Hello all you good people!
Can I start by offering an honest confession to you? This post is not a finger wagging at you post, but a strong reminder to me post!
Last week went like this.......I had a treat night on Monday evening because we had gone out to the Royal Winter Fair, and I wanted to have some of the wonderful food offerings from there! Then my sister and her family were coming to visit from Tuesday-Friday, and I would plan on having a treat night with them (my sister and I are treat fiends!!!) on one of those days, but Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday treat days later.......whomp whomp.....
So, 6 out of 7 days were laden with junk food....and I do mean laden!!!
I usually eat clean (no flour, sugar, grains, dairy or bad oils) 80%-90% of my week, then I have a treat day (or 2!), and then I get back to healthy eating! I plan my treat days around different things. For instance, I may plan it around having guests over, or being invited to someone else's house for dinner, or a special event I may be attending. Sometimes there is nothing "special" happening at all, and I just have my treat day because it's the weekend!
Some times treat days are a one day get-away....and some are treat cruises where there ain't no getting off!!!
I once saw something that helps me to re-start though. It's cheesy, but I like it (see it below!)!
And sometimes I need to read it as: "a few days of bad eating won't make you fat & unhealthy, just like a few days of eating great won't make you fit & healthy"
It's what you really and truly do the majority of your eating time that really makes you healthy or not.
Ok, so why have a treat day at all?
Here are my thoughts......
Eating well, working out, and thinking about being healthy are (clearly) good things, but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming!
The endless road ahead of never eating another Oh Henry or Sour Patch Kid can also seem depressing.....or am I the only one who thinks this way?!?
I think I am not! Ya know why? Because every woman I've ever spoken with tells me so! Men feel this way to, but I'm not a man and can't fully address the issue for them!
Anyway, all this to say that planning for treat days is, in my opinion, extremely important! If you tell yourself you'll never again eat any junk food ever again, you will fail!!! Sorry, Debbie Downer here, but you will fail. And when we fail, usually what follows is guilt, feeling like we are incapable of achieving what we're aiming for, and giving up entirely!
I am not (I repeat I am NOT) good at eating in moderation! I am sometimes, but when it comes to junk food, I take one bite, and my brain goes bonkers and says in a scary voice "eat everything in sight that is bad for you!!!".
So, while some people may be able to say, "I'm going to just have a tiny slice of that cake", I might say, "I'll have a tiny slice"....then secretly hide in the bathroom while eating 3 more pieces. Ok, I've never done that exactly, but I've done things similar. Very, very similar....
Yes, perhaps I've got some food issues to work on, but also knowing myself, and knowing my triggers helps me to plan ahead for success! And one success spurs me on to more success, etc., etc., etc.!!! Knowing that I am an all or nothing kind of treat gal leads me to plan specific days or treat eating.
So, now that I've rambled on about treat days, what I really want to talk about is recovering from treat days.
Here are some of my tips!
1. Start Your New Day With Water!
For many reasons, I don't want to tell you how much water to drink after a treat day (because the exact needs of each person is very different), but what I can say is that you NEED to drink some water!!!
As soon as you wake up with your treat day hangover, drink a glass of water! Ok, maybe you'll only feel slightly "off" from your treat day (or just treat meal, or treat item!), but drink some water!
The benefits of water to the body are many (many!!!), but I want to highlight just a few.
First, water (and being well hydrated) has a huge effect on energy levels and brain function! I know that after a treat day my body will be working through foods it doesn't consume regularly, and the food I consumed was short-term energy food. So, my brain needs as much help as possible, and my energy levels need a natural boost!
Second, when I wake up post treat day, I right away feel hungry. Am I really hungry? Not likely. When most people think of "feeling hungry" they think of that stomach rumbling that can be experienced. I'm sure not getting into the topic of why or how our stomachs growl today, but drinking water helps to stop some of the rumbles, and can help you re-focus for success.
Third, water flushes toxins out of your vital organs, and that's something your organs will appreciate after a day of junk food!
So, do your body a favour and drink yourself some water! Want to make it even more powerful? Add some lemon!
