All or Muffin

While I strive to avoid heavily processed foodstuffs and snack treats, I know it’s not realistic to think I’ll never again indulge my sweet tooth.

If I find myself overcome with desire for a gigantic muffin or an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I might be able to talk myself down from the ledge, but sometimes jumping headfirst into a carb-frenzy is the only way to get it out of my system.

For individuals who are trying to take the fast-track to weight loss, giving into one urge can sometimes be a slippery slope, but for those of us who are focused on the big picture, occasionally indulging those urges can actually help tame the beast within.

Be Here Now
People sit in movie theaters across the country shoveling popcorn into their mouths, virtually as unaware of the stimulus to their taste buds as they are of their over-taxed hearts beating in their weak little chests.

If you’ve made the conscious decision to eat something you know to be of sub-optimal nutrition, you’d better savor every bite. And that’s easier to do when you’re giving your food your full attention.

Don’t Have a Cheat Day

I know some people who will eat clean all week, then give themselves a cheat day to satisfy their pent up cravings. While this is obviously better than eating crap all the time, I find it more sustainable to spread my indulgences out through the week. If I have ice cream on Monday, onion rings on Wednesday and a piece of cheesecake on Saturday, I’m able to keep my cravings from building up to the point where I have to go completely wild on the seventh day. This approach usually keeps me from waking up with a full-on junk food hangover and having the “I’m never doing that again” conversation with myself.

Be Real
Of course it would be better for my body to never eat any of my favorite junk foods again, but life ain’t ever gonna be perfect. Even with four or five treats a week, I’m still eating clean around 80% of the time (I eat a lot!). Since my workout schedule allows me to consume large amounts of calories, I could get away with eating a lot worse than I do and still stay lean. However, nutrition is about more than one’s body fat percentage. Luckily, I’ve managed to keep both of those things in check, even with my occasional penchant for ice cream.

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  • http://www.jimarkus.blogspot.com Jim Arkus

    Cheat days are a slippery slope. If you just gorge yourself for the entire day, you could probably pretty easily undo the 6 days of good eating. One thing I found that works really well is a cheat window instead. You’ve got, say, three hours to eat what you want.

    Of course, I’m kind of a clean eater already, so I don’t do too much damage during these. I’m doing keto runs now, so seriously, my cheat window this week is going to be “I get to go to SaladWorks and get the Turkey Club Salad.” Ooh, I’m a wild man.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Haha – you are a wild man indeed, Jim! Savor every bite of that turkey club. :)

  • Kip

    The realization that eating healthy can taste great has been the biggest help in cleaning up my diet. I used to muddle through eating healthy and look forward to the time when I could eat something that burst my taste buds. Finding the really great tasting healthy foods has turned the craving from Doritos to homemade spiced nuts and from fast-food french fries to homemade cinnamon sweet potato fries.

    Find some ‘cheat’ foods that are healthy and it goes a looooong way!

  • Sean

    I hate to be the grammar police, but I think you meant your ‘penchant’ for ice cream not your ‘pension’.
    Thank you for providing great information. I’ve learned a lot here.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Great point, Kip. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t eat tasty foods!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks for the correction!

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  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Word. There is nothing wrong with indulging your sweet tooth. “Cheating” doesn’t have to equate to refined and processed foods. Those are just the convenience foods.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    There are a lot of reasons I might eat a food that I know is bad for me – sometimes it’s to satisfy a craving, other times it is simply out of convenience.

    But like I often say, there is no such thing as right or wrong, just actions and consequences. If I eat too much crap, I have to pay the price – weather that means being low energy or losing some definition in my abs. :)

  • Jenn

    Hmmm… it looks like the photo involves a panettone, not a muffin. Panettone >> muffin, in the grand scheme of “cheating” goes. Especially panettone made into French toast with cream and egg yolks…

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Good point, Jenn, but “All or Panettone” isn’t a pun. It’s a great photo though, ain’t it? :)

  • Stefan

    I’m a diet right now where a cheat day is necessary (or rather spiking carbs) and it works pretty well. That particular day I definitely gain weight but I guess it’s just water because it will be all gone by the day after. Then again, I’m by no means overweight, I just want to trade a few pounds of fat for muscle.

    Al, it’s pretty darn impressing that you can keep your ripped body by cheating many days a week!

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks Stefan – Like I said, even though I eat junk a few times a week, the total amount of crap in my diet is probably the same as it would be if I had one cheat day and kept it impeccably clean on the other days – I just prefer to spread my indulgences out. Each person has to find what works for them as an individual.

  • Jenifermparker

    i love the picture. fantastic!

    and i agree. though, i don’t think i cold manage a “muffin” that large. :) great one! :D sharing it on FB.

  • http://www.AlKavadlo.com/ Al Kavadlo

    Thanks! The picture is my favorite part, too!

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