You Can Eat Cake and Lose Weight

Lady eating cake

One of the biggest reasons that I hear for previous failed diets is that people tend to over restrict, cutting out all their favourite foods. Most people can keep this up for varying periods of time, but ultimately their drive to eat desired foods wins, and they indulge in their food of choice be that cake, crisps, chocolate, or wine. The issue here is not the slice of cake, it is the perception that they have failed. This mentality then creates a viscous cycle that often leads to yo-yo dieting. There is another way. You can include these foods in your diet and lose weight, in fact if you want to avoid yoyo dieting it is highly recommended that you do include all foods in your diet. Over restriction is never a recipe for long term weight loss success. 

What is over restriction?

Dieting mentality is characterised by over restriction. This is when you have a set of rules about foods that are banned on your diet. These are usually hyper palatable, high calorie foods such as cake and chocolate that you enjoy. You think that these foods are making you fat and if you cut them out you will lose weight. However, there is always the temptation to eat these foods. You use a lot of mental energy avoiding these foods, saying no, and feeling guilty for wanting them.

You deny yourself an array of these foods until eventually you give in, whether you eat a crème egg or an entire chocolate cake the seal is broken. And again, that is the mentality. Whether from eating a normal sized portion or a blowout binge, many people think they have now messed up their diet, they have failed, and then they give up. 

Why do people give up dieting?

Perfectionism. 

Dieting for most people is all or nothing. We must be perfectly on our diet, or we have failed. And as soon as we eat a chocolate bar, let alone a whole cake, we hit what is metaphorically known as the ‘fuck it bucket’.  Do these scenarios sound familiar to you?

“I had that cake so I might as well have wine as well, I’ll start again tomorrow”.

“I overate yesterday, so I might as well have some chocolate today, I can start again on Monday”.

“I’m going out on Wednesday and have a work lunch on Friday so I might as well just give up until next week”.

Banned foods combined with perfectionism, is the epitome of modern-day dieting, and the biggest downfall of most dieters. Where else in your life do you give up if you are not perfect? If you make a mistake at work, do you quit your job? If you don’t have time to iron the kids’ school uniform, do you quit being a parent? Of course not. 

So why do you have to diet perfectly or not at all? 

Compromise Not Sacrifice For Weight Loss

It is trendy now for weight loss coaches, nutritionists, and personal trainers to emphasise that you can lose weight without giving up your favourite foods, and it is true. But oftentimes it is made to seem that you can eat whatever you like, whenever you like and lose weight, and that simply isn’t true. To lose weight, you need to eat less. You gained weight by eating more calories than you burned, and to lose that excess body fat you need to eat less than your body needs. To create a calorie deficit, you will need to eat less and move more, which is extremely simplistic and mostly unhelpful advice, but essentially accurate. Therefore, you cannot continue to eat highly calorific, hyper palatable foods in the same quantities and expect to lose weight. 

However, an over restrictive diet with banned foods is a diet of sacrifice, you give up everything that you enjoy. This is manageable short term, but unsustainable for long-term weight loss and maintenance. 

Compromise is what weight loss professionals mean, when they say that you can eat cake and lose weight. You can choose your indulgences and have them occasionally. If it’s your child’s birthday eat the cake, but one slice not three. If you go out for dinner and the dessert looks amazing, have it and maybe skip the wine, but if it’s not actually nice leave it! You can find some fantastic tips for eating out on a diet here.

Permission To Eat All Foods

If I told you to not think about a pink elephant, I bet you could not stop yourself from thinking about a pink elephant! You’re thinking about a pink elephant, aren’t you?!

Likewise, when you tell yourself that you cannot eat certain foods, you want them more. By giving yourself permission to eat them, you take that desire away. If you want cake, really want cake you can have it. Often with permission to eat all foods, you then have the mental headspace to make decisions based on your goals. You can have the chocolate if you want it, but you are choosing not to have it because your weight loss goal is more important to you today. 

By giving yourself permission to eat all foods, you are less likely to binge. You can include chocolate in your diet daily, but in a portion size quantity as opposed to an XL share bag of Maltesers in a single sitting. Often, by including these foods daily without guilt or shame, and still achieving weight loss results many people eat them less by choice, they are no longer prohibited, or desirable, they are just food to be enjoyed like any other in moderation, there is no special status given to them. 

How Can Weight Loss Coaching Help?

There is so much shame around being overweight, and food choices that losing weight is difficult. Food isn’t like alcohol or smoking; you can’t just quit eating. To successfully lose weight you need to work on your mindset and relationship with food, you must learn moderation, compromise, mindfulness, none of these things are easy to do, in fact they are incredibly difficult. We live in a world of easily accessible food, in a culture where being fat is shameful, food is demonised, and dieting is big business that has been over complicated to the extreme. 

Many popular diet clubs have a business model that demonises high calorie foods with syns or points. Ritual Fitness takes a different approach. You will have to make some changes, and you will have to compromise, but you do not need to say no to all your favourite foods all the time, and you certainly do not need to feel guilty, or give up on your diet because you ate or drank something that you enjoy. If you’re ready to lose weight for the last time you can sign-up online, or you can fill in the application form or send me a message and we can arrange a chat. 

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