That’s right, you heard me. Sometimes it’s not about the calories or the carb-to-protein ratio or the macros. Cake is not the enemy. In fact, even for those looking to lose weight, cake can be your friend. Meet Carl, for instance.
Carl says hi. Carl consists of double-layered, carroty goodness slathered in buttercream frosting. Carl also consists of 432 calories, 22.8 grams of fat, and 37.2 grams of sugar. (Thank you, MyFitnessPal.)
I ate Carl the other day. And Carl was very yummy. But I am not Carl and Carl is not me. Carl is not “bad” or “dirty” and neither am I.
Don’t worry, I don’t name everything that I eat. Just trying to make a point here.
Did I exceed my suggested calorie threshold that day? Probably. Did I feel more lethargic than I would’ve liked that night? Possibly. Did I subsequently fall into a sugar coma and (oops) take an unplanned 1.5 hour nap? Perhaps.
But did I beat myself up about it? Nope. Did I vow to only eat “clean” foods the next day to “make up” for my sin? Nuh-uh. Did I proceed to run 23904230948 miles to “burn off” the “extra fat” that I’m sure Carl just automatically turned into? No sir-ee.
Again, cake (or any “unhealthy” food, for that matter) is not the enemy. Just because you ate a slice of cake does not mean you lack self-discipline or “mental strength” or “willpower” or whatever people call it these days. It’s much better to eat one Carl every so often than to endanger Carl’s entire species when you. just. can’t. take. the. restriction. anymore. It’s all about moderation, not deprivation.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: you are NOT what you eat. Eating “bad” foods does not make you a bad person. What’s more, labelling foods as “good” and “bad” can lead to an all-or-nothing, dichotomous way of thinking, which can actually spiral into a vicious cycle of bingeing and restricting.
Sure, Carl wasn’t as nutritious as an actual carrot, but he was soul-nourishing. It’s nice (very liberating, actually) to listen to your cravings and indulge once in a while, because strict rules and hard lines are no fun. Calories are calories; they are little packets of energy to fuel our lives, not heretics to be exorcised.
So for all y’all troopers out there with health/fitness goals, power to ya! Keep on chugging those green smoothies and killin’ it at the gym. But always, always remember why you started. Tune into that feeling you get after a nutritious meal or heart-pumping workout and remember that you are doing it for you. Because you are worth it.
Just don’t forget to loosen the reins from time to time. Tired legs cannot a marathon run. What’s life without a bit of indulgence? Go ahead. Put on your eating pants once in a while. Have your cake, and name it too!