How to "diet" without giving up the foods you love

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I know what you are thinking… I’m never going to stick to a healthy eating plan because I don’t want to give up all the foods I love. I’m totally with you on this one, being healthy and happy is all about a nice balance. Does my diet mainly consist of chicken and veggies on the weekdays, yes. Have I sworn off chocolate chip cookies forever, hell no! So what exactly do I mean by healthy balance?

I make my unhealthy meals part of my meal plan, schedule them and use them to motivate me to stick to my meal prep throughout my week. Every weekend I plan to have a “cheat meal,” usually on Saturdays. I pick something I have been craving. Lately, I can’t stop thinking about that Chic-Fil-A breakfast sandwich with fried chicken, egg, and cheese on a bagel with hash browns smothered in ketchup, so this coming Saturday you best believe I am waking up and heading straight to Chic-Fil-A! It will be glorious! 

Make it part of your plan

By picking the day, the time, and exactly what you will be eating you make it a deliberate decision. This prevents you from giving yourself permission to eat things that aren’t on your meal plan whenever you happen to drive past your favorite fast food place and get the temptation to hit up that drive through. 

Use it to motivate you

Once I have picked my cheat meal I look forward to it all week. This helps keep me on track with my diet and drives me to say no to the cupcakes someone brings into work, because I know I’m going to indulge in that one meal I have been craving. When you’re on a diet, cupcakes and other goodies are more tempting, because you feel like you are being deprived of all the good stuff, but if you have already planned on having a slice of pizza and a cupcake for dinner on Saturday the cupcake at work is a little less tempting. 

Don’t cheat when you plan your “cheat meal” 

  • If you know it's your friends birthday this weekend, and you plan to grab a few drinks on Saturday night, that’s your cheat meal. 
  • If you give into that cupcake at work, now you have to consider that as your cheat meal. 
  • If you get convinced to go out to lunch, that’s fine, but consider that your cheat meal for the week. 
  • Don’t cheat yourself by going to Chipotle for lunch and not considering it your cheat meal because you got a bowl with brown rice instead of a burrito when you know damn well you got a big, heaping scoop of their amazing sour cream on top!  

Stick to the plan

The hardest part is sticking to that plan. Once you break the clean eating seal with some nice greasy pizza, you are obviously going to want more, so you have to be adamant and go right back to your meal plan after your one meal. This is a cheat meal, not a cheat day. 

Make your cheat meal very specific, intentional and stick to it. You have big goals, DON’T CHEAT YOURSELF!

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