My usual answer to this question? “YES, PLEASE.”
I rarely eat fast food, but when I do go out for a gourmet burger, along with the salad and extras that comes with the meal, I like to have the pleasure of having my fries and eating them too.
I also like to eat them guilt free.
Some people look at me incredulously: “You’re a fitness trainer and food coach. Why are you eating fries??”
On the other hand, I get clients who stick around because they can identify with me. They say “I love that you’re a foodie too. That makes you so much more relatable.”
I know fries aren’t the most healthy food option around. But so are a lot of other foods. ANYTHING is bad for you in excess amounts. But I love fries, and I can’t imagine the rest of my life without eating them ever again.
Some people go to the extent of steering clear of everything that has salt, sugar or preservatives in them, and that’s totally fine too. I just have no desire to jive that way (things might change, who knows?) right now.
They key to balance and not developing an unhealthy addiction to any one thing is to make sure you don’t do it again, and again, and again, with no breathing room in between.
Example? I started twitching my nose the other day. For some reason, I twitched it again a few hours later. Later on, I found myself twitching my nose involuntarily. Again. Now, I find myself having to be conscious enough to feel that twitch coming on so I can control myself from doing it. Ugh.
The truth: If you do something often enough, it WILL become a habit, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.
One of my favorite principles when it comes to balance is James Clear’s ‘Never miss twice’ motto:
In other words, one meal of fries isn’t going to make you fat. Two meals? You might just get used to it. Three: You know you’ll want it tomorrow.
Here’s how to have your fries, enjoy them and not feel crappy about cleaning up everything your plate:
1. Have what you want, in reasonable (not excessive) portions.
2. Savor every bite.
3. Leave the restaurant happy and satisfied.
4. Get on with your life and do what you need to do to stay healthy at least 80% (my favorite number) of the time. This could be never missing out on your vegetables at all other times, or going for your daily workout.
The goal here is to not to live (in this case, eat) a life of less. Instead, it’s all about balance, timing and clarity.