Are “Bad” Choices Part of Healthy Living?

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Confession: Sometimes I choose not to be healthy.

Exhibit A:

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Last night, I ate a crap-ton of ice cream for dinner for no reason other than I wanted to. I didn’t feel like cooking dinner and ice cream just sounded like a tasty option.

As a healthy living blogger, eating ice cream for dinner probably doesn’t seem like the healthiest meal, but healthy living is all about choices, right? Ok, well, it’s more about making choices that are good for you, but sometimes making a “bad” choice is okay too.

To me, healthy living means making good choices as much as possible, but not all of the time. Sometimes, “good” choices can be “unhealthy” ones, such as sharing a plate of nachos with a friend, drinking a half bottle of champagne during a celebration, or skipping a Body Pump class to sleep in. I mean, doesn’t a truly healthy life include indulgences and leisure on occasion?

Nutritionally-speaking, an ice cream dinner probably didn’t do my body any favors, but this “bad” choice was good for my mind and soul. It was fun to eat and made me happy! It also didn’t hinder my healthy living efforts one bit. Indulging actually got the craving out of my system, so today my body wants healthy, nutritious foods. Weirdly, I guess that’s a bonus of eating an ice cream dinner!

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Question of the Day

Are “bad” choices part of healthy living?

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178 Comments

  1. Absolutely! It’s all about balance. If a person were to be so strict with themselves that they NEVER had an “unhealthy” meal or snack, I would say THAT is unhealthy. It’s over obsession and being too strict. Life is to be enjoyed, so the occasional indulgence is absolutely necessary to have a healthy balanced lifestyle. By the way, those two flavors of ice cream you got there are DEFINITELY my two top favorites! Good choices!

  2. “Bad” choices are totally part of healthy living…you wouldn’t be human otherwise! I mean, sure, I could eat 100% good-for-you stuff, but I need a life! I appreciate how you show it all on CnC, and I try to do the same on my blog.

  3. Agree 100%. I had a bacon grilled cheese sandwich for dinner last night. Healthy? Not necessarily. Delicious? You bet! And like you said, now the craving is out of my system and I can move on from it. The world didn’t come to an end b/c I didn’t eat the healthiest meal for dinner.

  4. Who doesn’t love (read: NEED) ice cream or cheese fries or greasy pizza or awesome mexican food sometimes?? Who cares! The point is to make wholesome, healthy choices most of the time, not all of the time. No one is perfect nor should we be.

  5. To me, healthy living means being in touch with your body and knowing what it needs and craves. So if your body craves an ice cream-only dinner, honor it! So many people have very rigid views about what qualifies as “healthy.” Yes, eating plenty of greens, exercising five days a week, and limiting sugar intake are undeniably “healthy” measures – but so is honoring your cravings and trusting that your body will let you know what it wants.

  6. life is about balance…balance is good and it’s important. like you said, your body lets you know what it needs. I once saw an interview with Victoria Beckham and she said she never even eats a cookie! How sad! at least she has that handsome husband! 🙂

  7. Healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Can’t deprive yourself of foods you love and that taste good, and everything is “good” for you in moderation. I had a bunch of ice cream last night too (in addition to dinner 🙂 Summer won’t last long so got to enjoy the cold treat as much as we can.
    I love Bondi Bands! I have 4 of them and they are fantastic. They stay put and keep sweat out of eyes.

  8. agreed. i find when I get on major nutrition kicks I become OCD about it and it not only drives me crazy, but everyone around me tooo. Of course I always feel better after a great nutritious meal, but that is what makes the occasional indulgence so awesome.

  9. From experience, to me what is incredibly unhealthy is the idea of perfection, in terms of food choices or physicality. If you aim for “perfect” you’ll fail over and over again and just feel horrible. You’re goddamn right “bad” choices are part of healthy living, and by the way, let’s save the word “bad” for things that are truly bad 🙂

  10. I once emailed my mom a recipe I had found for triple chocolate brownies that looked amazing, but probably a million calories a piece. I’ll never forget her response, which was that they looked “not at all health conscious, but lest we not de-value the importance of chocolate for our mental health.” It rang so true with me then, and still does!

  11. There is no need for perfection and there is nothing wrong with indulging a craving once in awhile. I think it’s only a problem if you eat ice cream for dinner once a week.

    I eat healthy 95% of the time but do indulge if I feel the need. Allowing this, helps me eat well most of the time.

      1. @L:

        No, what I am saying is that eating ice cream for dinner frequently is probably not a recipe for healthy living. As far as how often someone should indulge, that is different for every person and what works for them.

  12. Can I just thank you for this post? I read several of the healthy living blogs and honestly yours in the only one that never makes me feel guilty about my own choices. You set an unusually good example of balance. You strive to make good nutritional choices but you also do not apologize for enjoying yourself. I have a hard time not berating myself when I don’t eat 100% healthy foods 100% of the time. Thank you for being honest and demonstrating that the good health you work so hard to achieve can be maintained while still enjoying thoughfully chosen indulgences.

  13. Occasional bad choices are a part of healthy living, in my book. To constantly watch what you eat is hard to do. Indulgences every now and then are healthy, maybe not for the body, but definitely for the mind.

  14. I don’t consider it “Bad”. I’m not on a diet. I’m choosing to make healthy lifestyle choices with my exercise and my food. Part of that means eating cheesecake and a big juicy burger. Not every day. Not every week. But once in awhile! And it doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole thing. Sometimes I split a slice of cheesecake with the boyfriend and that’s the perfect amount.

