Of course with every change comes some draw backs, so now you avoid the break room because you are pretty sure you will be tempted by the donuts. And you do great, weeks go by and you stick to your “diet” and your programmed “cheat” meals. However, after some time, your friends will badger you a bit more into having dessert with them after a dining out experience (which you totally rocked and had a something that complied with your “diet”), and a co-worker acts a bit hurt that you aren’t joining in on their birthday celebration by having a cupcake. You try to be nice and explain that you just can’t today (it’s not a cheat meal). But unlike before in the beginning, they push even harder, “Live a little,” they say. “It’s about balance,” they attempt to hand you the cupcake. You take the cupcake but when they aren’t looking you set it down and return to your desk with a silent cheer that you didn’t eat it.
As you sit there you think, “It’s about balance”. And slowly, over time, you allow yourself the office birthday cupcakes and the desserts out with friends and maybe that’s not so bad. But then you start seeing soda pop back in your refrigerator, and boxes of cookies in your pantry and it’s not a “cheat” meal anymore, it’s more of a “cheat” week. And you think to yourself, “How did I end up back here? I was doing so well. I did 30 days of no ‘cheats’ and now I can’t do a day.” And to you I say, “Balance is what happened.” (And don’t get me wrong, I have been where you stand today)
The definition of balance is the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling. Now, to me that means we have a sort of equilibrium going on, where one right can correct one wrong. But you know from your experience of reading about clean eating lifestyle, that nowhere did anyone mention if you have a piece of fruit, go ahead and have a piece of candy. So this so called balancing act, does it apply to your clean eating lifestyle?
My answer is no. Now before you get upset and close this page, hear me out. I do believe in “cheat” meals because, hell, at least once a year it’s your birthday and if you want cake you should have cake. I do not believe that “It’s about balance”. And yes I am more of an extremist but hey, whatever.
Let us replace the cake versus your clean eating meal with two friends. Now, friends as much as food can and do affect your health and well-being (this is why I think this replacement is good). So Friend A though there for you, tends to make fun of what you are doing, maybe just down playing your success. Friend A always tells you what you are doing wrong, never what you are doing right. Friend B is a good friend, but they tend to be more physically absent, however, when you need life advice, Friend B always has the answer. Friend B takes a true interest in your life and what’s going on in it.
Now, after a bit of evaluation, you find these facts to be true about Friend A and Friend B. You decide that it would be better for your well-being that you cut out Friend A. They are a negative impact on your life. Yes, it will be hard to cut them out at first but after a while you find yourself calling others when you need someone to be there, and low and behold, they are there. Before you know it, five years have passed and you have not even thought of Friend A.
As adults, we have all been in this situation. We have made a concerted effort to cut a friend out of our lives because it’s better for us. When you do this, is there anyone saying, “It’s about balance”? As long as you have Friend B to offset Friends A’s misbehavior, it’s ok to have Friend A? Friend A in moderation is just as healthy for you as having no Friend A? No, no one is saying that, why? Because it’s not true. So why, when we replace Friend A with cake/desserts/soda pop/all the things that we don’t want in our clean eating, we accept that “balance” is ok. We know from experience that it doesn’t work that way. If you want to have a clean eating lifestyle, there is no room for the “balance” of junk (Yes the programmed “cheat” meal is good, necessary even). However, don’t get sucked into the idea of “balance” for your clean eating lifestyle, because believe me, one donut a week easily turns into one donut a day.
I know this is a bit long winded, but I just want to make sure you know that within your clean eating lifestyle, there will be hiccups and there will be pressure from the outside to not eat the way you think you want to eat. But remember, we have all had hiccups and sometimes the best thing is to start over at Day 1.