My mom used to say: “It’s not what you do 10% of the time that hurts your health, it’s what you do 90% of the time.”
So give yourself permission to indulge “just a little” without feeling guilty or feeling like you failed. Remember that “little” is the operative word here. If you allow yourself an indulgence now and then, it will keep you on track and give you the energy and motivation to keep eating healthy. You’ll also find that you have fewer cravings and it is easier to maintain a healthy eating plan more of the time. If you give yourself permission to indulge every once in a while, you won’t feel like you are missing out or depriving yourself and you will be more likely to stay focused.
How often do you stop something when it doesn’t go exactly as planned? How often have you started a diet or healthy eating plan stopped when you ate something you knew was not healthy? How many times have you said you would start eating healthy after an upcoming event or next week? Think before answering and be honest – you are the only one who will hear the answers.
It is OK to go to that special event and enjoy yourself (a little) or have that special treat once in a while when you crave it. One lapse won’t raise your LDL cholesterol that much, as long as it is just an isolated event and not a regular part of your diet. If you give yourself permission to indulge once in a while rather than feeling guilty and giving up, you will be much better off. Think of it this way: If you give up, then you have zero chance of successfully reaching your goal. If you stay on track, you are on your way to success and a happier and healthier life.
Remember the childhood story of the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race! There are no magic answers or magic pills (although you keep hoping). The road to better health does not have to be depressing or make you feel like you have nothing to look forward to. If you feel that the choices and trade-offs are yours to make, over time you will learn to make the right ones – the ones that lead you to be the best and healthiest you can be. Think of what an amazing role model and example you will be for everyone around you.
Why not chose to lead when it really counts and your life depends on it!