Your self-control is like a tank of gas.
You start with a full tank, but each and every time you use your self-control, the tank goes down.
And you know when you hit empty – it’s the day when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop yourself from stuffing your face with everything in the cabinet.
So how do you keep yourself from getting so low on self-control that you lose all control?
You give yourself days to recharge where you don’t have to use your self-control!
We take days off from working out to rest our bodies. We take days off from work to recharge for the next week.
So why wouldn’t you need to take a day off from eating a perfectly clean diet?
This recharge each week isn’t an all out cheat, which can be good to do every once in a while if you enjoy non-healthy foods like I do.
But instead this recharge day, unlike the other 6 days of the week when you try to not eat past being satiated, you can eat till you are absolutely and completely stuffed full of all the Primal foods you enjoy!
For me this day is Saturday, each and every week. Yep even during my very strict two months, I had a day to recharge.
Each and every Saturday, I would indulge in all of the Primal foods I loved until I was so stuffed full I didn’t want to eat anything else. Depending on the week, I could have anything from potatoes fried in duck fat to full-fat cheese, dark chocolate, nuts and fruit.
All still whole, natural foods, but I didn’t worry about the quantity in which I ate them. If I wanted a huge hunk of cheese, I ate it. If I was craving something sweet? I would eat dark chocolate macadamia nut bark, or fruit or my primal “sorbet” (frozen berries, heavy cream and dark chocolate pieces all mashed together).
Not only did this day help me refill my self-control tank so that I could make it through another week of meat and veggies, but I also truly believe that this high calorie day really helped me get as lean as I did in two months.
All of the diets that I’ve found to be successful and fairly easy to maintain, are diets that have give you one “cheat day” each and every week. I mean just take a look at Lean Gains or Tim Ferriss of the 4 Hour Body.
And these diets incorporate cheat days because cheat days promote fat loss because they:
- Increased thyroid hormone output. When in a caloric deficit, underfed individuals produce less T3 and T4—both important thyroid hormones that play roles in the regulation of metabolic rate. A cheat day or strategic overfeed is used in part to increase these hormones.
- Increased 24-Hour Energy Expenditure. A caloric surplus from a cheat day causes the body to upregulate basal metabolic rate (BMR). Some studies have shown an increase of 9% above baseline, and it’s hypothesized that more is possible.
- Increased serum Leptin levels. The big one that most harp on. Leptin levels drop while in a caloric deficit (lasting as little as 72 hours), and a periodic bump in leptin coming from a cheat day has several benefits including increased thyroid output, increased energy expenditure and BMR, and overall increased thermogenesis.
Of course, there’s the psychological benefit of being able to take a day off from your diet; eat whatever you like and be comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll still get lean. It’s hard to quantify how much that actually helps, but the majority of folks who opt to use cheating protocols cite this as one of the most significant benefits. (RFS)
So if you “cheat” once a week not only can you recharge your self-control, but you also make your diet more conducive to fat loss (and more enjoyable)!
So I’ve been reading the “Body Image Warrior Week” posts over at Fit and Feminist. They are great and they got me to really thinking about dieting and body image.
Usually negative body image and dieting go hand in hand. But dieting doesn’t solve negative body image.
If you can’t accept your body as it is now, you won’t accept it even if you find a diet that makes you look exactly the way you always wanted to. No matter how “good” you look, if you have a negative self-image, you will always be able to find some flaw.
So stop looking for the flaws. Stop thinking that if you just find the right diet you will be able to lose enough weight or fat to correct them. Stop thinking that dieting is the solution.
You can’t change the body you were given.
A healthy diet will make you look good, but you already have to be content. No matter how great the transformation in your body, a diet won’t create a positive self-image.
BUT, if you find a diet that will make you healthier, that will make you feel better, you will find a diet that makes your body look the best that it can!
That is why I’ve been so gung-ho about the Man Bicep diet. I found something that has made me healthier and feel better with the added bonus that my abs show.
My body may not be what someone else considers to be perfect, but guess what?…I like how I look! (Although I’m still weirded out when I log in and see like 50 bazillion pictures of myself EVERYWHERE, but it’s proof right!?! haha)
Is that cocky? No. Is it confident? Yes. Am I happy? Most definitely.
But I’m not only happy with my body because I feel it “looks good.” I’m happy with my body because I like that I can lift more weight than is necessary. I like that I can sprint and paddle board and even occasionally eat till I have a food baby and can only roll around in pain and moan.
I love my body’s strength and feeling of health. Yes it has flaws, but there isn’t a person out there who doesn’t see a flaw no matter how “perfect” someone else thinks their body is.
And while I feel better and healthier when my abs are showing, I’m just as happy in my own skin when Chinese food and ice cream have hidden them (Ok so not quite as happy, but that is mainly because I usually feel pretty ill from the bad food binge-ing!)
So stop looking for the flaws in your body and realize how wonderful it is.
And I’m not undermining the importance of committing to a healthy lifestyle. I’m just saying a diet won’t correct a negative body image.
A healthy diet, however, does have a big pay-off – one bigger than 6 pack abs…You will feel freaking healthy and good!