Whaaaaat? I know fasting may seem like an evil idea, but it sure has been gaining a lot of ground lately in popular fitness. Fasting has been practiced since, well, forever with many countries and (generally spiritual) groups practicing on a regular basis. I will talk more about fasting as my posts unfold here, but for now I will just say to start by forgoing breakfast the morning after a treat day. Skipping a meal will not kill you. You will not starve. You will not pass out or faint. What it will do though is force your body to use all that junk food you consumed as your energy source. Whenever you plan to eat again, make it something good, fresh, & easy. Think an apple, or baby carrots. Neither of those require much effort, and they are real food that your body can use right away!
3. Plan Ahead!
Even during your treat day, have in mind what your "back to normal day" will look like. Plan what you'll have to eat, making (obviously) some great choices. Veggies & fruits are a no-brainer for post treat-day fare as they are real, whole and have easily accessible nutrients to re-fuel your body.
If you are thinking ahead to healthier things, you will be more likely to actually eat said healthy things that day!
4. Move it!
Sometimes the last thing you want to do the day after having treats is to get some exercise (because you may be feeling a bit sluggish from a sugar crash...), but getting moving will reap physical and also psychological benefits to your post treat-day body & brain.
A personal post treat day favourite exercise of mine is a detox yoga! Scared of yoga? Don't be! Especially in this context. Would it help put your mind at ease if I just said "twisting & wringing out (the junk in your organs) stretches"? No? Still weird? Oh well!
Shape magazine has this article to help get you moving (some poses are cra-cra, so don't worry about having to do them all, just do your best!), or hop onto YouTube and look up "twist & rinse detox yoga" (my fav is by Sara Beth Yoga).
Second favourite thing is getting outside for a walk, Even a quick, ten minute walk & getting some fresh air revives my body and mind! The title photo above is a selfie from a post treat day walk! : )
5. Clean Up Your Mind!!!
I mindfully choose to enjoy some of my favourite things on my treat days without beating myself up about it, and that helps me enjoy my treats and be mentally ready for cleaning up my act the next day!
Truth is, when I "treat day", I do it hard! I don't have one Oreo cookie because it's my treat day, I'll eat a whole row of Oreos! Yikes!?! Yes, but I enjoy Oreos to dip into my milky tea while reading! But, as I said, I have mindfully chosen to have a treat day, so I am mentally prepared to do better when the time comes. If I had made myself feel like I was failing by having treats, I would not be ready to eat better.
This can be more difficult if you end up having multiple treat days (as I did last week), but there is still no benefit in beating yourself up about the choices you made! Say it with me: "There is NO POINT in beating myself up"!!! As soon as you do, you are setting yourself up for psychological disaster! And once your mind starts failing, your will power won't be far behind!
Show yourself grace, and decide that you are worth doing better for, and trying harder for. Last week, after that first treat night with my sister on Wednesday, I told myself then, "Amy-Lyn, guurl, you will be having a treat fest....have fun!". I still felt pretty "bleh" most mornings, but I gave myself permission to enjoy my time, enjoy my treats, enjoy my company, and to remember that come Monday, all would be re-set!
On a parting note, why do I call my day a "treat day" when purrrdy much everyone else calls it a "cheat day"? Because I despise the word "cheat"!
Websters dictionary defines "cheat" as
Full Definition of CHEAT
1: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud
2: to influence or lead by deceit, trick, or artifice
3: to elude or thwart by or as if by outwitting <cheat death>
1 : a: to practice fraud or trickery b: to violate rules dishonestly (cheat at cards, or cheating on a test
2: to be sexually unfaithful —usually used with on (was cheating on his wife)
3: to position oneself defensively near a particular area in anticipation of a play in that area (the shortstop was cheating toward second base)
None of that applies to deciding to eat something one would usually consider unhealthy or off-limits. It is a treat! In fact, it makes it sounds sneaky & terrible, so, I call my day a "treat day" because there isn't any cheating involved!
I know you wanted to know why I called it what I did, so now you know! : )
Any tips you want to share with me? Please do! Leave a comment, say 'hi', get connected!
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
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