Short-term strategies for balancing healthy eating and now-and-then indulgences
Integrating healthy choices into daily life can look different for everyone, so here are a few ways to move through an indulgent moment, a meal, or a day or two of indulgence without guilt, shame, or spiraling out of control. There’s no need to give a treat power over you, especially after twenty-one days of not eating it! You have the power to make the choice.
In a moment
In this case, a moment can be considered one treat or time when you’re offered one. There are a couple of ways to approach these moments. For one, you could simply say, “No, thank you,” and pass on the treat. Or take a few bites, and if it isn’t delicious, then put it down. There’s no need to feel FOMO (fear of missing out) over a cupcake now and then. You can literally have a cupcake anytime you want.
Now, on the flip side, if you truly want the cupcake, then just eat it, enjoy the moment, and move on with your life. The next choice you make can easily be a healthy one. There’s no reason for enjoying a cupcake to spiral into a train of guilt and shame about the choice to eat it.
I’m giving you permission right now: eat the cupcake, then move on with healthy choices. End of story.
For a meal
Maybe it’s your birthday, or maybe you’re eating at a really great restaurant, and what you want to enjoy isn’t as healthy as it could be. Again, you have a choice to make. Decide that your meals before and after will be healthy ones, go enjoy your meal, then return to your healthy choices after—no guilt or shame. Make the choice to enjoy it and move on.
For a day or two
Maybe you’ve got some work travel coming up, or maybe you have visitors in town and you’re dining out more often than usual. Have groceries ready for when the time frame ends—at least one or two sources of protein, some salad greens, or maybe some frozen cauliflower rice and some eggs. When you’re ready to return to your usual routine, your house will be already stocked with healthy food, so you can bounce right back into the swing of things.
On a vacation
While it’s not a good idea to be on the 21DSD while you’re on vacation, after your detox, you can still enjoy a vacation in a healthy way.
Start your mornings off right. Eat a breakfast with quality protein and healthy fats—eggs, meat, avocado—and some vegetables. Try to avoid a sugary breakfast, aside from perhaps some fresh fruit. Then, as your day unfolds, make choices that feel special and worth it for your vacation. If you come across a local delicacy, enjoy it. There’s no way I’d encourage you to travel to Italy and not try some handmade pasta with fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, unless you already know that you don’t feel well when you eat gluten and dairy.
There’s no need to feel bad about these choices—simply make them, enjoy the food, enjoy your new experiences, and—you guessed it! —bounce back to healthy eating when you get home.
The Dish from Diane:
If you find yourself returning home to healthy eating after indulging a bit on vacation, here are some key tips to help you coast straight back into healthy habits.
- Before you leave, freeze a couple of meals so they’re ready to eat when you get home. Whether you batch-cook a frittata or some sausage with red sauce, or you order some premade meals from a company like Balanced Bites Meals, you’ll be able to defrost, heat, and eat without the extra hassle of cooking.
- A dozen eggs lasts longer than you think, so even if you’re away a week or more, you can leave eggs at in the fridge and they’ll be ready to eat when you get home.
- While most fresh vegetables won’t last too long, carrots, onions, and potatoes will, so you can leave some behind for your return.
If your pantry is always stocked with basics like olive oil, ghee, and spices, you’ll be all set to eat healthfully for at least a couple of days after you get home, to give yourself time to get to the grocery store and start cooking again.
- Take notes on how you’re doing with the food you reintroduced yesterday.
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