Overcoming old habits means building new routines. And that’s really hard. Old tendencies are absolutely going to rear their heads at some point.
I see it all the time when working with my clients as a high performance diet coach and lifestyle designer.
That’s why I make damn sure that my clients don’t treat themselves and this process so seriously! Don’t get me wrong: it is serious; if you approach your lifestyle transformation from a new perspective, you will quite literally transform your life. Duh.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be so tightly wound.
Think of living and eating healthily like skill development. No one would continue practicing guitar if they felt so much pressure at every moment, if they didn’t have fun with it, make a few (or many) mistakes and let the groove take over from time to time.
So how do we do take this principle and transfer it to the domain of weight loss and lifestyle transformation?
Glad you asked. By instituting “cheats” and other divergences from the plan. These are healthy practices and you should aim to incorporate them so that you can see the other side of progress, which will allow for greater perspective into the whole process.
Look, here’s the deal: Everyone overeats eventually, whether on or off a diet, whether living an evolved lifestyle or not. It’s better to take control and schedule it ahead of time to limit the damage than delude yourself into thinking it’ll never happen.
Cheats are moments of planned imperfection, a form of “letting go of control in order to take control” that offers mental relief, an outlet to satisfy cravings, and an opportunity to let your guards down, be more social in the traditional sense, and motivate up (you always want to get back on track the next day…so use this to your advantage.)
Physiologically speaking, a planned cheat can actually HELP you lose weight.
After you’ve gone low-carb for some time (which you can learn all about by clicking here), you’ll need to jumpstart your metabolism every so often, especially after operating at a slight caloric deficit (a necessary precursor of weight loss) for extended periods of time.
For God’s sake, please enjoy your cheat meal! These can serve as your weekly anchors when sticking to the program seems too difficult.
A direct quote from one of my clients, Mark: “Sometimes for me it came down to focusing on when I would be able to have my next cheat meal. That’s what got me through the bouts of feeling unmotivated.”
There are 2 more points I want to make about “cheating”:
Number one: Don’t worry about the what ifs. There are so many what ifs that you could start to worry about. What if I eat too much? What if the scale goes up the next day? What if I lose momentum?
This is a system. The beauty of a system is that all you have to focus on is what’s in front of you right now. You don’t have to worry about what’s coming down the road three weeks from now, or six weeks from now, because when we’re there, you’ll have solved all of those problems.
Number two: Have fun. This is actually fun. It’s fun to master a part of your life that’s forever been an issue. It’s even more fun to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes and remind yourself that you’re kicking ass. And it’s even more fun to set up a system where you can lose weight, own your body, and still eat some delicious foods that we all know aren’t good for us but tend to get the best of us from time to time – and do it on YOUR terms. It’s a win-win-win.
So – please – remember that this is fun. You’re not going to break anything by having a cheat meal. I’m not telling you to be crazy or disgusting. I’m not suggesting you drink a keg by yourself in your living room and invite the pizza guy over to hang out. I’m not suggesting that you eat fast food until you vomit over innocent children in the McDonald’s play pin (do they still have those?).
But I am saying, “Let’s have fun.”