Is It Healthy To Always Eat Healthy?

Oct 31, 2011 by

Is It Good To Eat Healthy All Time

 

I’ve been contemplating to write on this topic for quite some time now. There are a lot of mixed opinions out there about this topic, – eating healthy all the time without taking a break. Some people believe that it is NOT OK to give your self a break and give into some not so healthy food choices, because it can create further cravings and mess up their goals. I would like to share some of my own opinions and experiences with always eating healthy without taking a break.


Let’s start off by saying, I am a natural born freak of healthy food. I’ve been this way since I can remember. But over the past year and a half or so I’ve noticed my self going a bit extreme when it comes to eating right all the time. I thought the more I eat this way, the more my mind and body will get use to this way of eating and I will never want to eat any other type of food. And for a while this was true, it started to become very natural and I stopped thinking about my Nutella and cake frosting eating days. I felt great all the time and even if there was a little bit of temptation and I wanted to take a little break, I kept my will power strong and said NO. I worked out 5 days a week on point, and I ate tons of veggies, lean meat and protein shakes, ( and of course fruit and natural peanut butter but that I am never giving up :P, but it’s not junk food anyway ).

The funny thing about all this, is that my husband noticed that I was going all freakish for a while and he told me to be careful and that it is going to back fire on me if I don’t slow down. I didn’t listen of course because I wasn’t’ even craving junk food, what can possible happen?

Time went by, I got into a pretty good shape and my body fat percentage was very low, I became extremely lean ( which was probably a bit too much ), I wasn’t trying to achieve that look, it just happened because I was eating so well and exercising so much.

I stayed disciplined for month’s.  And then one morning it just  hit me. I didn’t know where it came from, one morning I just woke up and I felt possessed, I was craving sugar. And it wasn’t one of those I am craving a little sugar kind of things, it was like give me a whole cake right now or I will strangle something, LOL.

I ignored that craving completely, and I though my mind was just playing tricks on my. I stayed focused, by doing everything possible to distract my self from thinking about cake frosting. Then I found my self mindlessly eating foods that I normally don’t eat, like peanuts ( I always loved peanut butter, but I always hated peanuts, don’t ask why ). But here I was eating peanuts, bags and bags of peanuts. I just kept going back to the store buying those big bags of peanuts that you have to peel and eating them obsessively.

I felt hungry all the time, and all I wanted to do was not work out, and just eat peanuts ( this never happened to me before, because I love working out ). Then even worst cravings started to attack me, the craving for cake frosting was growing by the minute. I kept suppressing them over and over until I became obsessed, I even saw my self eating cake in my dreams ( how sick is this ).

This was a person I didn’t recognize. I felt like a cake maniac. So eventually I had to go and buy my self a cinnamon roll with frosting and the worst part was that I settled for one of those convenient stores cinnamon rolls ( those are pretty gross, but if you are desperate they seem like the best thing in the world ).

I wanted to slap my self, I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I would wake up in the middle of the night wanting cake frosting, and it made me feel guilty.

My husband said ” I told you so! “. You need a break from eating healthy, you have to always give your self a break even if you might not think that you want one or need one. Sooner or later it will catch up to you, and when it does you will eat a lot more than you would of if you did take that break.

As much as I tried to fight it, it did caught up to me, at first I just resisted and tried to clean up my diet even more, and it worked for 2 weeks, but then I just started to get depresses and miserable, so I just said ” what da heck, I don’t want to torture my self like this. If my body is craving this, I will give into those cravings with peace, because I knew it was the only way for them to go away “.

Now don’t get me wrong, giving in to your cravings doesn’t mean you can run free and enjoy a box of crispy creme doughnuts every day. But what I did was just eat all the nuts I craved and a cinnamon roll ( I can’t eat more than one anyway ), or a chocolate chip cookie if I craved it.

After two weeks ( it was a good run 😉 ) I felt sick of cinnamon rolls, peanuts and cookies. I was starting to miss my spinach smoothies again.  I got back on track and it wasn’t very hard, because I let my self have what I felt like I really needed, and once I got it out of my system I was able to stabilize my self really fast, and I took away a great lesson.

So the conclusion to all of this long spill is this: Don’t obsess with eating healthy all the time, give your body and mind a break.  You don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t always eat a super clean diet, in the long run it will create a much healthier outcome as well as much healthier relationship with food.

 

What do you think?  What are your experiences with food cravings?

 
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  • I read somewhere that after a week of clean eating the level of leptin falls very low which eventually results in huge cravings and slowdown of metabolism, therefore to keep your level of burning fat high and to avoid cravings, once a week you may allow yourself to cheat. It doesn’t imply uncontrolled overeating, but for ex., a piece of cake or a slice of pizza is possible, etc. I’m not a doctor, so I cannot say if it’s true for everyone, but for me it works to contol my sweettooth. My cheat time falls on morning when metabolism is on top. It helps me a lot to avoid stress and to maintain weight loss.

