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No, You Don’t Deserve That Indulgence Today

No, You Don’t Deserve That Indulgence Today

“I’ve had a really hard day…”

“I went to all my workouts this week…”

“I ate a salad for lunch…”

“I’ve put up with my in-laws for four days and didn’t snap once…”

…I deserve it.

On the surface it seems to make sense. In so many parts of life good behavior is rewarded with some kind of treat, whether it was a sticker in kindergarten or a bonus at work. It’s natural to want to apply the same logic to the food you eat, especially if you’ve ever adopted a dieter’s mindset (or trained a puppy).

I’m here today to shatter this illusion.

First let’s consider the assumptions made in the statement, “I had a hard day so I deserve some chocolate.”

“A hard day” implies that you experienced an above average amount of stress in a single day, which of course is a bummer. Also implicit in the statement is that stress must somehow be balanced out with a positive experience. And finally that food is an appropriate reward for enduring abnormally high stress.

Similar assumptions can be derived from a statement like, “I was good today so I deserve some chocolate.” The implication is that being “good” takes work and deserves a reward, and food is an appropriate reward.

Some correlates can also be deduced from the logic of these statements, which is where things get a bit more disturbing. One is that if you deserve chocolate on “stressful” days or “good” days, that implies that on regular days you do not deserve chocolate. Another is that indulgent foods (like chocolate) are intrinsically more rewarding than other foods.

Both of these deductions are demonstrably false, yet are consistent with the logic of moralizing your food choices.

When you moralize your food choices you create categories in your mind that some foods are “good” and some foods are “bad.” Typically this also stokes a subconscious belief that the bad ones are really the best ones.

When this is the frame you put on your food choices, your designated “bad” foods become rewards because most of the time you are using willpower to resist them. Eating bad is a respite from being good, and who doesn’t deserve a break every now and then? Especially on a hard day.

This frame also turns choosing your designated “good” foods into a chore, because it is no longer a choice you are making out of intrinsic motivation. Whenever you’re doing something “to be good” instead of “because I want to” it requires willpower. Research has shown that reframing things you naturally enjoy into things you are “supposed to do” undermines your natural feelings and causes you to actually like the thing less.

Are you starting to see the problem here?

When you start asking yourself if you deserve to eat a specific food at any given moment, you are fueling the very mentality that causes you to seek that food (a reward) in response to stress. In other words, moralizing your food is kindling for emotional eating.

In the moment your mind may try to convince you otherwise, but emotional eating is not a form of self-care. Self-care is restorative, while emotional eating usually leaves you feeling worse. In my experience, emotional eating is rarely even enjoyable while it is happening.

I’m not arguing that food can never feel like a treat. I’m not even arguing that you never deserve to have an indulgence. To the contrary, my belief is that you always deserve an indulgence.

When you find yourself asking, “Do I deserve this special food today?” Remind yourself that you deserve special food every day, and this is not the right question. If you’re in need of self-care the appropriate thing to ask is, “What will restore my peace and energy?” You’ll likely come up with very different answers.

Eating for pleasure shouldn’t be reserved for days when life kicks the shit out of you. Tuesday is a good enough reason to eat something amazing. Enjoyment is a perfectly valid reason to eat anything. It’s just not the only reason.

Eating nourishing, satisfying food that fuels you well feels entirely different from eating rich, heavy or sugary foods. They can both feel awesome when the food is delicious, and when you don’t choose high-quality versions, both can be terrible. Flavor (and your subjective enjoyment) is a completely independent variable.

Rich, indulgent foods can be truly amazing. And you should eat these foods sometimes, because life should be awesome.

Of course it’s that sometimes that causes problems. The faulty logic is that categorizing foods into good and bad is what makes that sometimes possible, by giving you a moral compass to guide you. But in reality it makes sometimes harder because your categories make healthy foods feel less rewarding than rich foods, and because you have to choose when you’ve been worthy enough to deserve it.

