Tuesday, 10 March 2015
The Importance of Indulging
Let me tell you something - restricting yourself will get you nowhere. In every single sense. How can you expect yourself to progress by restricting yourself?
When it comes to healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle at least, the important factor when it comes to indulging is accepting that it's OK every once in a while to indulge. For me, my weakness is chocolate - Maltesers or a salted caramel chocolate pot, it is my crack. However, I have learnt that restricting myself of these things and being strict, labelling these foods as 'forbidden' or telling myself I'll immediately gain 5kg from eating them just ended up with me bingeing, and hating myself after.
It's all much easier said than done but here's how and why it's important to indulge....
Live by the 80/20 rule
I'm a huge advocate for trying to live healthily 80% of the time and allowing myself to indulge the rest of the time. I find the easiest way to do this is not through a cheat day a week but rather two days a week, I'll have a desert or a chocolate truffle or three or a glass of wine (or three...). This is the most liveable way of eating well but allowing yourself those moments to indulge. The past few months I've probably been a bit on and off, more 70/30 or even 60/40 but my body has just told me enough is enough and I'm back on track with it being 80/20.
If you're going to do it over two meals a week, try and avoid this being consecutive and split it, say on a Wednesday and a Saturday.
Indulge to boost your metabolism
Bizarre, I know. However, often when you're having the same old kale and quinoa salad for lunch every day and salmon and roast veg for dinner, your metabolism runs at a steady pace. You may be eating and drinking metabolism boosting foods and doing plenty of exercise but if you're restrictive and don't indulge, your metabolism will just plod along and most likely slow down. However by having a slice of cake or a burger, this shocks your metabolism and gets it working a bit faster to process this 'un-clean' food, because it doesn't know what to even do with it!
This is also great if you're trying to lose weight and you've found you've plateaued. Avoid being overly strict and just have that glass of wine or go out for a pizza. Just make sure it doesn't become a regular thing....
Moderation, Moderation, Moderation
Indulge in moderation. Again, this sounds so much easier than when you put it into practice! Sometimes I find if I'm desperate for some chocolate, it's easiest to share it with someone as it means I won't find myself demolishing the entire bar all in one sitting! It sort of goes hand in hand with living by the 80/20 rule, and you'll find that by eating smaller portions of treats or having them less frequently will, as you get used to it, be much easier to manage having a clean diet the majority of the time. You need to be very firm with yourself, and this is something that takes getting used to. No, I won't have another glass of wine. No, I think I'll save the rest of those chocolates for another day. Keep reminding yourself how great you'll feel by not over-indulging - you'll feel less bloated, you won't feel so much self-hatred, you won't wake up the next day with greasy skin and a brand new juicy, painful spot. Moderate, and you'll feel great.
Indulge for your mind
Your wellbeing and mental health is so important, many of you may not even realise. If you're finding yourself bingeing because you're restricting so much and then feeling so much hate and regret, take baby steps and start introducing small 'treats' once every other day or so. Start gradually and eventually spread these treats out. Eventually you'll find yourself slowly staying away from the constant self-loathing and actually giving your mind and emotions a rest.
Having a couple of squares of dark chocolate releases dopamine, the same feeling we get when we fall in love and makes us feel good. In moderation of course, this is great for our mood and our mind.
Restriction just stresses you out and causes all the hormones to be all over the place, wrecking havoc upon our mind. Be gentle with yourself - you're doing the best you can. A little indulgence here and there will truly help control your mood, your emotions and your mind.
Of course, all of these things really go hand in hand with one another but it really is important to just take things in small steps and to accept that sometimes, being healthy doesn't mean being super squeaky 100% clean. It's good for so many reasons to indulge sometimes, especially for our health. Don't be ashamed to indulge - it's a great thing to indulge every now and then and if you think you're being judged - well the only person judging you is you. Enjoy these moments!
What's your favourite way to indulge? If you've got any tips on how to indulge or why you think it's important to indulge, please share with everyone in the comments!
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