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!