Indulging without Regret: 10 tips for having your summer holiday cake and eating it too!

Guys, I’ve been the regretful over-indulger.
I’ve done the vacation mode of ‘kick back don’t think about what you’re eating’ and then kill yourself at the gym after a vacation with a diet of green juice.
But I’ve also been the restrictive holidayer who’s constantly thinking about not eating the ‘wrong’ things and saying no to everything.
And can I tell you? None of them work. At least not for me; because I like food. I like fun. I like indulging at fun family moments. And I hate regret and ‘making up for it’ after.
I’ve found there’s only really one way to have your cake and eat it without feeling bad about it after, and it’s LEARNING YOURSELF! You have to go on a journey of knowing what works for you.  But, in going on that journey, these are 10 things that have helped (and help) me establish patterns that let me eat cake, say no to what I don’t need, and feel great on holiday, and afterwards too!  (without the green juice ‘cleanse’ or extra hours at the gym.)

10 THINGS TO REMEMBER AS YOU CHOOSE HOW TO INDULGE!

1) You are powerful! You’ve got this!

I used to think I totally 100% didn’t have it.  It was just inevitable to feel overfed and in need of a cleanse after a holiday but you know, this journey begins in your mind.  You are not a victim of a summer holiday, the cocktail bar by the pool, or the incredible dessert menu. This is possible! Feeling over-fed and overweight are not inevitable by-products of a holiday time! You get to choose and do whatever ‘doing well’ is to you.

2) Don’t buy into the lie that you’re depriving yourself!

And don’t deprive yourself! That’s NOT the goal! This one’s important. Remember you’re doing this for you!! So when you make choices that lead there, it’s not deprivation, it’s you giving yourself what you actually want! (Sometimes ‘want’ in the moment, isn’t actually ‘want’ long term and a ‘no’ in the moment is always part of a bigger ‘yes’ to something else.  When you say ‘no’, remember what you are inherently saying ‘yes’ to – Saying ‘yes’ is waaaay easier than ‘no’!!)

3) Arm yourself!

For the things you want to avoid (that don’t make your feel your best and aren’t worth choosing as a premeditated indulgence), find substitutes that are still happy and have them on hand all the time!
For me this looks like clean treats, and good quality no sugar dark chocolate (90-100% dark or a homemade version).  It’s easy to say no to a junk-filled treat, or a more sugary one if I know I can go home to some organic raw chocolate, or whatever your thing is!

4) Join in the fun!

Don’t zone out from family fun, when you’re gathering with people make a dish that’s healthy and add it to the table, something you will enjoy but everyone can join in on!  If you’re joining others for a meal, suggest you bring a dish to add then bring a great seasonal side or dessert that’s delicious and clean for everyone to enjoy with you!
For me: I usually bring a loaded salad to a barbecue or July 4th type gathering, or I’ll offer to bring a clean dessert.  

5) Choose where you want to indulge

…then do it with freedom and joy! Know what you’re aiming for.  You need to indulge, but just make it a conscious choice! Think about how you want to feel post vacation, think about the plane ride home, or the first gum trip after… then work out what a real true indulgence is and what’s just not worth the moment of fun.  Portion off what you’ve decided to eat and put it on a plate and enjoy every. single. mouthful!
For me this trip: I know there are a few meals where we’re eating out at places I’m longing to go to… and Jared and I are spending 3 days in Paris. So I’ll definitely be having some extra butter in those moment! But then when the family goes out for pizza I’ll get a salad with fish, or when there’s ice cream I’ll probably have a square of 100% dark choice instead, and when there’s fresh spelt bread on the table every lunch time, I won’t have it every day! But coffee, I’ll go decaf (pregnancy!) and then basically have as much as I want! I choose what’s truly worth it and then LOVE IT! 

6) Eat lots of protein.

And hydrate well.  For me, this is the thing that helps stop the unneeded sugar cravings.  That makes it easier to truly choose my treats without succumbing to a craving moment. Green juice is another thing that helps people get over the cravings too.
For me: I always make sure I load up on protein and good fats at breakfast (and at every meal) but starting the day right counts! Usually eggs and avocado or some olive oil sundried tomato tapenade, or sautéed kale with avocado oil, or a smoothie bowl that’s low in fruit and full of nut butter and veggies!  

7) Practice saying no.

So many times we feel guilty saying no and it becomes an excuse to say yes.  99% of the time, it’s fine to say no without judging other people’s choices.  Practice that little word – it’s worth it! Sometimes making a good choice makes the people around us feel guilty, but you still get to make the choice you want, and don’t make a song and dance about it, just don’t judge anyone else’s choices, and say a simple no thanks.

8) Find your reason.

Take a moment and workout out how you want to feel after the vacation/event and reflect on why it’s not worth totally ‘giving up’ on being healthy! What’s your reason? Then write it down!! Put it in your pocket, in your purse or on your phone! It’s way easier to be motivated if you have a great reason and you keep it close!  I don’t actually need to do this anymore, my reasons are ingrained in me and I know my body so well to know what works and what’s worth it but it can really help if you find it hard or are trying to start being more mindful.

9) Eat often!

Don’t starve yourself and ‘save’ the calories. It never really works.  It’s tempting to plan for a fun dinner out or a party in the evening by skipping lunch or an afternoon snack so you can eat more at the party and still not over do it.  But really, who succeeds when they walk into the dessert laden room on an empty stomach with low blood sugar? Exactly.  Instead, eat small meals often, and eat before the party! Keep yourself steady and your blood sugar stable so that you’re not driven by your body and you retain the power to choose what you want to eat and where you want to say no!
For me: I won’t be starving myself pre Paris no no. It doesn’t work.  I’ll be choosing to be indulgent over Paris so I won’t be for the days surrounding it but I don’t mean not eating or feeling deprived, I mean eating good, full balanced meals but not closing them out with ice cream.  And I mean eating a little 100% dark chocolate instead of a lot of the usual holiday 75%! 

10) Celebrate yourself and have grace for yourself!!

If you’re even trying you’re doing well! Don’t give up on the day because you made one choice you regret. I used to be that person – it was all or nothing, perfect self control or giving in completely.  Instead, learn to forgive yourself and pick up and move on.  A good choice is always a good choice, no matter what happened before it.  Celebrate the good choices you’re making and remind yourself… you are amazing!!