Most people fall into two extremes of eating: paying no attention to their diet, consuming every bite of junk food that comes their way OR obsessing about diet as if they were training for the Olympics. The problem is that neither way of eating is productive for most people.
From my personal life and observations as a trainer, I believe it is helpful to separate your diet into: what you eat for Monday morning lunch and “wedding cake moments”.
Monday morning lunch is a meal that repeats over and over. It’s not very memorable. These are routine meals and as such should be as healthy as possible. Habitually rewarding yourself with treats at such routine meals gradually adds unnecessary calories and fat to the body. Also, this creates the unhelpful habit of expecting treats regularly. I am not saying never have a cookie or chips, but such treats are actually more enjoyable when they are infrequent and should be reserved for…
“Wedding cake moments” How often do you go to a wedding? Once or twice a year. How often is it your mother’s birthday? There are some special events that come up very infrequently but are important for another part of one’s health, which is relationships. Don’t be the guy/gal at a wedding so obsessive about their diet that they refuse to eat a slice of wedding cake. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, a piece of cake a few times per year won’t make much of a difference in your body. Now this doesn’t mean that every single office party or Friday night with friends warrants pizza and another round of drinks! And of course sometimes we slip up and may eat a bit of junk food. However, the stress and anxiety from expecting dietary perfection is just not worth it. Just get back on track towards your standard fuel, because really in the big picture it doesn’t matter that much.
So stick with the Monday Morning Lunch routine most of the time, but allow yourself those “Wedding cake moments”. You can have your cake (being healthy and lean), and eat it too (infrequently, at truly special events).