The Gluten Free ‘Shift’ – Cheating, Guilt & Finding Balance

Elvis Cupcakes for GEH's birthday - a good reason!

Elvis Cupcakes for GEH’s birthday – a good reason! Recipe from Delicious Alchemy

The latest update (and last on the cycle 1 ‘shift’ phase of my 90 Day SSS Plan) is all about cheating on my diet…

The cheating

The word ‘cheating’ doesn’t really make sense on a diet. Surely if you are cheating (or these days ‘life-hacking’), you are taking a shortcut to your goal? There is nothing about a face full of cake and half a bottle of red that gets you leaner (I’ve searched)! I prefer the term ‘planned deviation’ ;-)

Unless you mean cheating like you might on a boyfriend or girlfriend, in which case the feeling of horrid guilt you might get after said face full of cake would seem like a better analogy – problematic though that might be.

Gluten free burger night with the girls - a rare get together

Gluten free burger night with the girls – a rare get together

So yes, I’ve been making some planned deviations. And some unplanned ones. Ok, ok, I’m a dirty rotten cheat. I’m pretty certain it’s compromised my results in cycle 1 of my diet (no change in my stubborn body fat measurement yet), but let me explain…

The planned deviations

I am very all or nothing – I knew if I had an unplanned deviation from my eating plan, I would throw up my arms and say “to hell with it!” and crack open the Haribo and write off the week; and I knew with no treat in sight I would be more than likely to fall off the wagon for some special occasion or other, so I gave myself permission to have one night off a week. And it was goooood. It meant I could pick and chose how to use them – an anniversary dinner here, and a cookery workshop there; and also show restraint on some occasions – sticking to a low carb option on the menu with a sparkling water at a meal out for example, knowing the real night off was coming later in the week. All in all I felt like I stayed in control.

Nutella macarons for grandma's 80th

Homemade nutella macarons for grandma’s 80th

The unplanned deviations – and the guilt

And yes, there were one or two unplanned deviations, for which I do feel guilty. I find that feeling of guilt, and the way that food is often marketed as ‘guilt free’ or ‘clean’ as very problematic. The emotional connections we all have with food are complex, but at the end of the day it’s just all types of fuel (delicious, delicious fuel); and the key for me in this plan (like none before) has been in realising that it’s all about balance: one or two sugary foods do not make you fat or unhealthy, are not inherently ‘bad’, and the key is to get back on it the next day, or next meal because you have an overall healthy lifestyle to maintain.

The results

So no, I haven’t seen the results I would have liked to in cycle 1 in terms of my body fat measurement, but the results I have seen are these:

  • An increase in my fitness levels – I was already quite fit, but now I really smash my weekly Insanity class!
  • A gradual evolution in my relationship with food – away from guilt, emotion and ‘all or nothing’ thinking
  • The realisation that whatever diet and lifestyle I maintain has to be sustainable for me – and a low carb diet with 5 days in the gym and no cake is not a realistic standard to hold myself to!

I’m excited to be cracking through cycle 2 now, which is all about building muscle, and there are lots of foodie treats to share over the next few weeks!

Ok, this was tenuous, I'm not even Welsh...

Ok, this was tenuous, I’m not even Welsh… recipe via Pig in the Kitchen

The pig was staring at me, m'lud! Easter treats from GEH

The pig was staring at me, m’lud! Easter treats from GEH

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