At some point over the last few days, you’ve undoubtedly thought of cheating. Or maybe you have actually cheated. There are lots of things I could go on about to stop you cheating, but I’d rather focus on the more fruitful topics of if cheating is useful and what to do if you have slipped.
Good news is that cheating to some extent could be helpful. It helps us to manage cravings for things that could never be on a long term clean-eating nutrition plan. While you are detoxing from the sugars and refined, processed foods from December, it feels uncomfortable. But the idea would be that this sugar-free, whole food way of eating could – even SHOULD – be for life.
Cheats are often something good, as long as they are planned into a nutrition program, rather than succumbed to in a moment of weakness. However, I wouldn’t recommend reaching for the cinnamon buns just yet. At this stage, giving your body a break from the blood sugar and insulin highs/lows is essential to sort of reset your internal gears. A sustained period off sugar will help your taste buds re-accustom to the flavours of real food, something that is often deadened as a result of high sugar, high fat, high artificial flavour foods. Have you ever eaten a carrot and thought, ‘Wow! That’s sweet and tasty!’? Stick with it, you will.
Cheating works well when it comes after a diet clean-up and is planned and part of the overall program, such as one day or one meal per week. It is also best if the foods you cheat with are still high in nutrients – so home-made rather than shop-bought, preferably.
If you are less than saintly in your detox, take heart. A major part of this process is lifestyle change, and that means learning from the roadblocks and screw-ups that make up normal life. So my best advice is, if you slipped up:
1) Don’t self-criticise – instead ask what made this a moment of weakness and what you could do differently next time. We don’t need to be perfect, so don’t expect that of yourself.
2) Don’t compensate – starvation or extra workouts after a treat will only be more stressful for your body. Get right back on the clean-eating, regular-meal wagon!
3)Plan for disaster – be prepared for next time with snacks and plan of action.
Keep up the hard work, everyone!