Have you ever cheated and then completely regretted it? You know, woken up the next day filled with an overwhelming feeling of guilt? Perhaps it didn’t even take that long for the shame to set it. Regret can hit within an hour. Cheating. It always seems like such a good idea at the time, but it doesn’t take long to realize what a huge mistake you just made. I’m talking about cheat meals. Oh yes, the infamous cheat meal. For some, it is a weekly affair. A regular event of pure indulgence that they plan, prepare and countdown to all week. It becomes a ritual of collecting cheat-worthy recipe ideas and salivating over photos of food coma-inducing creations of epic proportions (literally), all week long. For many with super strict diets and restricted eating guidelines, that oreo-crusted, Nutella-filled, chocolate mudcake topped with peanut m&m’s and salted caramel ice-cream, is all they fantasize about whilst chowing down on their dull oats and bland veggies.
I am not one of those people. The cheat meal kind. I don’t have such a rigid eating plan that I bore my taste buds with steamed broccoli and chicken breast all week long, then go to town with one big blowout. It’s not that I disagree with this way of eating, I just don’t have that kind of dedication. But kudos to anyone who does just eat meat and veg all day, everyday. You definitely deserve that chocolate lava cake. And I bet your abs look way better than mine.
I am more a ‘everything in moderation’ kinda woman. I try make healthier choices on a daily basis. I like to eat a lot of salads and if I need a sweet fix I’ll opt for fruit or create some kind of healthier alternative like raw chocolate or bliss balls. Generally I avoid refined carbohydrates, sugar and foods high in saturated fat but I do still allow little treats to slip in every so often. I don’t plan a specific day for a cheat meal, I just indulge my cravings when they hit, with the intention of remaining in control of the sugary situation and not going overboard.
Recently though, I kind of failed at the whole ‘stay in control and don’t overdo it’ thing. Yep, I cheated and it DEFINITELY was NOT worth it. Not at all. Not even in the slightest. Not even for the temporary satisfaction. How terrible I felt post indulgence, or should I say overindulgence, was faaaaar more memorable (and longer-lasting) than the short moment of delight to my taste buds. So, um, well, I may or may not have gorged myself silly on a block of chocolate. Maybe two. *Hangs head in shame.* Did anyone else know that Lindt have a new ‘Sea Salt and Caramel’ flavour of dark chocolate (OH EM GEE!)? Well it was news to me and my god, all my willpower went out the window when I discovered it. I told myself I would just have 2 squares and make them last in my pantry for weeks, just treating myself on occasions when a little craving hit. You know ‘everything in moderation’.
But nope. I lost all control. What came next was the sugar-coma of all sugar-comas and possibly the most effective reminder as to why I don’t eat food like that often. Regret. So much regret. Not only did self-loathing and guilt flood over me but even worse, my body, not used to so much sugar, gave up on me too.
Obviously I felt physically full and sick in the stomach, like anyone does when they eat too much of anything. But the other symptoms were worse. Within 10 minutes, I was hit hard with the most excruciatingly intense headache. I felt my energy levels slump to near none. All I wanted to do and could do was lie in bed and sleep. Even my joints started to hurt (inflammation is often linked to sugar). It was horrendous. I felt like, what I can only imagine, a drug addict feels like during a come down. My god, it was horrible.
All I could think about during my sugar-induced virtually unconscious state was this – ‘the food you eat can either be the safest, most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.’ I felt that poison down to my bones (literally). Lying in bed feeling sleepy and sorry for myself, I could see my tombstone already; ‘Eloise Smith, age 24, Death by sugar’.
It’s safe to say, I learnt my lesson. A few minutes of tantalising my taste buds is NOT worth the hours of intense headaches, tiredness, lethargy, sore tummy and regret I felt afterwards. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like a sugar comedown coma to remind you why you don’t usually eat that crap. I mean, as if the guilt, self-hate and realisation of just how much exercise you have to do to work off your binge feast isn’t enough, feeling like absolute and utter s**t, certainly does the trick.
Next time I come close to overstepping the line of ‘treat yo self’ to ‘hey, why not just eat you weight in food’, I will look back on this life-changing event and step away from the chocolate! It is just not worth feeling like that EVER again. Trust me.
Love Eloise xx
Have you had an experience like this? Feel free to share your stories with me below.