I decided to go on a diet this week, since my weekend consisted of a Crafts & Pie night with the girls where I ate more ‘goodies’ than I should have. I thought, “On Monday, that’s it. I am going on a diet. Healthy, clean eating all week.”
Monday morning rolled around and I started with a protein shake and an hour-long workout. “All good,” I thought, following it up with some steak stir-fry and brown rice for lunch. I finally felt like I was going to be able to get through the whole week completely sugar free! Then around 2pm, I realized there was still some peanut butter pie in the fridge. Once the binge started it didn’t end there. After a healthy dinner, a friend dropped off some cheesecake, and I cheated again…
The next day was Tuesday, and one mini cheesecake remained in my fridge. After a whole day of “being good” (and another great workout!) I cheated on my diet. Sure, I only had three bites. But the fact remains that I had already cheated every day, and I was only on day 2 of my “5 days of healthy eating” diet.
What now? Do I just give up? I mean, I’ve already cheated for nearly half of my total time on this so-called “diet.”
Cheat Days vs. Healthy Meal Planning
To be honest this isn’t the first time that I attempted to do the ‘Cheat Day’ diet where someone eats healthy for 6 days a week and on the 7th day has a carb and sugar blowout eating whatever they want. I have personally tried this at least half a dozen times, and when I stayed on it, I felt starved during the week and sick on cheat day after having sugar, pizza and other processed food that my body wasn’t used to. And, of course there have been many times that I just cheated on it. With that said, I have some friends who swear by it and I suggest if it works for you, do it.
To explain what actually works for me, I refer to the actual definition of “diet,” which is:
“The foods eaten, as by a particular person or group.” [Source: Dictionary.com]
A diet is simply the food you choose to eat. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a fad or a overnight weight loss miracle plan.
Choosing to eat generally healthy, organic and fresh foods with the occasional treat here and there is a great way to maintain your weight and reap the rewards of your time spent at the gym. In my experience, the “cheat day” plan truly isn’t much of a lifestyle, and the one day junk food blowout tends to destroy any positive strides made during the week.
Try using this list of possibilities for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to get you started. It’s always nice to have options that will keep you happy and full while keeping the calories down.
Approved List of Foods
- Ezekiel Toast with Coconut Oil – For protein, add a tablespoon of organic peanut butter or almond butter.
- Organic Oatmeal – Top with nuts and berries, a tiny bit of raw honey with unsweetened almond milk.
- A Healthy Raw Power Superfood Shake – Add ¼ cup of the mix with 8 oz. almond milk, ice, a handful of spinach and blend. Optional: Use a frozen banana to sweeten it up a bit more.
- Eggs, veggie omelets, egg whites.
- Greek Yogurt – Add a spoonful of organic granola if you feel like it.
- Tuna wrap on whole wheat or in a whole grain wrap
- Tuna, steak or chicken salad
- Tuna salad sandwich on toasted Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
- Black bean burger with salsa over a bed of spinach and fresh veggies. (Stay away from the sour cream and cheese on this one.)
- If I’ve had real food for breakfast I will have a Herbalife Protein Shake for lunch with a handful of spinach.
- Any type of organic lean meat like steak or chicken.
- Any type of fresh fish like tilapia or salmon.
- Tons of veggies; any vegetable either grilled, steamed, roasted or raw. (Sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.)
- Brown rice or quinoa
Some of my favorite dinner options are things like zoodles (zucchini and squash noodles) with bolognese sauce, grilled chicken or steak with veggies, coconut curry chicken with veggies or pecan-crusted salmon.
Treats & Snack Choices
- Acai Bowls (frozen Acai blended with frozen berries and bananas and almond milk, topped with berries and a spoonful of granola)
- Herbalife Protein Shake (add a handful of spinach)
- A handful of organic dark chocolate covered raisins (eat sparingly)
- Dried fruit and nut mix
- The Raw Power Superfood Mix Shake (see above)
- Raw Power Superfood Mix cookies – mix one cup with 2 mashed bananas and a half-cup of shredded carrots. Cook for 10 minutes on 300F.
- Greek Yogurt (add a spoonful of granola)
- Veggies and hummus
- Fresh fruit (one cup)
See our blog on 10 Healthy Snack Ideas for more choices.
Stay away from bread, processed food, starchy items (like corn, potatoes, etc.), fast food (never) and sugar in large amounts. On this meal plan it is okay to have that one slice of pizza every so often, but if you eat a little junk food, do so sparingly and not on a daily basis. For example don’t eat dark chocolate covered raisins all day, every day.
A healthy diet is all about moderation and making lasting healthy lifestyle choices.