It’s Called Balance – Not Cheating!

An equally delicious country boy special of a different sort.

Yesterday, before filming a BlogTV show with my friend Mike, we hit up one of the local diners. The menu was pretty much devoid of healthy options – and I decided to embrace it. I opted for the “Country Boy Special” complete with 2 eggs, 2 slices of toast, 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 pancakes and home fries. I think it might more appropriately have been called the the “Coronary Carbohydrate Conundrum.”

As someone who generally eats healthy – and does my best to adhere to a lower carbohydrate nutrition plan – some might think that my indulgence was cheating. I hear people use that term all the time when talking about their diets. Every cupcake or milkshake or bacon cheeseburger is viewed as a deep betrayal. And while I understand where the idea comes from, I have to disagree.

When I eat something that’s unhealthy, I don’t look at it as cheating. For me, it’s balance.

And truth be told, when it comes to nutrition and fitness, no one individual choice has much of an impact. It’s the cumulative effect of many choices – made over and over again – that add up. Like going to the gym every other day for a year. Or eliminating ice cream as a dessert for six month. One “Country Boy Special” every now and again isn’t going to have much of a measurable impact.

Moreover, balance makes nutrition sustainable. If I had to go through life without ever eating a pancake, I’d be a very miserable and cranky human being. I don’t need a pancake every day, and when I do eat one, I don’t need to consume six. But a pancake every now and then – if that’s why you crave and enjoy – can be a very good thing. Especially if helps make your larger nutrition plan more sustainable, and helps keep you on track.

I refuse to feel guilt or shame about my eating choices and I encourage you to do the same. I think those negative emotions drag down our bodies and our spirits, and tend to backfire. I’m quite content with my “Country Boy Special” and the balance that it helped me strike.

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  1. Bill Lee says:

    “All things in moderation, including moderation.”, I always say.

  2. I agree. Being unhealthy can make your life miserable, but being obsessively healthy can also make you miserable. For some, the quest to be healthy, to look good, etc. can be an addiction.

    I try to eat healthy, but sometimes the shrimp scampi or the allfredo pasta have to be embraced. And then there’s the St. Louis classic, The Slinger.

    From Wiki: The Slinger is a Midwestern diner specialty typically consisting of two eggs, hash browns, and a hamburger patty (or any other meat) all covered in chili (with or without beans) and generously topped with cheese (cheddar or American) and onions. The eggs can be any style. The Slinger is considered to be a St. Louis late-night culinary original. It is described as “a hometown culinary invention: a mishmash of meat, hash-fried potatoes, eggs, and chili, sided with your choice of ham, sausage, bacon, hamburger patties, or an entire T-bone steak.

    I have about one of these per year (for obvious reasons). But when I do, I feel no guilt, I simply relish it. Fried chicken is another occasional pleasure.

  3. wow, that certainly is One special kind of country boy. Oh wait, you were talking about Food.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think many people struggle with balance and eating.
    So I’m glad for your message of balance. You are correct there is no reason to feel guilt or ashamed. Granted you have been leaning down and probably need a few extra calories of all the things you normally don’t eat.. In the grand scheme of things it’s not going to hurt you. Just like having a hand full of M&M’s Vs the whole bag.. or whatever it is you crave. I’m sure there’s something Davey likes besides Packages!!

    ~The mysterious blue.~

  4. It’s great to see posts like this. I hesitate to even call meals like that “unhealthy” because, as you say, they only interfere with your health when you have them too often. Thanks to Vic for also pointing out how health has become an addiction for some, which in itself can ironically become unhealthy.

    Moderation and balance are the keys but that is only achievable when you have a relationship with your body which, sadly, many people have lost. There is no generic formula to health, we each need to find ours out for ourselves. Those who struggle with their health often need assistance teaching their body what some of us take for granted like when to stop eating, when the body needs carbs or protein, or when they are exercising too much. Each must use the tools available, like dieticians and qualified trainers, to find what works for them and slowly this relationship with their body can be re-established.

  5. I am in total agreement with you on this matter. I have been dieting and working out to trim the last bits of belly fat and I am entitled to eat whatever the hell I want. I believe that everyone should have a “cheat day”…if it can be called that. I prefer to call them “normal days” when I just eat a normal meal and not something mega healthy. lol Your body needs it. Plain and simple. Starve your body and the weight/fat will just build.

  6. If I could B*tch slap some of my friends/family in the face with this blog post, I so would. I’ve been losing weight for about 2 years now, and have lost 5 stone. Kinda looking “normal” atm but I reckon I’ll lose another stone and a bit before I’m totally happy with my body. A lot of my mates at uni seem so confused when I walk out of McDonalds or eat Domino’s Pizza and think that I got to my current body now with eating a celery stick each day, Errrm NO! I understand MY body and have understood the nutrition I need (with proffesional help) to deal with my targets. It gets fustrating when people don’t understand.

  7. Take away the two slices of toast and two pancakes and the “Country Boy Special” doesn’t sound so bad.

  8. There is a saying I read sometime ago, “It’s a matter of mind, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” I think that applies to many things in life, in particular those which which we might otherwise add a negative feeling towards rather than a positive feeling. Ultimately, it is all the same energy, and we decide how we are going to define what that energy is for us. When you truly know there is no difference between a greasey cheesburger and a equal measure of a tossed salad, when you preceive both as being the same divine energy, you are delighted to eat both and grateful for the oppertunity to do so. I look at it like this, everything is a divine gift from my creator, I am truly blessed to be able to partake of it, whatever form it takes.

  9. christopher says:

    every now and then its ok.last weekend i opted for Dutch comfort food.meatball/gravy-kale/mashed potato.i refuse to even try an elephant ear.even passed on a beer.only a sample-taking a jug or growler home for an upcoming day back to something healthy-grilled tilapia-asparagus.its ok to have a variation from time to time-but at home alleviates bad choices regularly.what with the economy-eating out is a rarity for me these days.what i mostly watch out for is salt/sugar and processed food.i pack a lunch for work-unfortunately luncheon meats are loaded with all types of sodium.even cooking vegetables requires salt.and soup-very very few alternatives for low sodium-only way to control bad stuff-make it yourself from scratch-and then these days we dont always have the bright spot these days are that restaurants serving unhealthy choices are closing left and right-especially where i live.with warmer weather-farmers markets are the place to go.


  1. […] โ€“ made over and over again โ€“ that add up. Like going to the gym every other day for a … “nutrition and fitness” – Google Blog Search This entry was posted in Nutrition And Fitness and tagged Balance, called, Cheating, Davey, […]

  2. […] of giving yourself cheat days, I’ve always said that it’s really about creating balance. Most of the time, eat the nourishing foods that your body needs. Eat the lean meats, fruits, […]