Healthy Meal Plans Can Include Cookies for Snacks

If you’ve been following me on the gram @runwithalli, then you're familiar with my thoughts and feelings regarding a balanced meal plan. Let me just begin this post by clearly stating that I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t have to deprive ourselves of the things that we enjoy, especially when it comes to food. As long as you find a way to move your body, you can have your cake and eat it too. Literally.

Are you someone who usually thinks about what NOT to eat? Are you often concerned that you’re going to gain weight because of that last cookie you just ate? Do you want to eat healthy because it makes you feel good, or because that’s what you think will make you lose weight? Take a moment to think and then answer these three questions. Using a pen and a piece of paper, write out your answers to each one. At the end of this post, I’m going to ask you to revisit each answer and adjust one thing in each. You’ll probably want to do that for yourself anyway, but let’s see.

Cookies for Snacks?! YES PLEASE!

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how so many Instagram accounts are always representing the newest fad diets and the perfect lifestyles everyone wishes they had instead of showing both a balance of the good and the bad. Not to get off topic, but let’s be real. No one is perfect. Everyone is battling their own battles, but some individuals don’t share it as much as others might. The same goes for healthy eating.

By looking over ten IG accounts of various fits pros, I’ve seen some that share both the good and the bad, and some that only share the good stuff. Social media is social media. We can all hide A LOT of things. If I had to guess, a lot of what is actually consumed in terms of food by many is not always shown. Sure. Having a fast metabolism and having genetic factors can play a role in weight management, but there are many ways to manipulate both of those things for yourself that might not be conventional, or the same for others, but work for you.

I don’t share this very often, but it was in my cross-training to my PR article a few months ago where I mentioned that I was body dysmorphic. I’m sharing this with you because I am sure you, or someone that you know can relate to what I went through and realize that things don’t have to be a certain way when they could be SO much better.

Simply put, I was body dysmorphic. I thought and felt I had to look a certain way. I had the WORST anxiety to the point I had to take medication to calm myself down. I felt like I had to live up to a certain expectation to be good enough. Take a look at the pictures below. The first one is a picture of me during the time I suffered with body dysmorphia. The second one is a picture of my recent and healthy self, being, feeling and looking my strongest!

I used to restrict myself of everything I loved. It was terrible. With the support of my family and friends, I turned all of that around and was able to find myself again and accept my true self. And you better believe I started to indulge in my cheesecake and cookies again like you wouldn’t believe!

It took me time, tears, years and struggle to get back to where I am now, but I finally did. Now, I’m FINALLY able to openly talk about it more with you! When I got injured for the Boston Marathon due to poor recovery, training and on top of that, this, it was yet another silver lining in certain ways. It showed me what poor nutrition and self deprivation can do. It set me back and prevented me from doing something that I love and am beyond passionate about. I knew it would only set me back further if I didn’t take action and fix it. Through my rehab process, reintroducing the foods I enjoyed felt good, but it took me time to truly enjoy them AND not feel bad about eating them at the same time. But, all good things take time and everyone moves at their own pace. My pace was slow for sure. But, every single day got better, easier and I became stronger both mentally and physically. Now, I finally feel fulfilled by being able to eat what I want, when I want. The other day, I shamelessly ate a cookie on my way to teach my Bootcamp class. Someone stopped me on the street and asked me how I eat the way I do and look the way I do. I simply replied by saying to them “I balance my lifestyle and modify certain things so that I’m able to eat what I want, when I want.”

I’m not saying you have, or need to go through a struggle like I went through to realize that any diet is not sustainable and that cutting out what you enjoy will only make you lash back 10x harder. BUT, I hope that my story serves as an inspiration to you.

I am not you, but I am a human too! Just because I am a fitness professional and a very active individual does not mean I don’t eat the things I enjoy. If I want 2 pieces of cheesecake, I’m eating it. To keep it real, I will eat my "treats" within 3 hours of any intense workout, or run. I'll also make sure that I eat much healthier throughout that day for that day, but I don’t feel guilty about it. And guess what?! Neither should you!

There are things like body composition and the amount of daily activity that you do that will completely impact the amount you should indulge in your treats. For example, if you’re an extremely active individual doing HIIT workouts 6x/week, you’re going to have higher carbohydrate demands than if you were to do HIIT workouts 1x/week. That's just one simple example for you to get my point here. Everyone is different and we all live a different lifestyle. Every journey is going to be different for each one of us. But that’s the beauty of life my friends! You don't want to be the vanilla yogurt. You want to be the American Dream CONE!

10 Ways To Train Your Mind To Help You Overcome Any Indulgence Fears

1. Your body is unique. It’s beautiful. Love it. Own it. Rock it. No one is you and no one will ever be you. Embrace your originality. You’re worth it!

2. Look at exercise as a way of how it makes you feel, not by how it makes you look. If you feel like your most empowered, confident and energetic self after a workout, nothing really beats that. You can only do that with sufficient fit fuel. #takenote!

3. Emotional eating can be replaced with a new hobby. Try a comedy cub, an art class, journaling, or joining a book club! That might be your problem for weight gain in the first place! Not indulging here and there!

4. Try to eat slowly without the TV on, or any distractions during your meals. You’ll be able to enjoy what you’re eating, and also be mindful of it. Instead of eating the full tray of brownies you made, eat one and see how you’re feeling. Drink plenty of water during your meal too!

5. You can try something, but you don’t have to eat ALL of it. Share it with some friends out at dinner!

6. Reward yourself with that piece of cake after a hard workout, or because you truly enjoy it! I’m not saying eat a cake a day, but keeping yourself fulfilled will make you a more enjoyable person to be around as opposed to a hangry and deprived capital B.

7. Make sure that you’re getting enough carbs and proteins! You do not need to eat bread to get carbs. Sweet potatoes have carbs and so do fruits and veggies.

8. Stop with the fad diets. They don’t last and they don’t work. Intuitive eating is a REALLY AMAZING THING, but you can’t even incorporate that without dropping those fads first!

9. If you have a food scale, store it. Don’t become obsessive. Just stop that craziness!

10. Think about how much better your life will be once you CAN allow yourself to enjoy and eat the foods you love AND the foods that make you feel fulfilled! It’s the best feeling once you’re able to do that and NOT feel guilty about doing so!

To summarize, remember that NOTHING is off limits. As long as you live an active lifestyle and balance that out with foods you enjoy too, you’ve got the whole package. These ten tricks above will help you to open the door to your new, intuitive eating patterns. These will help you to truly embrace a new you that enjoys indulging regardless of who you are and what you do. It’s all very possible with the right mindset, the right guidance, the right community and an open mind and heart. And remember, you’re never alone. If you ever need guidance or advice, ask a friend, call Mom, or ask me!

Now, back to those three answers from earlier in this post. Do you feel like you want to change anything in each answer? If not, that’s cool! If you do, go ahead! Save those answers in a place you can visibly see daily to remind yourself that you will be unpleasant and depriving yourself for your ENTIRE LIFE if you don’t let yourself enjoy what you LOVE!

Give yourself the joy of feeling fulfilled. I promise you that you will be SO happy that you did. It might be life changing for you too! Do it for you and the others around you! Watch your life transpire into a new and better YOU! Worst case? You hate it and this post will be just another blog post for you. BUT, at least you can say you tried without ANY regrets!

Any comments, questions, thoughts and feedback are always welcome! Just drop me a note below, or email me! I want to hear from you!

Enjoy the WEEKEND!!! Finally Friday. Yay!

Enjoy it!


Coach Alli

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