When you decide to get healthy and have a happy life, you have endless ways to approach it. Getting back into an exercise routine, going on a “diet”, following all the “shoulds” and setting goals. All of these things tend to focus on what you can control outside. Like the food you eat, or how much you workout. But the real transformation happened for me when I realized there’s a missing piece: what’s going on INSIDE, our mindset.
My Old Unhealthy Mindset
I used to see working out and eating healthy as a chore, boring and really dread it. It would seem like a punishment for all the fun I’d had on the weekend. I’d try to be really strict with my health goals during the week, and weekends would be “cheat” days when I’d treat myself.
My treats would often be in the form of mindlessly eating really terrible junk food and sitting in front of the TV for hours. Then I’d think I have to work out more to “burn off calories” (which I don’t believe in and never think about now.) I’d feel terrible and guilty for letting myself down. This cycle would go on forever.
New Healthy Mindset
After a while I started to rethink my treats. What if my treat at the end of a long day is to reward my body? To thank it for carrying me through my day, workouts, and allowing me to do the things I love? What if "dessert" meant taking care of myself instead of stuffing my face in junk food? What if I connected with myself and fueled my mind and soul instead of eating my feelings?
Then it hit me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love having desserts. But my mindset is different. I don’t label it as bad, good, treat or punishment, it’s just food.
My workouts are all about self care and self love. Moving in a way that FEELS good, gentle, effective and mindful. I started replacing the unhealthy treats with new self care practices.
Here are some things I do to treat myself:
"All these things can help you feel your best AND are actually good for you."
I also have a problem with the term "cheat day". Who are we cheating on? Yourself, your health? Does it feel good to cheat? Do you actually feel better or worse after? I think this concept can become a dangerous cycle of restricting and binging. The most terrible mindset ever, in my opinion.
What can you do now?
Next time you want a treat, spend your time on what lights you up, what makes you feel alive and excited instead of focusing on dieting, strict food rules, and exercise regimes. Let's shift our focus to loving and nourishing ourselves.
I strongly believe that how you do anything is as important as what you do. Eating, exercising and living life from a more loving and empowering place allows for the real change to happen. That’s when you not only look better but also feel amazing.
What's been your experience with cheat days and treats? What mindset shift can you make today to be your best version? Share with me in the comments below!