That word brings all kinds of negative thoughts to mind - cheating on a spouse, cheating on a test, etc. However, these are a few questions we are asked all the time: "Do you ever cheat?" "How often do you cheat?" "What do you eat when you cheat?"...
This post has been in "draft" status for over a year (no joke) but I decided to finish and post it after hearing from some of you about the photo we posted on Instagram. These are hard questions to answer because everyones version of "cheating" is different. Just like I mentioned in our "Getting Started with Clean Eating" post, everyone has a different view on what exactly constitutes "clean eating"...same goes for "cheating". We even get emails from readers that some of our ingredients are not clean enough!
So, I will say we don't "cheat". Let's use the word treat instead of cheat anyway. We eat clean meals 5-6 times per day, every 2-3 hours. We drink water. We workout 4-6 days per week. We do allow ourselves a few "treats" but normally save those for special events or vacations. Notice that I said "few", we don't let our treats turn into a week of fried chicken, cheeseburgers, french fries, and milkshakes. We just feel better when we eat clean food. Our body functions better. Our skin looks better.
We eat clean because it is good for our bodies. We also love the way we feel because of clean eating (along with weight lifting).
We don't keep "treats" (candy, chips, etc.) in our house. However, we also do not deprive ourselves, if we want a treat we eat one. Sometimes we eat the real thing (ice cream, pizza, etc) but still try to find the better alternative such as pizza from Whole Foods or Mellow Mushroom and ice cream made with real ingredients. Sometimes we even try to make the treat on our own (which is where many of our dessert/treat recipes came from). We have come up with some amazing clean(er) recipes that I actually prefer over the original! When we make clean treats I do not even consider those cheats but some people would. How can you go wrong with our cookie dough, oatmeal cinnamon raisin cookies, or our cinnamon rolls?
If we are on vacation or out to dinner and want something special we normally split whatever it is (cake, brownie, etc.) because restaurant dessert portions are huge (plus you save money)! We do not just eat a donut, ice cream, chips, etc. every time they are placed in front of us (which is pretty often in an office environment, unfortunately). We choose our treats wisely. It's easy to feel pressured into eating a treat just because co-workers or family members are giving you a hard time. If you want the treat that is fine but don't eat something just because someone else is pressuring you. We want to make sure that when we do treat ourselves that it's worth it! We aren't going to eat a piece of strawberry pie (which we don't even like) just because our great aunt made it or because it's sitting in front of us. We choose our treats and when we eat them.
I posted the picture above on our Instagram and Facebook but we don't always post pictures of our treat meals because we don't want people to think we eat that way all the time. There's a lot of "fitness accounts" out there that only post pictures of ice cream, pizza, and then their abs. We don't think that is realistic. We also don't want to trigger anyone who is just starting out. We still believe that it is important to refrain from too many treats when first starting just so that you can re-train your tastebuds and build up your willpower. How often we treat ourselves just depends on what is going on in our lives. Every single person will be different because of how our bodies react, our goals, etc. There is no right or wrong answer, you will just have to take time to find out what works for you!
This is our lifestyle. This is how we choose to live. This is how we choose to eat. We are not fitness models or fitness competitors. We do have a life. We do know balance. We hope you find it too.