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How to Be Healthy and Still Indulge


By Elliot Caleira

Wouldn’t it be great if calories didn’t count? Imagine eating to your heart’s content and still looking spectacular? Staying in shape requires a healthy dose of regular exercise and a proper diet, but that doesn’t mean you need to subject yourself to a life of only roots and berries. Long gone are the days of having to avoid anything with taste. Thankfully, there are ways to indulge and still rock a pair of skinny jeans. All it takes is a little planning ahead.

Make Smarter Choices
Indulgence doesn’t have to be the most fattening thing you can get your hands on. By making smarter, healthier choices, you’re able to satisfy without going overboard. So, instead of ordering a pizza and eating the entire pie, you split it with a friend. You can even freeze the other half for easy access with temptation strikes. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating the foods you love is about finding the right balance.

Designate a Cheat Day
Some people swear by them and others run as fast as then can away from cheat days. But believe it or not, having a designated cheat day can help you stay on track. Choose a day where you allow yourself to eat whatever you want in moderation. if you've been dying to try the bakery in town, go for it. The key to staying on the fitness track is indulging every now and again without feeling guilty.

Save Calories
Learning how to bank calories takes the guilt out of indulgence. For instance, if you know you're going out to dinner, eat a light lunch or simply drink a smoothie. The best whey protein shakes fill you up without going over your daily allowance of calories. Starving yourself before a big event only leads to mindless eating. Making your calories count eliminates the need for restrictive diets, which usually end in overeating or serious health complications. Eating too little slows your metabolism, decreases energy levels and can make you feel ill.

Feel Free to Nibble
In addition to your cheat day, stop feeling guilty about having an occasional treat. Studies show that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories won’t affect your waistline, as long as you exercise regularly and follow an otherwise low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains.

Imposters Beware
Sometimes it’s better to forego the lighter version of your favorite food. Many of the diet-friendly imposters are high in both sugar and artificial sweeteners, which makes you want the real deal even more. Even worse, you may think you can overindulge simply because it's labeled low in fat or no sugar. Play it safe and eat a smaller portion of the foods you love instead of loading up on unhealthy artificial sweeteners.

Benefits of Indulging
When you cut calories, the levels of leptin in your body decreases making your body think it’s going into starvation mode. As such, your body tries to hold onto fat it has a safety mechanism. But when you allow yourself small indulgences, leptin levels increase and send signals to your brain that you are not overly hungry. This makes it easier to stay on track and focus healthy eating habits.

Having your cake and eating it too doesn't have to throw all of your fitness efforts off course. Be mindful of what you put in your mouth and prepare for special events in advance. So, what are you waiting for? Open up and say yum.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.
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