    • I’m going to try the morning cheat idea, I like that :). Thank you for your input.

  • I have heard the same thing as Tatyana and, in fact, allow myself a cheat meal every so often. I think you need it, otherwise, as you found out, the cravings can pop up unexpectedly and get overwhelming.

    • I’m glad I learned my lesson, I definitely give inn to my cravings now when I really feel like I have to.

  • I always experienced this, after a week of drinking green smoothies laced with protein, small portion sizes packed with veggies by the end of the week, I would always crave a less restrictive meal plan, and I would”mess up” nothing major but enough for me to berate myself.  Now I build in small pieces of dark chocolate into my life and make sure I never get too stringent and lose sight of the fact that this is a life journey and must be enjoyable not  depressing.

  • Also Tatiana what do you do about all the contradicting info?  There are articles out there that talk about how bad agave nectar is for you, and how destructive the phytoestrogens in unfermented soy can be to your body, but everyone is pushing agave and soy these days.  i personally feel overwhelmed by the back and forth, what about you?

    • I feel exactly the same way. When I hear contradicting info I try to understand it and do my research, in the end I don’t always listen to everything. If something reasons with me and it feel like the right thing I follow it. I take bits and pieces from everywhere and apply only what works for me.

      When it comes to foods you have to listen to your own body. When you eat a certain food how does it makes you feel? For example, when If I drink cow’s milk, my stomach hurts, it’s my body’s way of telling me, I don’t like this. The same goes for artificial sugars, years ago when I didn’t know about the dangers of artificial sugars I ate sugar free things, but they always made me feel sick, the body is never wrong.

      About soy milk and agave nectar. This is what I think: If it’s organic soy milk then I don’t see harm in drinking it because I know it has no pesticides. But I don’t personally drink it because it raises Estrogen levels and makes it a bit harder to build muscle, after doing my research It resonated with me so I choose not to drink it.

      As for Agave Nectar, depending on how it’s derived and if it’s organic, I personally don’t think its as toxic as processed sugar, but I also think Raw Honey is a much better choice. So pretty much the best thing to do before you chose to eat something or not, is to really do your research and then make the choice that will be the best for you.

      • That is such a good answer, I am personally lactose intolerant and drank soy for a good while even using a soy protein powder,  I didn’t do my research and assumed if it was being sold it was all right(stupid in retrospect).  I got agave for my tea, and afterwards though to research it and all this alarming info came up but in the end I think i will keep it.  I am so fed up with the what’s good for you argument, and the hundred thousand experts out there so i think i will follow you on focusing on how I react to foods.

        • It always the best way, cause our body never lies to us. I’ve learned this a while ago and it stuck with me ever since.

  • I heard too much exercise can cause sugar cravings, that’s why it’s good to reward your self once in a while especially if you are really craving it.

    I am a big fruit person my self, I get all of my sugar from fruits, but I still somehow got those insane cravings for processed sugar.

  • l-p-r

    Hi:  I lost track of my bad habits; cravings for eating cheap foods is my downfall…  🙁   

    Eating is a form of mind control…  🙂 

      How to Make Peanut Brittle  …peanuts are a healthy food   🙂     Peanuts are a good source of niacin, and
    thus contribute to brain health and blood flow.  

    While peanuts are nutritional and delicious as an everyday food, during
    expeditions on foot into the wilderness, especially regions of sub-zero
    temperatures like the South and North Poles, having peanuts has been the
    deciding factor between life and death. After learning from the mistakes of
    other adventurers, especially the tragically ill-prepared Discovery and
    Terra Nova expeditions to the South Pole lead by Captain Robert Falcon
    Scott and Captain Oates from 1901 to 1912 (during which the majority of the
    expedition died), where starvation and lack of the proper amount of calories
    needed to keep from freezing were a constant danger, adventurers had to decide
    on a type of food that was dense, portable, high in protein and calories and
    could be eaten at any time without preparation. Subsequent expeditions thus
    settled on peanut butter as the ideal foodstuff, freeing explorers from the
    transport and kindling of cooking fuel (a near-impossibility in the frigid polar
    winds), and high enough in protein and calories to fuel the party and keep them
    from freezing to death in the harsh weather and freezing nighttime temperatures.
    Peanut butter was further favored for speed and ease of use because it could be
    eaten while walking if necessary.  sourced:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut 

    • I mainly love the peanut butter ( organic crunchy one 🙂 ), but lately I have been loving those bags that you have to peel, before I never ate regular peanuts.

  • I do believe that when it comes to being healthy discipline and consistency are key. You can binge/cheat sometimes but as long as you don’t throw everything out of the window!

