Worth It: Why You Should Make Smart Indulgent Choices

Homemade Chocolate Mousse Cake. Damn straight this was worth every last bite. 

Homemade Chocolate Mousse Cake. Damn straight this was worth every last bite. 

There’s an internet joke that I’m sure you’ve heard. What’s the first rule of CrossFit? Always talk about CrossFit.

But there’s a little known second rule. Always talk about food.

Food has to be the second most popular topic in any box. Walk into any CrossFit and chances are people are talking about how they can’t wait to go home to eat. Or they’re sharing what they ate last night or what they’re making for dinner. In fact they probably Instagrammed it. And while often this is something healthy, it’s also just as likely that it’s not. It might be donuts, or burgers or pizza. And that’s ok.

We work out hard, right? We’re entitled to reward ourselves. And while this is true, there’s a danger to that mentality. You should not work out to reward yourself with food. You should work out to reward yourself with what your body can do. How it can move. How it can be strong. How it can surprise you and make you feel amazing and exhilarated. Food is fuel and while food should taste good, you don’t want to create a cycle where you justify eating bad things by working out. That’s not the point of fitness.

Now, of course, indulging is part of life. We all want to have a decadent treat from time to time. But one thing I’ve come to realize in the last few years is that that treat better be worth it. If I’m going to have something rich in calories, sugar and fat, it better be amazing. It better bring me immense pleasure and satisfaction. In other words, I don’t want to throw away my calories on some shitty store-bought cookie or piece of office birthday cake. I want to wait for an incredible gourmet donut or bakery piece of cake or homemade gelato. I want this treat to be special. Something I will appreciate and not regret afterwards. I’ll even go so far as to spit something out after one bite if I deem it not worth it. There’s so much amazing food in this world, why waste your taste buds on crap?

Like most people, I was an unknowing sugar addict for most of my life. Chances are if you’ve never eliminated sugar from your diet, you are too. It wasn’t until I kicked the habit and removed  — especially — artificial sweetener from my diet that I truly understood the value of something being ‘worth it.’ Now when I taste foods with artificial sweetener, I don’t even enjoy them. I can’t have super sweet flavored coffees. I can’t have those big cookies from Costco. I simply don’t enjoy the taste. Even Dunkin Donuts. Gross. Too sweet and too fake tasting.

Now, give me a cookie from NYC’s Levain bakery, and we’re in business. Give me a doughnut from Dough or Doughnut Plant and I’ll go to town. Ply me with Sprinkles cupcakes and I’m yours. You can keep your frozen yogurt. I’m only interested in real ice cream and gelato. Basically it’s like I was brought up on margarine (which I was) and now nothing but butter will do (mmm, butter).

And the same goes with non-dessert indulgences. I’m not going to waste my time on McDonald’s when I can have a delicious grass-fed piece of perfectly cooked meat at Bareburger. If I’m going to have pizza, it better be the best NY has to offer. Your body is more than a temple. Temples are everywhere. Your body is the freaking Taj Mahal. It’s one-of-a-kind. It’s all you have. So treat it as such.

Be discerning. Be picky. Be a snob. You’re allowed. The more you care about what you put into your body in general, the better your choices. Even if and when you indulge, those indulgences aren’t 'bad' foods. They’re simply choices you’re making. I plan ahead when I know I’m going to indulge and I make sure to go all in. Don’t half-ass it. Make sure you value every single bite and don’t feel anything but enjoyment when you’re done. There’s no guilt.

Make your choices ‘worth it.’ Because you are.