guidelines includes “discretionary calories” in each calorie level. The Weight Watcher’s famous “points” system has “flexible points” each week as part of the program. Are these a license to cheat? They are a device to develop a healthy relationship with favorite treats.
It’s only bread or chocolate cake. Don’t give it the power to cause guilt, anger or fear. Allow yourself to enjoy your food in a mindful way while achieving your health and fitness goals.