Treats are good for us. The media is regularly reminding us about things that we should not be doing, the things that are bad for us or are detrimental to our health or well-being. There always seems to be a new report that informs us about the dangers of some aspect of food, drink, exercise and so on. Increasingly there is a groundswell of opinion that is starting to rebel against this attitude and say that treats are good for us. And, in truth, they are an easy and effective way to manage stress and unwind.
Surely the best way for a good quality of life and happiness is to adopt a more balanced attitude. Have a treat, but not every day of the week. Eat what you like, but ensure that there is a healthy and common sense approach applied to the amounts and ingredients used. Go out and party but remember that to look after the family or earn the money needed to finance that lifestyle requires you to be up bright and early in the mornings.
Diets can be difficult to live by. They are often about deprivation and many people find that when they are on a diet they constantly think about food, what they have eaten, when they are going to eat next, what they are going to eat, what they are allowed to eat. Once they have finished being on their diet many people find that they have learned nothing about eating healthily and often revert back to their old ways, putting the weight and often more, back on again.
I discuss a healthy eating regime with my clients, a way of eating that will be comfortably with them all their lives. This means that they can go out and have fun, eat a lovely meal, have dessert, but then the next day start eating the healthy way again. This approach can also be applied to every other area in life too. Have fun in the casino from time to time, but be aware of it becoming too much of a pull. Enjoy drinking but notice if the volume is increasing over time.
I liken this mindset to a bank account. If a holiday, Christmas or an expensive time is approaching then we try to economise before and afterwards so that we can have a really good time when we want to. We plan to accommodate it, beforehand saving a little, afterwards, catching up with any over spending. That way we balance the books. We understand why we are doing it. We appreciate that it is a commonsense approach towards keeping control of the situation.
People often use this approach with alcohol. If they have had a heavy weekend many people will not want to touch an alcoholic drink because they feel jaded or hung over. They will often take a few days to recover and give their body a break. In fact an increasing number of people do not drink in the week and it is a good way of reducing their intake. They find that this results in them having a healthier attitude towards alcohol and towards drinking in general. Enjoying it, but not drinking to excess.
Treats are good for us. They are an important way of relaxing and letting off steam. They are an effective way to manage stress and unwind. They are rewards for effort and a way of giving us a quality of life, especially if times are a little tough. So, that bar of quality chocolate or decent bottle of wine, that bunch of flowers or half an hour in a candle lit bath can make a big difference to how we feel and that can last for some time.
The saying ‘you cannot have your cake and eat it’ comes to mind. I believe that we can have our cake and eat it, but not all the time. Sometimes it is nice to look at it and appreciate it as a goal to be worked towards, other times we want to enjoy eating it. The times when we enjoy eating it the most are usually when we feel that we have earned it and deserve it. Then we can sit and feel really good about ourselves and our efforts.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist
About this author
Susan Leigh is a long established Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, with over twenty years experience. She is a member of several professional organisations and is committed to a programme of Continuous Professional Development.
She started the practice in 1988 with her husband Frederick, and after being widowed at the age of 39, took over the practice full time.
Prior to working as a Counsellor, Susan worked for many years with a blue chip company and has experienced the stresses of balancing a corporate and personal life. Now she balances writing regularly for many organisations, is a regular contributor to BBC radio and has a thriving Counselling and Hypnotherapy practice. She works with individuals, helping them cope better with the pressures of daily life, works with couples to provide relationship counselling and improve communications, and in business to provide support to staff members and teams. She has had a lot of success working with clients with unexplained infertility in women and also with managing pain in childbirth. Many of her clients have successfully gone on to become pregnant and have a positive experience of giving birth. For more information see www.lifestyletherapy.net