Sometimes You Just Want to Eat a Bunch of Fried Food and Sugar, Okay?

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I feel like a need to clarify some things.

In retrospect, my last post made it sound like I follow some sort of super-strict, highly regimented diet with pretty much no room for error. My housemate, who works at my favorite bakery, read the post and decided not to bring home treats after work out of fear of tempting me. I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

Yes, I monitor my nutrition pretty carefully. Most of the time. I say most of the time because I love me some junk food. I cannot look at a doughnut or cinnamon roll without eating it. I will inhale a burger or, like, eight slices of pizza. I can’t buy chocolate ice cream for the house because I’ll eat the entire tub in a sitting.

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I’m very flexible with my diet. I generally stick to my calorie limit and macronutrient amounts, but I give myself some leeway. If I go out and drink three beers and eat funnel cake fries and waffle fries and fried macaroni bites and cookies and chocolate cake–like I did last night, for a friend’s birthday–I don’t beat myself up over it. I figure I’m sticking to my diet plan most of the time, and as long as I’m trending in the right direction, it’s fine. I’m trying to be generally healthy, not compete in a bodybuilding competition.

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There are diet philosophies that specifically make room for indulgences. The 85/15 approach means eating 85% of your daily or weekly calories from nutritious foods, and 15% from whatever you like. The flexible dieting (or “if it fits your macros”) approach means you can eat whatever you want, as long as you hit your daily calorie and macronutrient goals.

But I wasn’t following either of these last night. I have zero idea how many calories I ate. I don’t know how many grams of carbs or protein or fat are in a dinosaur-shaped fried mac and cheese bite (or, you know, a dozen dinosaur-shaped fried mac and cheese bites).

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And that’s really okay. So much talk surrounding health and fitness is about imposing rules and sticking to them. It’s like the only way to live a healthier life is through unbending discipline. I’ve even seen articles recently about how to best implement or not go overboard with cheat meals. But they’re called cheat meals for a reason! You shouldn’t have to think about if you’re doing it right, because you’re intentionally doing it wrong. That’s the point.

An evening of indulgence here and there isn’t going to ruin my weight loss plan. It won’t ruin anyone’s plan. If anything, having cheat meals helps me stick to my plan, because I know I’m not depriving myself of anything.

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