Boundaries. They're important for a lot of things in life - even splurges. For some reason, though, drawing the line when it comes to certain foods seems to problem for many of us, even the most disciplined person. I'm don't want to come across as righteous. I've been guilty of a good splurge! That said, I like to consider myself a healthy "splurger."
Now, I'm not making light of overeating in any way, shape or form. I'm emphatically committed to helping educate people on eating healthy and exercising right. That said, every now and then I think it's ok to go overboard...a little bit. If we splurge in a good way, we wake up the next morning saying to ourselves, "I really didn't need to eat that extra [insert your favorite treat or two here], but I don't care! It was worth it and I deserved it." If we splurge in a bad way, we generally wake up the next morning saying to ourselves, "Wow. I feel like shit." (Sorry, no other word would really do.) We continue to beat ourselves up over something we can do nothing about. The knee-jerk reaction is to overcompensate with exercise, diet destructively, or throw in the towel only to continue making the same mistake over and over again.
Without further ado, here are a few boundary rules to a healthier way to indulge. I tie these rules closely to my 80/20 rule that essentially says "do the best you can 80% of the time" (don't flake out, don't splurge, eat healthy, exercise, read my blog), "and 20% of the time you can let your guard down and go easy on your perfect diet and fitness regime." (have cake, go on vacation and get a massage instead of going for a run).
First, let's start with a definition. What is a splurge? According to me, a splurge is eating something you normally wouldn't , but really like. It has a higher caloric value and isn't considered a health food. A splurge (by my responsible definition) is NOT: sitting down and polishing off a half gallon of ice cream or a jumbo bag of chips. That's overeating, or binge eating. Not healthy. Not good. Not part of the 80/20 rule. But it happens to some people (more than you'd think) for a number of reasons. Since my posts are usually heavy, I'm not going to dwell on that right now. Onto the rules!
Rule 1: No Trans Fats
Sorry to throw a hard ball out on the first rule, but your health is far too important to sacrifice for overdoing it on a factory-grown fat that literally damages your heart - even in the smallest amounts. I really mean this. I even came down on the Girls Scout about their cookies. Who would do that? Me. Don't worry, you don't need to give me flack. Plenty of my friends already have. I don't care! They're that bad. It's a shame they're even allowed in our foods. (stepping down from soap box now). You can learn more about foods that contain hidden trans fats here.
Rule 2: Drink 12 - 16 Ounces of Water Prior to Splurge
I know splurges aren't always planned, but if you're going to a dinner with a buffet, a restaurant that serves family-style only, your grandma's house or you know a big piece of chocolate cake is waiting for your after your meal, drink water. It will make you feel fuller, and it will hydrate you.
Rule 3: No Splurging Before 5pm
Why wreck your day? If one sugary drink, like a soda or juice, can throw off you blood sugar levels enough to create a post-lunch dip, imagine what a splurge could do? Don't have ice cream after lunch. Don't get the extra order of fries. Wait. And if you really feel the need to indulge a little, do it later in the day.
Rule 4: Splurge No More than Once a Week
If you're free and clear of sugar, refined carbs and trans fats...and have been for months - ignore this post entirely. Keep doing what you're doing. If you generally find a reason to have a frou-frou drink from the coffee house every day of the week, or a meal that includes fried foods several times a week...you need to slow down a little bit. Designate one night to a guilty pleasure and enjoy it. Scrounge this blog for alternatives to your treats. You'll probably find something.
Rule 5: Keep Splurge Portion Sizes in Check
Regardless of what it is you choose to indulge on, don't super size it. Keep portion sizes fairly normal. I know, I know, it's a splurge - so you'll probably eat a little more than normal. That's ok. Have the extra cookie. Just don't eat the whole sleeve.
Do you have a rule for splurging? Share it here, or on my Facebook page. Come check it out. Some really great stuff gets posted there. Oh, and there is the occasional fit-focused contest, too! See you there.