Let’s not call it a cheat meal

Over the years in my journey as a private chef, health coach and nutritionist I have become increasingly passionate about teaching people about the power of food as medicine and how to become conscious of what you are giving to your body.

Sometimes you ll have the opportunity to eat something ‘off plan’ and you consider the event ‘cheating’ or ‘bad eating’. This idea of ‘cheating’ hurts your relationship with food.

Why should we feel guilty or judged when we enjoy an ‘off plan’ meal, why can’t it just be called a treat?

It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I am right now. I have learnt to deal with my feelings around food, I don’t feel guilt anymore when enjoying something ‘off plan’.

I have been experimenting with nutritional plant based ketosis for a few years now and often recommend it to my patients too. I like to encourage and educate my patients on eating more plant based and eliminating a few foods for a while to reset and recover the gut microbiome, such foods would include dairy for example.

For me keto is about finding a range of carbs that I can personally tolerate and choosing a variety of healthy real foods that fit into that guideline, rather than sticking to a prescribed set of rules. I eat around 45 to 50 net carbs per day on average.

I like to increase my carb intake during certain times of the month, it helps to support my hormonal balance post ovulation and during menstruation. I believe it helps to alleviate the symptoms and provide my body with a bit more support in that time.

I believe in self care and not self control when it comes to food and navigating an eating style that works for my body. Every body’s body is different.

It takes time to get through the diet culture

Most of us have engaged in the diet culture in some way or another and that creates barriers, these barriers prevent us from focusing on our bodies core principles. An good example would be hunger. In diet world, we get tricked into dishonoring our hunger. Sometimes, when we do this for long periods of time, those hunger signals can get off balance and cause havoc to the system.

We need to learn to honor our hunger, your body is craving some form of nourishment. It does not have to be a piece of cake, it can be a piece of avocado or a boiled egg for example. By honoring the hunger signals you are feeling, you may also prevent binge eating that can occur later on.

I have been guilty of body shaming and it can take a long time to heal and recover from something like that. It takes time to work through the diet mentally and getting in tune with our bodies needs.

Body acceptance

Allow the wise part of your brain to give an opinion.

Intuitive eating is the first place to start. There will always be a part of you that will still jump back into the diet culture. You have to tame the voice that keeps giving your critical, untrue thoughts.

A few practical tools that helped me:

Journaling- It helped to re – wire my brain and create positive patterns.

Do something that makes me feel loved – I love being outdoors, so I tried to spend more time in nature, hiking, going to the beach with my dogs and it always helped me to feel more grateful and in tune with body.

You are worthy

It does not matter what shape or size your body comes. Except food and believe its nourishing and healing for your body. By doing that you will make better food choices, improve your gut integrity, feel better, more motivated and energized.

No one has a perfect journey. Accept your imperfections and you will find more joy in life!

You deserve to eat regularly for self – care and taking care of your bodies needs. Don’t get consumed by guilt when you do enjoy an occasional treat.

Let go of the guilt and return to healthier choices next time you feel the need to indulge.

Dot you later! X

About the author

Qualified chef, Health Coach and Nutritionist based in Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa

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