How to eat Guilt Free Treats (Wouldn’t that be nice??)
Life is filled with delicious food that we “shouldn’t” have. So how can you have guilt free treat or indulgence without feeling bad about it? Because I want you to eat delicious foods and to really enjoy it. Life is nothing without those blissful experiences, and food really can be a blissful moment.
I got a confession. I’m a big eater and a foodie (and yes, still a healthy guy, too). Unfortunately, especially around festivities, we create this remorse and guilt that undoes the happiness of our festivities. That’s not how we should live our lives.
We should not be actively combating our own happiness. To that end, here are three strategies on how to overcome this and enjoy the indulgent foods guilt-free.
The first thing we need to understand is that a lot of guilt comes because people will think that food is their enemy Let me tell you this plainly: food is not your enemy. Lemme repeat that in case you need to hear that again, food is not your enemy.
Food is not your enemy!
The first big step we can take to enjoying treats guilt free is the mindset shift and understanding that food is not your enemy. Which is hard to believe when we’ve been inundated with all the fear mongering of the diet industry and beauty magazines, but it’s important to reiterate: Food is not your enemy.
Without that belief, indulgent foods will trigger a suffocating amount of guilt. You should be able to enjoy the happy treats guilt-free. The reality is food is your ally. It is the building blocks of your health. For more discussion on this topic, check out “Is the food you’re eating good or bad for you”
It’s not just mindset though. There are some physical and habit strategies you can do to create more space and more comfort for guilt-free treats. Really there are two ways to attack this, and if you do both in conjunction with eachother, you build a very strong base.
The nutrition system we coach our clients on has a budget for how many of these treats you’re going to have each week. I remember speaking with one client around the Christmas Holiday specifically about xmas cookie budgets. We set the limit of her hand size, she could have that much Christmas cookies each day without the dread that she was eating too much.
My client kept getting mailed treats and care packages from friends and family. She felt guilty if she ate them (“BAD SUGAR!”) and she felt guilty if she didn’t eat them (“Ungrateful gift receiver”). She wants to enjoy those cookies, right? She wants to share in the holiday season, she wants to share in with the love from her friends and family, and she SHOULD share in all that guilt free.
So we set that limit by saying a hand-sized amount of xmas treats each day during the holidays. It allowed her to participate and enjoy (ain’t that the point of life??), but it set a respectable limit that still allowed her to work on her health goals. It let her enjoy guilt-free treats. She got the best of both worlds by setting an “extras” budget, and you can, too.
Another benefit of setting a budget is that it does a better job of preventing future regrets and guilt. Oftentimes, the expression people say is “I had too much _____.” We’ve all been told the merits of everything in moderation, but we still feel guilty when we have too much. The biggest challenge is without a budget, trying to have “less” means nothing to our minds.
Having “less” cake, “less” wine, “fewer” cookies, or anything like that doesn’t give directions to our minds, so we’re unable to act on it. Less is not a number or size we can measure. Having a set budget for how much extra to have does set a measurement we can follow. When we consume our budget, it’s a natural signal to our minds to pump the brakes and call it good. We get to have enough to enjoy, but we also get instructions on when to stop while it’s still a guilt-free treat.
Give yourself Wiggle Room
Budgets give us clear boundaries to play within for guilt-free treats, but we can also create more space as well with regular healthy habits.
I often talk with clients about this concept of “wiggle room” that some of us are supposedly blessed with. Ultimately, it’s about pre-emptively preventing extras from feeling like “extra.”
Mathematically, having a treat is insignificant. Eating like poo-poo one day, out of 365, is only a quarter of a percent of the year. You can have a poo-poo day and still be 99.73% perfect on your nutrition habits for the year.
That 99.73% is a huge amount of wiggle room to be off the books and still be guilt-free with treats. But did you see the catch?
“…having A treat is insignificant.”
A BLT or a loose meal won’t amount to much when it’s a small portion of your overall picture, but what if it’s just another poor decision on top of a heap of poor decisions and habits? Health REBELs was founded in disgust at the unfortunate reality that most people find themselves in a common standard of coasting through existence with unintentional habits. The center of our whole health philosophy says to “Break Free From Common Standards” for this reason
If someone has an unfortunate tendency to have poor habits, adding additional “extras” just grows the pile. There’s no room for the body to absorb it, and it gets pack on our waists, thighs, and in our arteries.
However! You can easily have guilt free treats when you have a higher percentage of beneficial habits than non-beneficial habits. By doing well (not even perfect, but just “well”) in each of the components of the Holistic Wheel, you create a great healthy base that can absorb random treats without detriment to your health or image.
Now, let me be perfectly clear, you never “earn” treats with healthy habits. We do healthy habits because healthy habits make everything else in our lives feel better. It’s just a happy bonus that when we do healthy habits consistently, we build up resistance to anything that would detract from our health. Because of the extra wiggle room, we make less healthy indulgences mathematically insignificant.
How to Enjoy Treats Guilt Free…
My clients and I get to enjoy the extra moments in life guilt free. We love birthday parties, fine dining, treats, and other indulgences. These treats are all guilt free because of our mindset that refuses to punish us for our happiness, the reasonable budgets we follow, and the wiggle room we create with healthy habits.
If you do those three things, you too can enjoy guilt free treats.
Keep the REBEL Oath, friends.