Cheat or Treat?

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Two words that are synonymous in the diet world are cheat and treat. It’s time we change that stream of consciousness. It’s important to “treat” yourself without feeling guilty. When we go on diets we always eliminate too many things that we truly enjoy. Then the feeling of deprivation sets in. Once the initial excitement of being on the diet disappears, we start to indulge in things we aren’t supposed to…food that is not on the diet. And then we feel guilty. We have cheated. We have committed a “diet sin”. Remorse about what you have done starts to settle in, you begin to question your devotion to your health, and ultimately you give up on your “diet”.

Cheating insinuates that you are doing something wrong. Let’s begin to change that mindset and think of it in more of a positive way. When you do something good, like get a promotion at work, what is one thing you like to do? Treat yourself, right? Do you go out and buy the Coach bag you have wanted forever? Do you get a manicure and pedicure? So, why is it so wrong to treat yourself with food? A “treat day” ultimately celebrates you. The key here is that you don’t want to declare treat days every day. It would totally negate the idea of what a “treat day” should be. The best way to do this is to decide on, say, 3-4 days a month (ideally it should be one or two days, however since we are first starting out, let’s make it a little easier on you. You can adjust the amount of days when you are ready). Some great days to declare as treat days could be the 1st and the 15th of the month, birthdays, parties, holidays, paydays and full moons (this is one we use in my family). It allows you to look forward to something without feeling as though you are suffering. Just think about it. If you are watching what you eat, staying way from junk food, yet know that in a week and a half there is a full moon, and on full moons you allow yourself to enjoy a blizzard from Dairy Queen with your kids, wouldn’t the strength to see it through be worth it? And it’s not like all your hard work will go to waste, because it won’t. You are simply celebrating the joy of being successful in your dietary lifestyle change.

Stop feeling bad about enjoying a treat. Now is the time to acquire a healthy mindset and reward it. It’s ok! I say so!

10 Alternatives to Movie Theatre Popcorn

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Going to the movies and having a delicious snack could get a bit boring and dull after a while. So I came up with  some suggestions to change it up a bit. Enjoy!
10 Things To Replace Movie Theatre Popcorn
 
1. 3 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese
2. 12 sticks of butter
3. 2 McDonald’s Big Macs
4. 1 1/2 packages of bacon
5. one pound of baby back ribs, slathered with bbq sauce
6. 9 hot dogs with ketchup, relish and onions
7. Half of a Kentucky Fried Chicken
8. 5 large bags of Lay’s Original Potato Chips
9. 1 1/4 dozen eggs
10. 10 soft chicken tacos from Taco Bell

Each numbered item is the equivalent to a large bag of movie-theatre popcorn. Shocked? I would be, too! I don’t think I have a picnic basket big enough to hold any of that, and to be honest, I’m rather disgusted by just thinking about the nastiness of the 1200-calorie ridden food on the list above. But I want you to think about the food on that list. Appetizing or have you lost your appetite? 
I’m not going to stand here and preach to you about all the benefits of homemade popcorn versus the crazy amounts of saturated fats in the movie-theater popcorn, nor am I going to judge you. Who am I to do that? But I will tell you this. My family and I bring our own popcorn to the theatre in ziplock baggies. We make it at home so we know what’s in it…simply prepared with sea salt, and a little extra virgin olive oil.  Yes, we are those people and to be honest, I really don’t care. I would rather be healthy than regretful!! Why not??
I agree that there are times when it’s nice to eat like a kid…and yes, that’s ok. Every once in a while. But I could NEVER imagine eating so many hamburgers or bags of potato chips at one time…and yet it’s so easy to stuff our face blindly with a bag of buttery movie-theatre popcorn.
So what are some HEALTHY alternatives to popcorn?
 
There are so many options that can give us the same type of pleasure that movie-popcorn gives us…minus the calories and saturated fat. It just depends on your tastebuds (and allergies, if any):
1. Raw Almonds: provide protein and a bit of a crunch. If you want a flavor to them, you can get wasabi almonds. They are incredible.
2. Pistachio nuts: This may seem like a weird snack, but my husband and I have done it a few times. Just make sure to get a container from the concession stand to put the shells into. And get them unsalted, if you can. They are better that way! This is a great crunching snack!
3.  Nut mix: Create your own at home with peanuts, raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins/craisins or any other dry fruit you prefer, and raw sunflower seeds.
4. Grapes: OK, so there is no crunch factor with these, but they are still a delicious treat and healthy for you.
5. Roasted Edamame: These come in a bag and are flavored or just plain salted. They have a crunch to them, are healthy and very delicious.
6. Pretzels: Regular or gluten free. They are crunchy, tasty and low in calories and fat!
7. Apple Slices: These are amazing. Crunchy, sweet and healthy! If you are bold enough, bring a small container of almond butter to dip the slices into. YUM!
8. Baby Carrots:  Just be careful to avoid crunching into them too much during a movie.
9. Celery Sticks: Coat them with peanut butter and you not only have a great veggie, but some protein to go along with it.
10. Food Should Taste Good chips: crunchy, salty and delicious!
 
What’s my point?
 
Just this. Life is a balance in which you should thrive. Going to the movies shouldn’t be a calorie fest, nor should it be time to deprive yourself. But if you have the opportunity to create your own treats that are both delicious and nutritious (and save you a few bucks, too), go for it! I am all for that! Maybe you can go out for a great meal afterwards, instead! There are certain things to stick with that make you feel incredible, and then there are things that are just plain awful for you. Find those in your life. This is a place to share…what treats are in your bag?