So when people start dieting they should always be allowed “cheat days” because YOU KNOW, that’s life. We will overeat on some days because we are HUMAN and if we don’t incorporate REALITY into the diet, then we’re just setting ourselves up for failure. But even with cheat days embedded into your flexible diet, do you still feel guilty that you overate? Turns out, a lot of people do!
So here’s the story. Earlier this year, I started counting my calories using MyFitnessPal. The concept was very simple. You simply log the food you eat and as long as you eat less calories than you typically burn in a day, you will lose weight. And lose weight, I did.
I used to NEVER feel guilty whatsoever.
Before I started dieting, no matter how much I ate or what I ate, I never used to feel any guilt whatsoever. Once I started being aware of everything I put in my mouth, I noticed that I would feel guilty if I went over on my calories for the day, even though in reality I was still at a huge caloric deficit for the week.
I used to be completely oblivious to how many calories were in the burritos and burgers I was eating. I always had loads of confidence about my appearance and was always proud of my fitness level because of how much I rode my bike. I used to eat my food with PRIDE AND SATISFACTION. And most importantly: WITHOUT ANY GUILT!
Something changed when I started counting calories. It put food on the spotlight.
All of a sudden, a lot of attention was being brought to food. Eating at a caloric deficit became a new goal. I learned that it was okay to feel hunger because I had to feel hunger sometimes if I was to lose weight. I would feel great when I’d go to bed knowing I was within my caloric limits for the day. I allowed myself “cheat days” too, because I knew that’s a normal part of life.
But even though I knew cheat days were okay… I was still feeling some guilt if I overate. I didn’t really pay attention to this guilty feeling much, but it was definitely there in the shadows on the cheat days. On days where I knew I ate tons of food, I could feel hesitation and reluctance to logging the truth, but I always did to stay honest to myself. Only now, several months later, am I actually bringing this up into the lime light because we need to process this.
Why should I feel guilty NOW, when I used to feel NONE before and I’m doing more than ever to stay in shape?
I am 20 pounds lighter since the start of the year and I am feeling guilty because I didn’t eat at a deficit? Even though I used to feel none before? How stupid does that sound? This is a completely bull-shit feeling that someone like me (or you) should NEVER be feeling.
Somehow I forgot that I used to feel ZERO guilt before because I was oblivious to it all. (Which makes you wonder whether ignorance is bliss sometimes.) I am writing this because I want all of us to go back to that feeling of ZERO guilt.
Let’s transform this guilt into pleasure
Drop this cycle of feeling guilty if you allow yourself to indulge. Throw it out the window! Take PLEASURE in the decisions YOU make. Take responsibility for them. LOVE YOURSELF and the choices you make. OWN the decisions you make because they are yours and you are making them. Face your fears head on. Food isn’t going away anytime soon, so you might as well come to terms with this right NOW!
Here’s what a healthy cycle should look like:
So what should you do if you DO overeat?
First of all. I hope you enjoyed that food. Savored it. Loved it. Embraced it. You didn’t take part in an evil, hedonistic ritual. You just felt like eating some god damned food! If you feel like you fell off the wagon, all you need to do is get back on it the next day. Don’t make it a big deal whatsoever. Tomorrow is a new day. Every morning is a clean slate.
Think in the long term.
It takes several weeks for someone to lose weight. Conversely, it also takes several weeks for someone to GAIN weight. If you are 100 pounds overweight, you didn’t get that way overnight. It took years for that to happen. So keep reality in perspective. Nothing bad is going to happen on your cheat days. How much you eat overall in the week is more important than those single cheat days, so don’t dwell on them.
Food is something that will always be a part of our lives. This is an endless process. So take the guilt out of it! Be free! Take control of your emotions. Take responsibility for your actions. LOVE yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself, because no one else will!