Ever since I was a little girl I've had body image issues; it's not that I've been extremely overweight, I've just never felt comfortable in my own skin and always had the feeling I could stand to lose a few pounds. The end result of this mentality is always being on some kind of diet; whether it's Atkins or whether it's Weight Watchers, if it's out there, you can be sure I've tried it.
When I started this self-care transformation, one of the goals I had for myself was to not only focus on mental wellness and time management, but also establish a fitness regime. Let me tell you, getting into a consistent routine of healthy eating and working out in the morning became so much a part of who I was that I stopped thinking about it as a diet and started thinking about it as a self-care behavior.
Fast forward to my 40th Birthday this past weekend, which despite no huge festivities due to COVID, certainly didn’t stop my friends and family from sending gift baskets with many of my favorite foods; everything from a Mrs. Fields cookie cake to chocolate covered strawberries had my countertops overflowing with temptation. However, in the interest of maintaining balance and allowing myself the freedom to celebrate and enjoy all the goodies, I made the conscious decision to let go of the guilt and indulge in whatever I wanted. If I'd made the mental adjustment to not look at healthy eating as a "diet," I could also recalibrate to not look at a handful of treats as "going off the rails." Making this adjustment allowed me to not get down on myself, stay committed, and pick right back up where I left off when the weekend concluded This concept is backed up by many health professions such as Accredited Dietician Chloe McLeod, who says that occasionally treating yourself is actually good for you because not only is food fuel, but also enjoyment. In many of her articles she further explains that if you don't treat yourself from time to time, you'll begin to feel deprived, which if left unchecked will increase your chances of binging or overeating.
The moral of the story is that not only is it ok to indulge every now and then, but it might actually be good for you. So, go ahead and enjoy your chocolate bar, or your bag of potato chips, or like me, an entire birthday weekend; just make sure you quickly reset and get back on track as soon as possible. The ultimate goal is to find the right balance between eating to live and living to eat.