My boyfriend’s aunt reached out to me this past Friday night feeling blue. She struggles with beating herself up over “cheat days,” which discourage her from jumping back on the bandwagon of balanced healthy eating. Do you often find yourself in the same position? Because same, girl. Here are some tips to set you up for success this week…

Cheat vs. Treat

Here’s the deal- thoughts are powerful. They become words and actions, so it’s necessary we feed ourselves the right thoughts to produce the right actions. The phrase “cheat meal” makes me cringe. I have observed those who use it are the ones who feel the most unconfident in themselves and burry those feelings in fried appetizers, justifying to everyone at the party… sound familiar?

Let’s make a pact, right here right now, to forever get rid of the phrase “cheat meal” and instead, swap it for something a bit softer. Instead, let’s use “treat meal”. Cheat implies we are doing something that we should feel guilty about, and eating a piece of chocolate cake should be nothing but celebrated. That phrase will bring you more peace and contentment, just as I mentioned how powerful our thoughts are.

Trust Your Intuition

I do my very best not speak ill of things I don’t agree with, so I am going to say this in the lightest way I possibly can- if someone advises you to do something that doesn’t feel right in your gut, trust your own instinct and find someone to help you that aligns with your morals and values- let me give you an example… 

Let’s say, hypothetically, you were working with a registered dietician who has experience, a degree, and appeared trustworthy. Now let’s say they promised you the results you wanted, but only if you skip Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with your family… say whaaaat?! Okay, here’s the deal. Yes, looking at the numbers and mechanical side of weight loss, of course it would help. But looking at it from the human side of things- 1. In my Irish/Italian family, food is a primary player in holiday celebrations, it’s something that makes us happy 2. It’s only one meal, not life or death. Make sure whoever you work with is willing to compromise with you.
**And for the record, myself and the featured nutrition expert in my last blog (Megan Wolf) do not support this type of restriction, just a disclaimer.

Instead of totally give up 3 of the mist glorious meals of the year (that you should celebrate and enjoy), offer to bring the veggie tray or put a healthier spin on the dish you bring. Also make sure your dietary fiber is on point to help decrease bloat.

Plan Your Treats

Think of a recent time when you treated yourself. For example, a few weeks ago I ate a big brunch of blueberry pancakes and a big pasta dinner that night- food that makes me bloated. I made sure it was on a day I didn’t need to be “on” because carb hangovers give me brain fog and I can’t think as sharply, I was able to rest the whole day so my body could properly digest the food, and I didn’t have to wear a tight outfit (those things are all important to me).

Start Right Away

Getting back on the bandwagon can be discouraging as it requires long-term vision. I plan my workouts starting the following day after the treats to start my streak off strong. The longer I wait after the treats, the less motivated I will feel to begin. Crank up the tunes, grab a glass of iced water, and trick your brain to be pumped up to crush this next 30-60 minutes. Self discipline is a muscle that requires constant effort and with practice, you may actually look forward to this routine just as I do.

Think Positive

This one can get repetitive as it’s not second nature to most of us. We live in a world full of people who love to complain. But those people are rarely the ones changing the world, they’d rather sit on the couch and critize. I’m not saying you have to generate these thoughts on your own, but seek out people who do light a fire under your a$$. Oprah, Rachel Hollis, Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins, Ellen, Any Frisella, Christy Wright, and Simon Sinek are some of my favorites, each for a different reason. Find the medium that is realistic for you to follow (books, audiobooks, podcasts, Youtube videos, etc.) and stick with it. Search until you find the person that makes you feel motivated and challenged in the right way.

Bottom line, if you are new at this, give yourself time and patience. Tell yourself “What’s the worst that can happen if I DO stick to my work out? I can go one day without binging on dessert. I am confident in my habit follow through. The sun is shining, and I’m in a great mood today.” Talk, instead of listen to yourself. Find workouts that challenge your stamina. Eat food that you look forward to. And listen to the wisdom of people who make you feel something deep in your soul. Don’t stop trying. Even if you don’t hit your mark this week, try again next.