Most people associate eating what they want with weekends, cheat days, or ‘all gone to pot’ anyway days! There is the common assumption that eating for taste is at the expense of health, hence its reserve for specific days or times when the reward element can be not only be justified, but deserved.
But what if we could eat what we want every day, without feeling guilty, and without hindering our health.
There are four main ways this can be achieved, including:
If what you REALLY want is cake or chocolate, then opting for a quality version of these products can help to remove some of the drawbacks typically associated with lower grade versions. Many manufactured cakes and chocolate bars contain hydrogenated fats, refined flour, sugar and preservatives, and it is these ingredients that we should feel guilty for consuming, not the product per se. For example, a home-made carrot cake containing wholemeal flour, coconut oil, nuts and seeds will actually impart some nutritional value (unlike the pre-made one with the long shelf life). Likewise, chocolate in it's purest form, with a high percentage of cocoa, has greater advantages (primarily linked to it's serotonin-boosting properties) than potential disadvantages linked to caloric or caffeine content, for example.
Cutting your 'treat' up into small pieces and always eating it from a plate, sitting down, and undistracted, will mean that you are likely to feel satisfied on a much smaller amount that if said food was eaten in a moment of weakness, on the run, whilst reading your phone!
If you do slip up with the odd treat, don't make the mistake of thinking all is lost. The 'all or nothing' mindset which puts one chocolate bar and a whole subsequent day of indulgent eating in the same category is part of the problem when it comes to negative relationships with food. Any potential health implications of one chocolate bar can quickly be remedied by ensuring healthier choices for the rest of the day.
Going without and resisting temptation is not the answer to healthy eating success. Eating well looks at the wider picture, so for every portion of what you fancy, balance it with something healthy. For example, combine chocolate buttons and brazil nuts (pre-portion into small plastic containers for an on-the-go snack), a slice of pizza and a handful of salad, the take-away dish your've been dreaming about... but with steamed veg on the side. With this approach, 'good' and 'bad' foods merge into one, leaving you with just the potential for a good or bad diet!