National Donut Day is an actual celebrated holiday for a reason…because donuts are so freakin’ delicious.
Five years ago, I would have tried to resist the holiday because it wouldn’t have fit into “my diet.” Trolling my Insta feed, I would eventually come across the #NationalDonutDay posts and be all, “Oh cool, Donut Day. I don’t care. I don’t even want one,” while clicking the hashtag to desperately scour more donut photos and trying to imagine what that delicious maple bacon bar must taste like.
“Not wanting one” was obviously a total load of crap and I knew it. By the end of the day I was at Voodoo Doughnuts, shoveling a donut (or two) into my mouth without even tasting it or knowing what happened. Then I’d feel bad about myself for the lack of willpower, lack of determination toward my goals, etc., etc.…
This is called food guilt. It doesn’t feel good. We all get it.
For me, food guilt goes like this:
- I’m not at peace with what I’m eating. I eat something half-assed for lunch or dinner like a bland salad with cold tuna and a bunch of veggies. I tell myself “It’s so good!” but really, inside I’m like, “I want that delicious looking turkey sandwich and jalapeño chips that guy over there is eating.”
- I feel deprived. About an hour later I’m super unsatisfied and start to get bitchy.
- I begin craving stuff. Then I start to think about how good a piece of toast with PB&J would be…or a brownie…or a donut!
- I binge. I can no longer take it. I just gotta have something to control this irresistible craving for (insert endless junk food here). I start shoveling anything I can get my hands on into my mouth.
- I feel guilty. I feel like total crap about myself physically and mentally. I’m defeated. I feel like a failure and have that “now I have to start all over again” feeling.
If this is you, raise your hand.
The Problem with Diets
And this, my friends, is the problem with “diets”. They start you off on the wrong foot right away by forcing you to take Step 1 by giving you rules about which foods are “good” and which foods are “bad”. Then you make a crappy salad with dry tuna for lunch because those are the “good” foods, and when your willpower fails you (and it eventually will) you work your way down the ladder to Step 5. Restrictive diets give that “all-or-nothing” mentality so you vow to start over again tomorrow. And the vicious cycle continues…
Instead, try learning to listen to your body: when you’re hungry, when you’re full, when you’re craving something just because you’re bored or stressed. Create a balance between diet, exercise and weight maintenance all while enjoying the food you’re eating. Here are some tips:
- Make something for breakfast, lunch and dinner that you know you’ll genuinely be excited to eat and satisfied after eating.
- Don’t skip meals. This can lead to extreme hunger, which can turn into deprivation and then before you know it you’re bingeing.
- Don’t tell yourself “I can’t eat that” with certain foods because it may make you want it more.
- Incorporate healthy “fillers” into meals. Add veggies to your smoothie, ground flaxseed to your oatmeal, strawberries or other sweet fruit to your salads.
- Try to get in at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day. This shouldn’t be hard since we spend more than 20 minutes a day watching TV and on our phones. Do 20 minutes less of these things each day and 20 minutes more of something that requires moving your body.
What I’m trying to get at here is that you need to find balance in your life. So many diets have absolutely no balance worked in. We aren’t robots and can’t rely strictly on our willpower. It’s about eating HEALTHY meals that SATISFY you at breakfast, lunch and dinner, only eating snacks (healthy ones) if you’re really, truly hungry, and enjoying the occasional indulgence. You’ll eventually find what occasional means for you. For me it’s 2 or 3 small ones a week. If I do this, I never get the food guilt.
So if you find yourself on the verge of losing your shit today while trolling Instagram looking at #NationalDonutDay posts, go get a donut! Go for a nice walk while you eat it, savor every bite, and don’t feel bad about it.