Treat Yourself, Don't Cheat Yourself
One of my favorite books is Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements.”
If you haven’t heard of this book, I highly recommend it. It’s a quick, yet profound read.
The first of the four agreements reads as follows:
“Be impeccable with your word.”
I LOVE this.
Now, admittedly I’m not always the best with this.
But I’m working on it.
What this first agreement does is it emphasizes the power that our language has on our lives.
The words we use, the way we talk with others, and the way we talk with ourselves has profound implications on our lives.
It’s one of the primary ways in which we communicate with the world.
Now, there are plenty of examples where I think we have an opportunity to move closer to being impeccable with our word.
But one that stands out for me comes from a dear client of mine and her responses in a recent lesson within our coaching curriculum.
It’s been so much fun watching her grow and develop this powerful mindset that supports the person she wants to become.
One thing that she said that stood out to me was this idea of treating versus cheating.
Instead of having “cheat” foods, she would have “treat” foods.
The food itself was the same. But her mindset and attitude towards it could not be more different.
Here’s why I think this is important.
Cheating implies that we’re doing something wrong or isn’t something we’re supposed to do.
I know the concept of a “cheat meal” is very prevalent in the diet and weight loss world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to look at it.
Really, a “cheat meal” is a very specific strategy to prevent our metabolism from artificially slowing when we’re in a calorie deficit for an extended period.
This isn’t even a matter of right and wrong. A “cheat meal” is really a re-feed meal and has the potential to be incredibly supportive of our body recomposition goals (specifically fat loss).
Because we view this meal as “cheating,” and cheating inherently applies we’re doing something wrong, the strategy behind the meal goes out the window, and it becomes a free-for-all.
It’s often a downward spiral from there. And for what?
Consciously choosing to eat something even if it doesn’t perfectly align with your diet is not cheating.
It’s an opportunity to view your eating habits in the context of your entire life and not in a silo.
Your fitness and nutrition goals need not be all consuming. This is only one facet of your life.
So what if ice cream is one of your “red light” foods?
If you’re looking to shed some body fat, try not to eat it every single day or if you want to, then make sure you focus on the appropriate portions.
If flexible dieting has taught us anything, it’s that we can eat pretty much whatever we want and as long as it is in the proper amounts, we can manipulate our body weight however we choose.
No food is inherently good or bad. Unless, of course, you’re severely allergic or intolerant. In that case, I might have to bend a little and say that for you, yeah, those foods are probably a bad idea.
The point I’m trying to make is that we often get so caught up in shedding body fat, or building muscle, or any health/fitness related goal that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
I’ve quickly learned that these goals are very rarely just about losing weight or building muscle. It usually goes deeper than that.
It’s not just about food. It’s about the choices we make and whether or not these help us become the person we want to be or if they move us away from that.
And the only way I can see you actually cheating yourself is thinking deprivation is the answer to our challenges (hint: it’s not).
Now, this isn’t a free pass to eat anything and everything in sight.
But it is an invitation to honor your whole self.
It's an invitation to put into practice who you want to be, not just what you want to eat.
Let’s figure out how we can do this and have the most fun.
So don’t cheat yo-self, treat yo-self. And please, enjoy the shit out of it.