Reading the article How Nutrition Pros Cheat — And Get Away With It irked me. The author begins by making a great point. That many people trying to lose weight have an all or nothing mentality and don’t permit themselves to have certain foods when they’re dieting. The problem is, that’s not realistic. You can’t expect yourself to never have your less than healthy favourites ever again. If you’re forbidding yourself from having them then you’re not likely to maintain that diet and meet your goals.
What irked me about the article was the continuous referral to unhealthy favourites as “cheat” foods. This just perpetuates the mentality that the author is suggesting getting away from. If you’re thinking of a food as a “cheat” then you’re still on a Diet. In order to develop healthier relationships with food we need to avoid demonizing foods and thinking of indulgences as cheating. Your healthy eating should be part of your overall healthy lifestyle. A permanent change. Not a temporary diet. This doesn’t mean never eating unhealthy food. It means learning where, when, and how much of these foods you can consume without guilt and without derailing your nutrition goals. Letting yourself have a small ice cream cone is not “cheating”. Never allowing yourself to enjoy ice cream again is cheating yourself out of the pleasure of enjoying one of your favourite foods.