Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Eat Whatever You Want, Have No Guilt, and Never Gain Weight

That sounds really great doesn't it? Well it is. But it's not what you think.

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my sister (Hi sis!) about our latest annual trip to the Big E. I was telling her that I felt awful and didn't sleep well that night after the fair. I told her that next day I felt kind of hung over and even went for a skate to try and sweat out the toxins from the junk food I ate. Well, she misunderstood what I was saying and thought that I felt bad because I felt guilty about eating all that stuff.

The truth is I didn't feel guilty at all. I may have felt a little regretful as I tossed and turned that night unable to sleep, but no guilt.

When I'm at the Big E I eat whatever I want. I have no guilt about it. And I never gain weight. How does that work?

For one thing, I'm not a fan of regularly scheduled cheat days or cheat meals. So, my regular diet is pretty darn healthy most of the time. Once in a while, sure, I indulge, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Often times I realize that I'm thinking about an indulgence because of an emotional trigger. I'm stressed or tired or bored. If I can recognize that my craving is emotional rather than a genuine desire for the less than healthy food, I won't do it. Now, I don't always catch myself in time, but that's another story.

Another factor is my attitude going into it. When I go to the fair it's not about a compulsion to eat everything in sight or even to eat certain things. It's about simply allowing myself the freedom to eat whatever appeals to me.

In case you're wondering, here's what appealed to me this year: 1 corn dog (my very first ever!), a couple scoops of cashew caramel ice cream in a waffle cone (delicious), 1 big ole slice of cheesy peperoni pizza, and last but not least a Big E cream puff (it's a tradition). 

The point is that I'm not getting into a lack mentality. I don't worry that I'll never have the chance to indulge like this again. I don't worry that there's some goody I'm going to miss. I'm relaxed about it and make sure to remember that there's more than enough.

I also avoid the perfectionist mindset. Since I planned to let myself eat whatever I wanted there's no reason to feel guilty when I actually do it. There's no need to feel like I've ruined everything in that one junk food filled day. I just go right back to healthy eating the next day.

In addition to my approach to food, I try to stick to my workout schedule. After all there's no better time to make sure I'm getting in a good fat burning session then the days around going to the fair. Despite it being a very long day I even fit in a workout the morning we went. It was a quick, very intense 10 minute workout.

While I do eat junk food from time to time, my policy is that I have to make it from scratch (I even bought an ice cream maker earlier this year). I stick to this with very few exceptions. So, when I eat junk food I may get too much fat and calories, but I don't get all the HFCS, trans fats, preservatives and other chemicals  that you find in processed foods. My theory is that the reason the junk food from the Big E made me feel sickly was not that it was a departure from grilled chicken and kale (for example), but all the nasty chemicals that were probably in it.

Does this mean I'll try to eat healthier next year when I go to the fair? Well, we'll see...

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