I shouldn't eat this. Almost all of us have probably had this thought before indulging, but here's an important reminder that treats don't have to be your worst enemy. We need to have a better relationship with food because making yourself feel guilty over that cupcake isn't a healthy way of thinking. Just like how one salad won't magically transform you into the definition of health, one slice of pizza won't sabotage your healthy-eating efforts, either.
Amanda Meixner, who's behind the food facts Instagram account meowmeix, shared a photo showing our expectations versus the reality of what happens when you eat a cookie. The left side shows what we think happens: "you ruined your progress," "you might as well give up the rest of the day," "you'll wake up six pounds heavier." Sound familiar? But what really happens is that the cookie is "most likely only 200 to 400 calories," "you can totally fit that into your weekly calorie goals," and "you treated yourself to a mouthful of deliciousness."
Moral of the story: it's not worth beating yourself up over! Additionally, Amanda explained how upping your calorie intake can actually benefit you if you've been in a deficit for a while. "A carb-rich meal can help spike your leptin levels and other beneficial hormones giving you a boost of energy," she wrote in her caption. But keep in mind that you're also spiking your insulin levels, so don't look to cookies as your only source of energy.
Treat yourself because you want to; not because you've earned it.