    Peace
    Mike
    http://www.theironyou.com

  • Paulajaniak

    It may be funny but I had super clean diet rutin for over two month,and what happened this week,I eat like crazy what after all make my ill,so the conclusion is as you mentioned eat healthily but let your self to cheat a little;-}

    • Yes, it is also good to cheat a little, cause we are human after all 🙂

  • Mariasole Verdi

    mee too when i deprive myself of a certain food my body start screaming for more!:-) lol. that s why i eat a little bit of anything. ciaoo thank you tatianna for those helpful topics!

    • :), yes a little of every this is what I like as well 🙂

  • sus

    I woke up on Sunday craving cinnamon rolls and gave in to the grocery store ones…but when I crave something sweet, it is usually always peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Totally agree with this. I never craved sweets until I started eating clean though.  

    • I think it’s because your body could feel the changes and it still remember the old habits.  But it does go away with time, I’m at a point where all I crave is salads and fruit.  But of course I have those day where if I don’t have a chocolate someone might get hurt, LOL.

  • KirryKaatje

    A very good article. Food for the mind, I’d like to say. 🙂

    My boyfriend told me the same: “Don’t be so strict on yourself all the time. I know you want to eat healthy 24/7, but you have to find a balance, else you will end up having a complex relationship with food. Then you’re eating healthy, but your relationship with food will become unhealthy.” So, that got me thinking and he is right. I’d rather have a healthy body AND mind, than a healthy body and an eating problem, because that’s something you might face quite easily when getting obsessed about food and getting lean. Enjoy your life, your body, your health (body&mind) and eat a darn cookie or a huge piece of pie onces in a while. :))

    • Yep, I am all for a huge piece of pie :), I love to eat.  I’ve never really liked junk food or anything, except my nutella days, but I just love peanut butter and raw cashews, my weakness :). 

  • midimidi

    this is so funny to me.  I have myself there for sure, where I could eat a whole box of cereal- if I avoid sugar too much for too long my sweet tooth suddenly becomes a fang.  I think back in the day…way back, like cave men days, would the cavemen find a bee hive and would they just take one bite? NO, they would gorge themselves on it until they got sick and then after a bad stomach ache the cave men would go back to the leaner days of eating.  I actually think these splurges every few months are good for us and our metabolism,that’s why it’s important to plan them out in advance and when we have a craving give in and move on.  the 80/20 rule do good 80 percent of the time and 20 percent is just life.
    It also has something to do with homeostasis in your body.  maybe you were getting too lean and your body was like, “yeah i appreciate the effort but all this leanness is really making me nervous….what if you run out of spinach? I will make you eat!  ” and you started craving stuff. 

    • Midi, you are so funny ” yeah i appreciate the effort but all this leanness is really making me nervous….what if you run out of spinach? I will make you eat! ” and you started craving stuff. ”

      I laughed for a while :)))

    • marienchenkaefer

      😀 midmidi I love your thoughts on this and totally agree. For a while our body absolutely agrees with us that healthy food will support it .. but at some point we need to mix it up. The same way we cannot stay with the same sports/training. As pretty much always balance and the happy medium are the way to go and keep in mind discipline is not everything, but will stress our bodies (and probably our minds) out.
      Thank you Tati for sharing! I think it takes away a lot of life quality if you stop to enjoy food even if it is not always the perfect food one is eating. Once you start sort of forcing yourself to live healthy you step on a dangerous path.. Guess it is always good to listen to our bodies whether it wants something totally unhealthy or just rest.

  • steffi_dk

    I´m so thankful for this article! I tried to eat 100% clean and I really got obsessed about food. I thought “You´re working out that hard, don´t spoil the results with bad eating habits”. It didn´t work well for me. I started binging, gained a lot of weight, which really was frustrating, because people started to tease me for my weightgain while I was working out like crazy. That led to Bulimia and I thought about food all the time and used it to deal with negative emotions. I binged on healthy food most of the time which led to money problems and I just didn´t get, why I have such a lack of disciplin when it comes to food. I just found the explanation:-)
    Lately I do pretty good, have a treat here and then and will surely keep doing that after reading this! I still have to work on my portion sizes, I always eat too much when I´m tired, but I guess, I can learn to enjoy all kinds of food without overdoing it. Thank you so much!!!

    • I am so happy that this article was helpful to you. I struggled with all same things as well, finally in my life I came to this balance, and that is the key to always maintaining the weight. Before I was so obsessed with eating healthy all the time. Now I allow my self something naughty almost every day ( I never take skin of my chicken, I just refuse to cause it’s way too good ).

  • Jodie

    Great post. This is so true. I always say if you
    Listen to your body it will let you know what it needs.
    When I don’t obsess I eat better and I feel better.
    Thanks

  • Ysatis

    I could never eat clean 100% of the time. I love cooking and baking too much. I am learning more about cooking clean, always trying new recipes but from time to time I will bake a cake or eat chips. What’s important is avoiding binge eating and when I eat something rich in fat and sugar eat it in moderation.