Sometimes I worry that this blog is a little too much like Woman’s World magazine–you know, the one where the front cover pairs features on quick and easy weight loss with recipes for cookie dough fudge pie. (I’m not the only one who sees something wrong with this, right?) As a student of nutrition, I realize it may seem odd that on this blog I post recipes for things like chunky cheesecake brownies, lemon cookies, and carrot cake. Here’s the thing: I love food, and that means I love delicious food. I’ve seen the blogs that try to pretend everything should be made with kale and quinoa, and they are NO FUN. Maybe this sounds nuts, but I actually believe, in terms of food and health, that you can “have it all.” To a point. I believe you can eat sweets, fat, red meat, you name it–in moderation. I wouldn’t last a day on any diet that made me give up an entire food category (except maybe beets and/or mushrooms. In fact, I think I’m already on that diet.). So while I’m not crazy about Woman’s World magazine’s blatant juxtaposition of cupcakes and trendy weight loss plans, I think even the strictest calorie counter can (and should?) eat a cupcake every so often.
That being said…
What happens when you too many cupcakes…or hot dogs…or Cheetos? We all definitely have those days, and for me, it’s the easiest thing in the world to get discouraged when I come to the end of a day and realize I’ve totally overdone it and there’s no going back. My self-talk then takes over in the form of a 1980’s TV PSA:
It’s 10 P.M.; do you know where your food is?
Oh yeah, it’s rotting in your belly, you cavernous glutton!
This has happened to me enough times that I’ve given it a(n inordinate amount) of thought. So if you find yourself at the end of the day having royally botched it in the food department, here are 6 things to remember to keep you from getting too discouraged:
1. You can’t “get fat” in one day. Odds are you did not consume enough calories in a single day to put even one full pound of permanent weight onto your frame. With that in mind…
2. Look at the week, not the day. If you’ve ever had a picky toddler, you’ve probably heard this from your pediatrician. And really, are we adults that different? Our health is not made or broken by a single day of eating indiscretion. It’s the larger patterns that really matter.
3. Make a plan to start over tomorrow. We plan ahead for the things that are important–and healthy eating is definitely important. Countless studies have shown the power of writing down what you eat (or will eat). It’s an empowering step that puts you in control. You probably know enough about tomorrow to know what’s in your fridge/pantry if you’re eating at home, or where you’ll be going if you’re eating out. Write down healthy food commitments and stick to them throughout the next day.
4. Your worth does not depend upon your weight. Even if you do gain a pound or two in one day–and even if you are not at a weight you are happy with–your worth is independent of your physical state. You are a human being created by God with purpose on this earth. Don’t let negative thoughts distract you from this truth.
5. Ever heard of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis? It’s the principal that our bodies expend energy (i.e. burn calories) in everything we do, even if it’s not exercise. It’s not an excuse to call reaching for the remote your exercise for the day, but it is something to remember when you feel your energy-in-to-energy-out balance is off.
6. DON’T GIVE UP. Whether you’re on a weight loss journey or a maintenance plateau, the absolute worst thing you can do when it comes to eating right is to throw in the towel. Tomorrow is another day, and it’s never too late to become a healthier version of yourself.