I'm often asked, "Valerie, do you ever eat anything unhealthy?" And I'm here to tell you that YES I do! Of course I occasionally eat things that are out of line with my typical day-to-day diet. What I want to make absolutely clear is that I think it's actually quite healthy to every now and again indulge in your favourite foods.
Pin me 👆🏽to save me for later!
I'm all about the 80/20 approach. 80% of what I consume is clean and the other 20% I allow myself to indulge (within reason). The majority of the time my food selection is based on what will build my health (as opposed to disease) but every blue moon I believe it's equally important to feed your soul.
True health comes from being able to indulge in your favourite foods without guilt, without calorie counting, without self-criticism and self-loathing. Denying yourself only leads to extreme habits such as yo-yo dieting that will ultimately destroy the relationship you have with your body.
Now - don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that I indulge in anything and everything. I allow myself to indulge in things that I absolutely love and that I truly want.
Here's the other part - the only way I'll allow myself to do so is if I promise myself to feel good about my choice.
This is something I've only just come to realize. In the past, I would beat myself up for eating unhealthy foods. There is no joy in that and eating should NOT be stressful. If I'm going to indulge in something, I'm going to savour every last bite of it. I'm going to think happy thoughts and release any guilt I may feel. I work from the belief that because I take such good care of my body that it will inherently know how to deal with the occasional unhealthy meal/snack or dessert.
At the end of the day stressing about the food is actually worse than the so-called "bad" food itself.
When I indulge, it's with the awareness that I will not instantly gain weight, develop a nutritional deficiency or fall off the health band wagon. I take pleasure in taking breaks from my regular lifestyle and eating habits. I delight in seeing myself enjoy something with a positive mindset and feel gratitude for the relationship that I currently have with my body. I have enough body awareness to know when to stop and when I've had enough.
This is not me giving you the green light on junk foods. NOPE. An indulgence is occasional. It's rare, it's not the norm. I love and respect my body enough that I don't want to be filling it up with junk and empty calories.
When you've been eating clean for a while you actually stop craving the bad stuff. Your tastes adapt and develop. Healthier alternatives taste so much better than the traditional unhealthy versions. If you've followed me for a while now, you know that something I love to do is take some of my favourite recipes (that aren't so healthy) and spin them so that they're clean and nutritious.
Your taste buds don't just change all at once, this can be a slow process for a lot of people. But you will notice that eventually you prefer healthier treats because the alternatives are far too processed and sweet.
My advice is to be nice to yourself. Indulge mindfully and occasionally. Be 100% present in that moment and remember that stressing about food only diverts blood from the digestive system making it less than ideal to process and breakdown what you're consuming. Eating food should make you feel good :)
With lots of love - Valerie