Treat yourself but don’t cheat yourself

strawberries

Nobody is perfect, especially when it comes to consistently sticking to healthy food and a vigorous exercise schedule. But your overall health depends on how often and how much you stray from your ideal. As a result, treating yourself should be an occasional indulgence, not something to do every day.

There are many delicious ways to treat yourself yet remain committed to your diet or exercise plan. For example, I dipped strawberries in dark chocolate and refrigerated them before dinner… and they made for an amazing yet not too unhealthy dessert.  They were my fruit that day and I made sure not to eat chocolate throughout the week so I didn’t get used to its sweet taste. Other yummy treats I love include:

  • frozen yogurt (unsweetened)
  • dark chocolate
  • peanut butter oatmeal cookies
  • plantain sautéed in olive oil and lightly salted
  • gourmet tea or coffee

I always balance out my treats within my diet that day and week so as to avoid a sugar (or caffeine) rush and stay within my eating plan.

Treating yourself is not limited to food. Sometimes I treat myself by taking a walk or simply stretching instead of doing a rigorous workout. I’ll do this if I feel especially sore or sick, or if the thought of exercise is overly daunting. Often a brisk walk for the hour or so that I had scheduled to exercise clears my head and I end up working out later that day or early the next morning. Other indulgences, for example in terms of finances, include going out for a movie or live entertainment.

The right treat allows you to enjoy something that you generally don’t have planned, without letting yourself down. It won’t hurt your stomach or head, and it will help you relax and focus on your needs. Often I will treat myself when I’m frustrated because my husband is eating a ton of things I can’t, or if I simply have the urge to do something indulgent. This keeps me motivated and committed to staying healthy and happy.

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