When you stop moralizing your food choices you quickly realize that the reason not to eat rich foods every day isn’t because it’s bad for you or will make you fat, but because it feels so much better not to.

Now that my body is accustomed to being fueled by fresh, delicious, and nutrient-dense foods, heavier or more processed foods will crush my energy levels anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Sometimes this is worth it and is a choice I consciously make, but I’m always delighted to go back to the habits that keep me feeling my best.

Of course no matter what I choose, delicious is always part of the equation.

This wasn’t always the case for me. Before I stopped dieting and became a foodist I rarely made the connection between what I ate and how I felt afterward. Also back then, “delicious” and “healthy” were entirely incongruous ideals. So if you’re reading this thinking, “Well that won’t work for me because I feel fine after I eat indulgent foods and still prefer them,” don’t dismiss this so quickly.

Remember that if you’re moralizing your food you’re likely enjoying your “healthy” choices less than you would naturally, had you not subconsciously labeled them a chore. Maybe you put less effort into making sure they’re delicious, because you don’t expect them to ever be. Or maybe you’ve never given them enough of a chance to truly know what it feels like to fuel your body well consistently. For me, it was all of the above.

Even if you do honestly love nutritious foods, food moralizing can still undermine your efforts by making certain foods preternaturally appealing and lead to overeating.

If some delicious and indulgent food is presented to you, don’t tell yourself you can have it because you’ve been good or had a hard day. Simply ask yourself if this particular food is worth it to you right now, and how much of it you need to be happy.

Make the question about the food quality and your goals, not your worthiness.

Do you moralize your food choices? Have you found it helps or hurts your decision making?

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Just how important is a mattress to a good night’s sleep?

Just how important is a mattress to a good night’s sleep?

Tomorrow Sleep hybrid Mattress

It's that time of year again, the weather is getting cooler, the days are growing shorter, the leaves are falling and the fireplace is going strong. That means it's time to stay in and get cozy. I love nothing more than sleep and cuddle time, but I have a confession to make, I'm not great at relaxing and not a good sleeper. I've never been someone whose head just hits the pillow and bam, I'm out.

tomorrow sleep hybrid mattress and memory foam pillowNo, that would be my husband (so jealous). I lay there for awhile thinking. Sometimes I'm planning, thinking about what needs to get done, sometimes I'm replaying a conversation, sometimes I'm thinking about work, or stressing about a problem. You name it. And sometimes, I'm just uncomfortable, tossing and turning, trying to find just the right position.

I'm also a particular sleeper, I have to have a box fan on high and I wear an eyemask from Brookstone that I can't sleep without. I know this makes me sound high maintenance (not going to deny it!) but nobody likes me when I'm tired and cranky. And don't even get me started on snoring. Thank god my husband isn't a snorer, we would have never worked out ;-)

I know how important sleep is, I stress it all the time. Sleep is your time to rejuvenate and repair. Chronically not sleeping enough will lead to weight gain, and many health issues including a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Sleep isn't something to skimp on.

To help me sleep better and wake up more refreshed, instead of hitting my alarm 3 times, (so not a morning person, see above) my husband and I have been thinking about getting a new mattress for awhile. We've looked around and the cost always seemed so prohibitive. We also weren't sure which to get, there are so many options. I've had the same mattress since before college, and it was my parents before that, so fancy mattresses were not something we knew anything about.

That is, until Tomorrow Sleep contacted me. WOW. They sent me a king size hybrid mattress, medium firm, with organic cotton sheets and memory foam pillows. I'm obsessed. I get into bed every night and just sigh, "OMG this is so comfortable". I don't know how I've gone so long without a mattress like this.

And, it inspired us to redo our room. We not only got a new (king size vs queen) mattress but a new bed and headboard, a new rug and new comforter set (organic cotton and fair trade from West Elm). Our room is seriously nice now. I call this our cloud bed, the mattress, comforter, and pillows are like falling into a cloud. Tomorrow Sleep hybrid Mattress

Tomorrow Sleep Mattress: What You Should Know

What is a hybrid mattress?

