Did you know that you can be healthy and sometimes still eat junk food?
For the most part, I think a lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I LOVE cheese puffs.
Because we’ve got this assumption in our culture that in order to be healthy it means you negate ALL other foods that aren’t healthy.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you want to live healthily and nourish your body with foods that are going to fuel it for optimal health, you’re going to want to eat healthy most of the time. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo ALL foods that you know aren’t as good for you.
Maybe this will cause outrage amongst the health community, but this is my truth, so I’m offering it up so you know that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard or perfect.
So why is this relevant?
Well, for one, most of the time I think there’s a perception that healthy nerds (especially since the invent of social media) are really strict with what we eat, exercise all the time and that we generally have good genes and a fast metabolism.
Is it true?
But Rachel…how do you eat cheese puffs and still be a healthy nerd? you ask…
Well, here’s my take on it.
#1 Replacement instead of restriction.
Most of you know, I’m big on the psychology of eating and the behavioral aspects of our relationships with our bodies. I believe this is where most of lasting change occurs. I know when I say to myself that I can’t have something, it only makes me want it more. So instead of restricting myself from having something, I will replace it.
For example, if I want to eat Cheese Puffs, I will eat pretty clean the rest of the day. Why? Because I know Cheese Puffs are actually really bad for me. It has a ton of sodium and MSG in it…which is horrible for my body. I think I might’ve had Cheese Puffs once every…ten months (it helps that they’re extortionately expensive in Australia), But when I do, I enjoy every bite knowing that it’s probably going to be another ten months until I have them again. So I still get to enjoy my treat without feeling like I can never have them.
#2 Balance is key.
I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and 20% indulgence. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before, but few people know how to actually do it. My advice, use the above tip – replace instead of restrict. From a health point of view, it’s important to ensure you’re eating foods that nourish your body more than deplete your body. And from a weight management perspective, you want to ensure you are expending more than you’re consuming.
At the end of the day, I believe balance is the key to sustaining a healthy body and life. Eating to me is a joy because I am able to choose what foods I get to nourish my body with each day AND I get to eat foods I love purely because I like the taste. If I remind myself that my body is here to carry me through this life, it’s easy to remember that it’s my job to fuel it the best I can.
#3 Be aware of your goals.
This is a really important point. All of us have different healthy goals. Some of you might want to clean up your diet, or clean up all areas of your lifestyle, you might want to lose some weight, or you might want to re-balance your hormones etc. My point is that we each have individual goals and they most certainly should be at the forefront of your mind whenever making choices about what you eat.
So let yourself be your guide on this one. If you feel this is OK for you, allow yourself to eat in moderation. One useful question to ask yourself is; Will eating this bring me closer to my goal?
Being a health nerd doesn’t have to be all strict and serious. I think eating should be a source of nourishment and joy. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. This is something that I incorporate into my consultations with clients and an approach I believe assists in making a transition to your happiest and healthiest body and life easier and enjoyable.