We’ve all been there — it’s 2 am and you find yourself eating a third pack of Oreos, but you justify it by promising yourself that tomorrow you will start your diet. And to be real, 9 times out of 10, this diet ends the next morning when you’re offered pancakes smothered in syrup and butter.
But what happens if you do follow through with that promise? How does it feel to actually make a life change to try to eat healthier? Well, grab your celery sticks, folks, because How I Met Your Mother is about to describe the phases of healthy eating.
1. You’re excited for the new challenge.
With promises of a healthier mind, body, and life ahead of you, the switch to a healthier lifestyle seems exciting. You research the best healthy recipes and plan out your grocery list. You realize that quinoa and kale can actually taste good. Surprisingly, the first few days go fantastically and you’re optimistic about the future.
2. You start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
You have more energy, your mood has improved, your hair and nails look stronger; overall, you feel great. Nobody else seems to notice yet, to your slight dismay, but you’re loving your new lifestyle. Sure, some of this might due to the placebo effect and your expectations to feel better, but who cares? Those endorphins are kicking in and your willpower seems unshakeable.
3. Your friends start to get sick of you telling them about your new diet.
Yes, you feel fantastic and you want everyone to know your favorite kale recipes, but your friends just don’t care. You’re only trying to help them feel as good as you do, but they find your ceaseless banter about your diet very annoying and patronizing. Oh well.
4. The food cravings start.
You agree to go out for pizza with your friends as long as the place also serves salads, but once you get there, your brain starts to sabotage your healthy plans. You’re able to convince yourself to order the salad, but that pizza smells heavenly and you’re not feeling as optimistic about the future of your diet.
5. You temporarily relapse into your previous gluttonous state.
At first, your try to hide your indulgences from your friends, your family, and yourself. At dinner you only eat vegetables, but afterwards, you eat a tiny piece of cake (calories don’t count if the piece is small enough). Then you come back for another. And another. Before you even realize, you’ve eaten almost 3 full pieces.
For the next few days, you convince yourself that you deserve the most indulgent food for every meal! We all only live once and you don’t want to waste it eating spinach for every meal. Your diet is neglected and you stop all efforts of trying to eat healthy.
6. You miss the way you looked and felt during your healthier time.
Mysteriously, you feel bloated and tired all the time. The extra salt is dehydrating you and you start to feel a noticeable difference. At first, you convince yourself to get extra sleep, but the fatigue doesn’t seem to go away. After a few days of denial, you finally accept that your body is craving your previously healthy lifestyle and vow to try again.
7. You make a permanent change to focus on living a healthy life style rather than following a strict diet, and you feel GREAT.
Real talk: diets don’t work! Your body will resist your efforts to feed it only celery and almonds. We all need food to function and eating well does not always mean eating less. Forbidding yourself from eating anything that is remotely unhealthy will only increase the cravings in the future.
Sure, you should try to refrain from eating cake for breakfast every day, but you also don’t need to force yourself to eat an apple every day (contrary to popular belief, an apple a day cannot keep the doctor away forever). Eating healthy should make you feel good, and once you realize that healthy is not always depicted by outwards appearance, you’ll figure out how to feel as awesome as Barney Stinson all the time.
So, go ahead, eat that cake. You deserve it.