Okay, first thing’s first. I know you don’t like the word “cheat” because it infers that we are somehow doing something “bad” and I actually agree.
To me, eating certain foods are not “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong,”—it’s all about discernment, balance, mindfulness and of course, #moderation365.
But, with all that said, a) I believe a word only has the power that we give it and b) a “preemptive cheat” is actually the opposite of a cheat in the traditional sense.
A preemptive cheat is a food that you strategically place into your eating days/weeks to help take the edge off feelings of deprivation and to curb the urge to binge. These are not what we’d consider full-blown junk, but foods that maybe you’d not see prominently placed on most traditional fat loss meal plans.
But here’s the thing.
We KNOW that deprivation leads to overindulgence. Small deprivations might lead to small overindulgences, whether this weekend, next week or next month. And larger deprivations, such as when we follow a strict diet for weeks and months, lead to larger binges and yo-yo dieting.
I’ll never forget the 15 lbs I put back on WITHIN 2 WEEKS after my first show. I’d like to say it was because of “hormones” (later that was more the case), but it was actually just because my physiology was so depleted and my psychology was so deprived that I just ate everything in sight. I was eating things I didn’t even like or want!
That’s the trouble with deprivation and putting foods on a do-not-eat list. We end up wanting them regardless of if we even like them—even when those exact foods might have been available to us months prior.
Discipline is smart. Deprivation is silly.
And preemptive cheats are the tactical solution that I use to help people overcome feelings of deprivation earlier, so that later this week or next week, the compulsion to binge is stunted.
I speak to women daily who complain of obsessive thoughts around food, deprivation practices and incessant dieting, but feel helpless to do anything else. So many of us have tried diet after diet that left to our own devices we don’t even know how to eat normally anymore.
So, in the free training I am going to be breaking down how we got here, and how we can begin to UNLEARN old habits to make space for normalcy, balance—and despite your fear it will happen—how to NOT gain that 50 lbs you’re scared you will if you loosen up on the reigns.
At its core, dieting is about control.
I know because I did it, for a long time. Dieting feels organized. Like, having a plan keeps us safe. But unfortunately, when we train ourselves to only follow rules, it leaves very little space to learn our own bodies and how to recognize feelings of hunger, cravings, energy fluctuations and more.
If you are ready to courageously dip your toes into a new way of doing things with your eating—a more balanced and less obsessive way—then sign up for the workshop, it’s free!
Yes, I’ll be sending out the recording after the fact, but you still have to register to get it!
Now … the preemptive cheats I am currently loving:
1) Charcuterie (fancy way of saying cheese + meats)
This is not part of a typical fat loss dieting plan, but to me, things like cheese, breakfast meats, cured meats like pepperonis and even weird shit like hotdogs and sausages, are some of my fav ways to take the edge off cravings. These things are typically high-fat, so yes, overdoing them can be an issue, but with #moderation365, we are practicing mindfulness. Meaning, when I am eating these things, I notice they taste rich and satisfying, which in turn helps me to not devour them. A little cheese on a salad, a few strips of bacon with breakfast, a little pepperoni stick as a snack.
I’m currently loving Matt’s Select Pepperoni Snack Sticks (Whole Foods) and regular ol’ sliced parmesan, even parmesan chips (just baked parm) in the 365 brand at Whole Foods. Yum!
2) Beverages: Craving Cocoa, La Croix and Zevia
I drink a few La Croix (sparking water) a day, and Zevia (stevia-sweetened cola) whenever I feel like a sweet. These things are definitely NOT unhealthy, but they *are* processed, and ask any typical fat loss coach and they will tell you not to overdo them. Craving Cocoa is legit 30 cals though, and tastes just like Swiss Miss hot chocolate. Honestly, I am also not even against a Diet Coke every once in a while though I think fake sodas can mess with your GI system, so watch it. But most do fine on a couple a week. No issues. These things help curb cravings for most people, and for others it may increase cravings over time. You’ll need to watch and evaluate your own response.
Alcohol is not healthy. It’s literally a poison to the body, and we of course need to consider liver implications and consider that when alcohol is overdone, it lowers inhibitions (duh) and we’re more likely to eat more junk food. So, for me, the sweet spot is 1-2 glasses. And I’d do this up to 4 nights a week. Again, not because I am trying to discipline myself, but because I know that having a glass of delicious wine helps take the edge off cravings and the desire to eat more and worse crap later. I don’t recommend people drink alcohol as a health behavior. And if you don’t drink, I certainly don’t advocate you start. But, for those of us who enjoy it, having a glass a few nights a week positioned as nutritional relief is not going to kill our results, nor is it going to add pounds. Be sure to read THIS ARTICLE to see if you are a good candidate to be drinking alcohol ;)
4) Enlightened Ice Cream Bars (or Halo Top)
We’ve come a long way, baby! Remember Skinny Cows?? I think they still exist, but when low-fat was all the rage, we’d pop these things like we were gonna lose weight the more we ate! Ha! But recently, some natural options have popped up on my radar, many of which incorporate more whey protein and are sweetened with stevia, erythritol and other natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols. I like the Enlightened bars (I get them at Whole Foods, but I think you can find them at non-natural grocers too) because they help us regulate portion control (they’re 80-100 cals each) and they’re freaking delicious. I will normally have one after dinner if I am not doing wine. I don’t mix-and-match preemptive cheats so this provides me some enjoyment and satisfaction on nights I’m not drinking.
5) Protein Bars
Protein bars are not what I would consider unhealthy, but I love to use them strategically to take the edge of cravings because let’s face it, some really do taste like candy bars. I normally use the Metabolic Effect Label Rule to choose a bar that has enough protein without a ton of sugar. In the same vein, I like other “convenience junk foods” like Lenny & Larry’s brownies and Quest’s new cookies. Some of the bars I am digging right now are Quest (both regular and Hero bars), Oatmega, Square Bars and NuGo protein bars. And I will typically eat them in halves or thirds. Not because I’m being neurotic, but because I like having a little taste of sweet after each meal, so I’ll break them up and have a bite or two throughout the day. I do Intermittent Sampling as a practice in mindfulness. You can read about it here.
And finally, as you know, I do not cook.
So I often get take-out (of the healthy variety, like salads and lean protein/veggies) or the salad bar at Whole Foods or protein bars and shakes, or even fast ready-made stuff like string cheese, parmesan crackers, nuts, etc. Which is why this list includes mostly convenience items.
I’d never recommend people NOT cook (only if that works with your lifestyle) as cooking is certainly healthier, but I’ve noticed that this way of eating is more delicious (marinades, dressings, condiments, sodium, etc.) so I don’t have to eat as large a VOLUME of food. Besides, we can hand richness or volume, but not both. Up to you! Personal preferences and psychological sensitivities!