Why do we crave the things that offer no nutritional value? Probably because it feels a little naughty, they’re yummy, and temporarily mood-boosting. As human beings, we can be defiant and stubborn, refusing to give up our comfort foods and happiness triggers, even if we know they can wreak havoc on our health.
If you have a nagging sweet tooth or a dark-roast addiction you haven’t been able to kick since college, you’re not alone. WE LOVE CUPCAKES AND COFFEE! But, we also love the idea of a healthy body, mind, and soul. To be your best self, you’ve got to strike the perfect balance between living a healthy lifestyle and giving yourself some grace when you choose the path with extra frosting. Balance is your best friend. Here are a few tips for how to savor the sweetness of life without going over the edge.
- Give yourself permission. If you live a healthy lifestyle, and strive for nutritious options most of the time, you’re doing great. If there is a super special event in your near future and you just can’t foresee going without the cake and ice cream, so be it. Remind yourself in advance that this is a special circumstance, not your daily routine (that’s when we run into some problems)! Drop the guilt associated with doing or eating something you “shouldn’t.” Enjoy the moment, and then get back on track.
- Look for substitutes. Not all healthy food sucks. In fact, there are SO MANY choices to treat your palate once you broaden your horizons. Afraid of life without pasta, bread, and crackers? Instead of eliminating these things from your diet completely, seek out veggie-based noodles, cauliflower crusts, or plant-based snacks. Try adding color and variety to your plate, and you are well on your way to a more balanced diet.
- Own your choices. We all indulge in something here or there. If you make the decision to snag a triple macchiato on your way into the office, understand the impact it will have on your body, and the best way to counteract any negative side-effects later in the day. For example, coffee can cause major jitters, anxiety, and ironically, fatigue among other health issues. Be prepared to follow up your specialty drink with lots of H2O and supplement with electrolytes if you’re feeling extra parched!
The bottom line? Make sweets and other temptations the exception to your lifestyle, rather than the rule. Allow yourself to indulge here and there, but always balance your choices with those that will aid your body. Be informed about the lifestyle choices you make and how they’ll impact your long-term goals, and once you make a choice, put on your grown-up pants and deal with it!
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