Is Your Diet Too Extreme?
Written by Charissa Sutliff
You are so “good” all week, adhering to your perfect plan, maybe white knuckling your diet, looking forward to the weekend when it’s time to “cheat” and “enjoy yourself a little”.
But the ‘enjoy yourself a little’ or ‘just 1 cheat meal’ turns into a full on splurgefest where you go completely off the rails.
That results in one of or all three of these or more that aren’t listed:
- Feeling awful physically
- Mentally beating yourself up
- Not seeing any progress in your goals
- The last chance, screw it might as well eat everything because it’s the last time I’m going to be able to eat it mindset
- Telling yourself you’ll be better next week
- **Insert your experience here**
So I ask you….
How come your eating habits during the week don’t easily carry over into the weekend?
Think about it…
Maybe the level of rigidity and restriction you place on yourself during the week to stick to your diet needs to be a little less rigid, maybe a little more balanced, maintainable, sustainable.
You were a little less strict during the week, and allowed more room for some ‘balance’ and satisfaction so that your weekday eating habits can easily flow and carry over into the weekend, then back into the week, through that week, through the next weekend, and it becomes just a flow of good balanced intentional eating skills and habits?
Do you want this pattern to continue for the rest of your life? Is this pattern sustainable for the rest of your life?
Zoom out and get a 1000ft view of the pattern you are in and see if this is something that in the context of years down the road can you keep doing it. Is your eating lifestyle and pattern truly sustainable and maintainable? Is it supportive of balanced habits that don’t leave you feeling deprived and like you need a cheat day? Is it closer to a strict diet than it is to the lifestyle where you’d be able to practice the grey area and socialize with friends without going off the rails? Does it resemble more of how a child would eat, listening to their hunger cues and eating when they are hungry and stopping when they are full or is it more like a fight and battle to force yourself to stick to your diet?
Here are some things I recommend trying to develop a balanced eating lifestyle that is maintainable weekday to weekend, week to week, month to month, year to year.
Rather than always starting a new diet or getting it together again try something different…
It can be scary and uncomfortable to leave the familiar way we do things, to try things that are unfamiliar but give yourself a little bit of grace and room to try, experiment and learn.
Try on some of these tools, take them for a spin and see if they work for you!
Quit Cheat Days and Cheat Meals
I don’t believe in cheat meals or cheat days, these reinforce the idea that you’re being “good” during the week, and food and choices being “good or bad”. Also, if you feel that you need to cheat on your diet or its a break from you diet, thats a pretty good sign that there is something wrong with your diet. This also encourages a mindset of having a streak or being good which isn’t supportive or helpful in our physical or mental health.
Checks and Balances
For anyone who has more of a logical mind, the concept of checks and balances might help. I like to think about incorporating some of the things you usually restrict and fit them into your normal life, in balance of course. Having some sweets in the context of a day while balancing it out with a meal full of lean meats and veggies isn’t going to hurt. Want a brownie for dessert? Maybe skip the fries with your burger or order a satisfying salad. Make sure your day as a whole has checks and balances. Weave some of these things in during the week .I learned this one from Sohee Fit. Honor your health with Gentle Nutrition
This is a practice of balancing your choices based on how food makes your body feel. You gently guide yourself to food choices that feel good both physically, mentally and satisfactorily.