According to "hybrid mattresses combine two or more support systems, usually memory foam layers along with an innerspring system. Hybrid mattresses are a great way to experience the pressure relieving benefits of memory foam while retaining the classic feel of an innerspring mattress. Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring system with memory foam (or latex) to deliver the benefits of both technologies. Hybrids allow sleepers to enjoy the perfect blend of sturdy support and contouring comfort."

Tomorrow Sleep's mattresses are American made (love that) and constructed by craftsman right in Charlotte, NC.

Tomorrow Sleep Holistic Sleep System

What I love so much about what Tomorrow Sleep offers, is that it's not just about their Tomorrow Sleep Mattress, it's about so much more. As you read above, sleeping is not easy for everyone, so they've taken into account many things that contribute to a better night's sleep. They offer:

  1. A Hybrid Mattress (got it, love it!)
  2. Memory Foam Pillows (got them, so comfy!)
  3. Plush (hypoallergenic) Pillows
  4. A Sleep Tracker Monitor (high-tech sleep support!)
  5. 500 Thread Count Sheet Set (got them, soooo soft!)
  6. Comforter
  7. Mattress Protector
  8. Drapes (want these!)

10 Tips to Help you Sleep Better

In addition to the wonderful things Tomorrow Sleep offers to help you sleep, I've found a few behaviors that really help me personally:

  • Turn off all your devices and TV at least a half hour before you go to sleep.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not check your email before sleep.
  • Journal your thoughts from the day, get it out so your mind doesn't keep you awake.
  • Focus on gratitude, either write down, or say 3 things you are grateful for right now - it puts things into perspective and lowers your stress levels so you can fall asleep easier.
  • Don't drink anything 1.5 hours before bed to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
  • Practice legs up the wall for 10 minutes (it's so relaxing and probably the single best yoga pose for you).
  • Pick a mantra to focus on, inhaling one thing, exhaling another - for example, inhale "I am relaxed", exhale "everything is as it should be".
  • Have an orgasm (or several), nothing else leaves you feeling quite so satisfied and relaxed.
  • If you're in a relationship, avoid waiting until you get into bed to start problem solving major life events, save that conversation for when you are rested.
  • Don't consume caffeinated beverages after 1pm (depending on how sensitive you are, you may want to cut out the caffeine or stop after your morning cup).
  • Bonus Tip: I've learned a mattress makes a BIG difference, so invest in a good one.

My Overall Review of Tomorrow Sleep's Hybrid MattressTomorrow Sleep Hybrid Mattress

Pros: This bed is heavenly. It's so comfortable and just the right balance of soft and firm. It's comfortable and supportive. I love the memory foam pillows and the sheets are so soft, they are the nicest I've ever owned, and keep me nice and cool. I've been waking up aches and pains free, and actually feeling rested. When one of us moves, the other doesn't get woken up because we don't feel it. It's awesome. Falling asleep has also gotten easier, and my husband loves the bed too. The first time he got in, he had the biggest smile on his face. We feel spoiled.

Cons: I've found myself kicking off the covers in the middle of the night. It could just be the duvet itself, we have had a heat wave in New York the last few weeks. I think we are going to purchase Tomorrow Sleep's mattress protector to keep our mattress nice and also because of its cooling technology. The memory foam pillow is awesome (see pic of Przemek above), but maybe a little bit high if you are a stomach sleeper (like me). I adjusted in about a week though. I have no cons for the sheets, they are perfect, 500 thread-count doesn't stink.

Special Offer to my Readers from Tomorrow Sleep

If you are looking for a mattress, I have $100 savings to offer my readers on any Tomorrow Sleep purchase over $500. The best part? The mattresses ship for free and there's a 100 day trial so you can make sure you choose the best mattress for you.

To take advantage of this offer, use the code: FOODIE100.

Offer expires 12.31.17.

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