How to decide when to “Treat Yoself”

 

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Treats. This is one of the biggest topics of discussion that people bring up with me. How do you decide when to indulge in the cake at the birthday party? Or what about those late night cravings?? Or if I’m in the grocery store and I just can’t get past the checkout without grabbing a [insert fave candy here].

I know, it’s tough. I am certainly not immune to these cravings. If you know me, you know I love my dark chocolate ALMOST as much as I love my husband (I said almost)!

I’ve recently picked up a new philosophy about the “treat yoself” trend though and I’m ready to share it with you. One of my favorite books I’ve read about food is “French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure” by Mireille Guilano.  I don’t agree with everything she says in this book, but I do agree with a lot of her perspective and mindset about food and our relationship with it.

I took French all throughout high school and for two years in college. I’ve always been obsessed with the language and culture and food and everything about France, so this was a super fun read for me, combining my love for all things French and Food.

I think my main takeaway from the book was that eating should be a positive, wonderful experience, and there should be no feelings of guilt or shame attached to it.

In short, her story is that she lived in the US as an exchange student in high school, gained about 20 pounds while she was here, then continued to gain after she went home to France.

Through some self reflection and help from someone she refers to as “Dr. Miracle,” she learned that there were two reasons she was gaining weight.

  1. We have lower quality and higher quantities of food here in the US.
  2.  We have bad habits attached to food that she picked up and took home with her.

Some of the bad habits she picked up here were standing while eating, eating on the go, and eating food whenever it was available (worst offenders being “treats” like brownies, bagels, chips, etc). Most of what we consume here is processed junk food, whereas in France, most of their food is fresh, seasonal, whole foods.

Donut eyes

Okay, but the MAIN thing I want to focus on is treats. WHEN DO WE TREAT OURSELVES?!

She said one thing that really resonated with me: “Treats should be “blissfully intoxicating in small doses.”

Think about this for a moment. If we are eating cookies and chocolate and candy and cupcakes and ice cream every single day, it no longer feels like a treat. Our bodies expect it and we just get used to it becoming a part of our daily lives.

Instead, if we treat them like, well, TREATS, they will feel blissfully intoxicating, and we will be satisfied by only small doses every once in awhile. We won’t have any feelings of guilt or shame tied to eating, and it can be a positive and joyful experience, as it should be.

It’s easier said than done, I know. This will take practice, but it’s worth it. Be thoughtful in your consumption. If you’re at a social gathering, think about that dessert – What is it? What will it taste like? Will it hit the spot? Will I want more after I finish it? Or will a small portion feel blissfully intoxicating, and then satisfy me? If the answer is no, then maybe it’s not a worthy indulgence for you.

This mindset shift works for me. I love treating myself and I love for it to feel like a treat, rather than trying to fill an empty void, tied with negative emotions. I love eating and I want it to always be a joyful experience. As it should!

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So think about treats that are “blissfully intoxicating” for you. For me, DARK chocolate hits the spot. Or a seriously delicious chocolate chip cookie, with bittersweet or dark chocolate chips. Or my mom’s cheesecake.

What isn’t worth it? Smarties.  Here’s a small example of a success story for me.

We were on a double date with our friends and the place we went was giving away Smarties at the end. I went to grab one and then I thought “I actually really don’t like these.” Why would I eat something that I don’t like just because it was free and given to me? So I didn’t.

I don’t always succeed though. Like I said, it’s easier said than done. But if you find you’re in a situation where treats are abundant, ask yourself if it’s a quality, blissfully intoxicating indulgence. If not? Pass. If so? Enjoy! Without any negative emotions of guilt or shame attached.

If you’re looking for a really satisfying treat that you’ll only need a few bites of, try this Healthy Chocolate Fudge. You won’t regret it!

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