Several years ago I read a book called Body for Life by Bill Phillips, a well-known body builder and fitness expert. His workout routine and his food plan are very effective. He designed the plan as not just a weight loss plan, but a plan to adopt for life. His food plan stresses the importance of balanced nutrition and eating five or six small meals a day. One of my favorite aspects of his food plan is that he suggests that you allow one day each week for eating anything you want. Practice discipline for six days every week, and on the seventh day, go crazy! Of course, you’ve got to exercise too.
I followed this plan for several years, and was pleased with my success. Sunday was usually my cheat day and I loved to indulge in queso and chips at Taco Mac for lunch, a large bowl of ice cream on Sunday afternoon, and maybe two or three bowls of Cap’n Crunch Berries on Sunday night. I was amazed that I could have all this on Sunday and maintain my weight and waistline. Of course, I worked out hard six days a week and was very strict with my diet Monday through Saturday.
As time passed, my cheat days expanded to Saturday and Sunday. Then I began indulging on Friday evenings as well, and it didn’t take long to derail my progress. It became easy to say, “Oh well, I’ll get back on track Monday.”
For the past twelve weeks, I’ve followed a new program designed by Jamie Eason called “Live Fit Trainer.” It’s a challenging exercise regimen, but that’s what I love to do. Her plan stresses the importance of “clean eating”, and she has some great recipes to follow. I’ll complete the program tomorrow, and I’m very pleased with my results. Her food plan is similar to the Body for Life plan, but she doesn’t encourage cheat days or cheat meals at all. Instead, her philosophy is to let life happen and be prepared. As often as possible, have a healthful snack available as an alternative to junk food. Don’t plan to cheat, but realize there may be occasions when you allow yourself to indulge. My indulgences usually occur when our small group meets for dinner and Bible study, or our dinner group gets together. I can usually select the items in the meal that fit into my eating plan, but if not, I don’t sweat it. I realize that one meal isn’t going to derail my progress, so I just enjoy it and get right back on track the next meal.
I find it interesting that my cravings for foods that aren’t healthful have waned, and I actually prefer to eat the foods that I know are good for me. Planning to cheat created a path to slip back into old habits. Making provisions for success gives me an alternative to the old habits. I still enjoy a few of Cheri’s cookies now and then, but the sooner I get back on the path to success, the easier it is to resist further indulgence. I no longer plan to cheat. I prefer to plan for success!