Healthy eating: Cheats and blowouts
You don’t want them to happen but they will. You work very hard every single day to maintain good nutritional and dietary discipline and yet there will be those days when a cheat can’t be avoided. For example just the other day I had a friend invite me to join him at a really good coffee shop, nothing like Starbucks. While there he ordered a truly amazing bagel with cream cheese, dill and capers. He insisted I try some and how could I refuse?
Glad I didn’t because it was sensational but it was way off my typical diet and then it got worse, much worse. A client called and asked that I meet him at Porto’s Bakery, unquestionably one of the finest bakeries on Earth. Well clients help pay the rent so to speak so I had no choice but to meet him there. I was actually able to not consume any of the amazing pastries but I did have a killer sandwich which cemented that day as a cheat day.
Cheat days are unavoidable and not bad so long as you can limit them to no more than one every ten days or so. That I can do and so must you if you want to lose weight or maintain your currently health weight. And let’s face it cheat days are kind of fun and a reward to yourself for otherwise maintaining good diet discipline. But then there are blowouts.
The most well known and in America at least the most widely practiced day for a total food blowout has to be Thanksgiving. Friends and family gather around and consume astounding amounts of food. Yes there is that turkey along with the delicious stuffing and those mashed potatoes just dripping with butter. Commonly there will also be some amazing yams covered with butter and brown sugar and some hot dinner rolls.
There can even be a few vegetables just so everyone can delude themselves into thinking they are eating healthy. And all of this is typically washed down with free flowing wine. Once all of that has been consumed we move onto the fantastic desserts. There will likely be a pumpkin pie paired with one or more scoops of ice cream and topped with whipped cream. Other dessert items may well also appear, things such as blueberry pie, I mean blueberries are a great fruit right. And there may well be a cake or even a pudding to fill in any possibility of a gap. And don’t forget the coffee with cream and sugar and all of that is often topped off with a nice generous snifter of cognac. Bam! One delectable 10,000-calorie blowout. But here is what you need to know.
Blowout days generally are and must be rare; not more than three a year. Thanksgiving is a given, but the others can be perhaps your birthday or a wedding anniversary or frequently a Christmas meal following on the heels of Thanksgiving which may well explain why so many folks gain weight in the winter. But if it is only once, twice or at the very most three times a year blowouts are okay. But beyond that once you have developed a strong diet discipline what you will discover is that you just can’t do it like you used to even if you try.
My typical Thanksgiving meal once upon a time was one drumstick, a big thick slice of turkey breast, all covered with gravy and accompanied with generous portions of stuffing and mashed potatoes and perhaps a wee bit of some vegetable matter so I could delude myself into thinking I was eating healthy. All of that would be followed by at least one slice of pumpkin pie a la mode washed down with wine and followed up with the cognac. Then it was turn on the game and nod off.
Over the last several years that has changed not so much by conscious choice but as a result of my dietary discipline throughout the year. Now the best I can do is maybe half a drumstick with a couple spoons of dressing and mashed potato with a light sprinkling of gravy and yes one slice of pie minus the ice cream. That’s it, I simply cannot force any more down my throat and frankly that makes me happy and I promise once you have developed your dietary discipline it will make you very happy as well.
It is still great food; you will simply be very satisfied with much less of it. You will be even happier when you discover that you can still fit into you summer clothes in January.
Cheats and blowouts will always be there, but they will not hurt you once you have developed that essential diet discipline.
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Top photo: Thanksgiving turkey (Tim Forkes)
Photos by Ron Irwin
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.