…Or ‘why ‘cheat days’ should be banned.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my health and fitness – seriously love-hate. I fluctuate by the minute between being full of zen and ready to run marathons, to staring longingly into vending machines and watching Netflix ’til the cows come home.
If you’ve ready my post on my thoughts while on a run then you’ll know my pain. For some reason I just can’t get the hang of that fitness addiction that people seem to develop – I love fitness for a month, hate it for two, but never have I been one of those ‘fitness is my life’ people. I would really like to be.
My real issue is motivation. It takes me a long time to psych myself up into a fitness frenzy. At school I went through six months of running every day, losing weight by the bucket, then had 6 months of doing absolutely nothing and piling it all back on, and more. It really is a massive, annoying cycle. This uni year has been no exception.
For a while now my main goal has been finding some sort of middle ground. A more relaxed attitude to my keen phase, and a more disciplined attitude during my off period. Transitioning to a plant-based diet has been part of this. It has helped me no end to cut down on the bad foods I would normally have eaten in my down phase as well as keeping me motivated in the good. It really has been a massive help.
The concept ‘cheat days’ and ‘cheat meals’ are, however, my downfall. They trigger my bad phases and are genuinely the worst. They provide such a negative attitude towards food – they are a naughty meal and I am naughty and bad for having them. This is complete and utter bull and it really annoys me. I can ruin a streak of weeks just by having chips for dinner one night and suddenly nothing matters anymore and I’m back to having a whole packet of oreos for breakfast and not exercise for a month. Cheat meals are just the worst.
But what alternative is there? When you’re trying to be healthy or lose weight but also can’t live without the odd treat? I mean, life would be so boring without oreos and honestly I couldn’t cope.
Slowly I’ve been developing a policy of moderation and intuitive eating. Eating only when I’m hungry is key to my overall relationship with food, ‘bad’ or ‘good’. I’m slowly breaking out of obsessively labelling my food as healthy or not, and working towards focusing on what my body both needs and wants, and trying to find a balance. Honestly it’s really working out as the best policy.
When I started writing this post I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. I think its something that has developed as being very relevant to me personally, with very little help or guidance. That said, I am not qualified to give such help anyway.
I think we all just need to find what works for us and what truly makes us happy and then focus on that. I know that when I’m in the height of my running frenzies I am so continuously happy, so happy – everything seems to fall into place, I’m less stressed and just feel better. I also know that when I eat badly I feel sluggish, sad and stressed. The hard part is remembering this and not reaching for food every time I’m sad.
With summer creeping up I think something great is about to start.0