  15. Eating ice cream for dinner isn’t necessarily a “bad” choice though. It’s just a choice. I usually eat what I think my body needs most of the time, and sometimes it needs some sugar and fats. I feel like the problem with being a blogger though is that you are constantly being analyzed by your readers under a microscope, so it makes it feel like a “bad” choice. You need to do what’s best for you, your body, and your mind, and if you feel like you need to eat ice cream, then do it! (Just not for every meal, of course!!)

  16. Yes I think so, its hard to be happy when you feel deprived, its all about moderation. And even if moderation means being super healthy all week and eating ice cream for dinner one night.

    Also Chubby Hubby ice cream is my secret addiction. I love that stuff in moderation of course

  17. I totally agree! To me, healthy = balance = occasional ice cream dinner. Yesterday I went to the movies with my mom and totally indulged in a little movie theater popcorn, which I know is certainly not very nutritious, but it tasted great! It’s not like I’m stuffing my face with that crap everyday, so I know that once in a while isn’t going to make or break my health.

  18. So glad to know I am not the only one who will eat ice cream for dinner 🙂 Everything in moderation!

  19. I definitely think so! If you don’t indulge from time to time, you won’t be able to stay on track. Your body will crave chocolate, or ice cream (super jealous, btw!), or cake, or margaritas, and you won’t be able to stick to healthier choices as often. Besides, what’s the point of being good so often if you never get the chance to be bad every now and then???

  20. I wouldn’t consider the choice to have ice cream for dinner necessarily a bad choice, now, if you chose ice cream for dinner every night – that’d be a bad choice.

    I think choices like that are indeed part of healthy living. For your psyche, for the well being of your sanity! Without decisions to eat nachos, drink beer, or have ice cream for dinner – life would be boring. And, I feel, if I limit myself on stuff like this and I’m overly strict, I’ll just end up bingeing, which is a bad choice.

    Thanks for sharing that OpenSky Deal – I’m buying the ones you pictured, they fit my personality PERFECT.

  21. Everything in moderation is key! I am still learning about this every day.

    BTW- I tried ordering that bondi band bundle and it said the sale ended. Boo, that is what I get for living on the west coast.

  22. Ha ha ha! I had a day like that yesterday too! I don’t think they’re “bad” choices, just choices. But, it says something when I’m thinking about trying to hide it on my blog. I think it’s good to show that we’re not healthy all the time. Otherwise they’re too much pressure, right? 🙂 YOur blog inspires me. If only my cat was as cute as Murphy……

  23. I had cookies for dinner last night. Flourless peanut butter cookies…with a glass of lactose free milk to dunk them in. I don’t even feel bad about it 🙂 Today, I’m back on the healthy train.

  24. Thank you for posting this! I think that as healthy living bloggers, we get put into a category of eating perfect 100% of the time, when the reality is, we need to indulge too! I can’t stand it when someone says they NEVER eat junk food. Seriously, get a life!

  25. Indulgences are the key to a healthy lifestyle! If you end up restricting yourself of any kind of treats, you may end up binging when you do eat. If you can have some treats and not feel bad about it, I think that’s a healthy balance. 🙂

  26. Of course “bad” choices are part of healthy living! Bad choices are only so because society dictates they are. Sometimes I have cookies or chips for dinner. Do I do this every night? Of course not. Some days you just need to give your mind and soul ice cream!

  27. Amen, sister.

    I eat a block of chocolate every single day and “balance it out” with an huge bowl of vegetables. It makes me happy. Happiness is healthiness. Therefore I’m golden. 😛

  28. Love this! I definitely agree that “bad” choices are a part of healthy living. I live by the key word “balance”. It’s all about filling your diet with nutritious healthy food, along with the indulgences as well. And I like to look at my diet, like my exercise, as a whole. Instead of focusing on that one day you skipped your workout or had dessert for dinner…I like to look at the whole picture of my eats or workouts for the last couple weeks or months…that paints the whole picture of healthy living 🙂

  29. Yes, yes, yes. Healthy living is just that – living. And living without B&J’s peanut butter cup is not an existence I want to have!

  30. Tina,
    I may the be the first to pose some different thoughts… First of all, let me say that this post is why I LOVE you!!! Because it shows me that people who I may put up on a pedastal of “health nut” are PEOPLE too… That being said, I’m really jealous of your ability to control it. You see, I have had a resurgence of “giving in” to my cravings… it started in May. Seriously. I have such an unbalanced relationship with food right now, that I finally said to my boyfriend last night… NO MORE ICE CREAM. At one point I had sworn off of it for two years(when I lost 200lbs.) I do hope to get to a place where I can enjoy things in moderation, because I think that is the ultimate… being in control, having a taste here and there; not spiraling into 3 months of binge eating. Your HONESTY, and your comfort in your choices keep me reading. It’s all relative… to me you are an example of healthy living. Cheers to you!

  31. Absolutely…its all about balance. If you like ice cream, eat ice cream. Otherwise you spend more time wishing you had ice cream and you make yourself mentally overwhelmed. If you indulge in quality products (like Ben and Jerry’s), it makes it all the more worthwhile to splurge. If you limit yourself to low quality generic no-fat ice cream, you never satisfy that craving. Keep the positive thoughts and eat quality ice cream.

  32. Yes, “bad choices” are absolutely part of a healthy lifestyle! In fact, I have a whole theory around this (I call it Wicked Healthy). Check out my blog post on it: http://wp.me/p1q6vt-17

    I blog about this idea FREQUENTLY. Most recently I wrote an article called Wicked Healthy: 7 Vices That Are Good For You http://wp.me/p1q6vt-5V

    Okay, gonna stop there…I could go on and on!!

  33. Honoring a hard core craving without guilt is okay. It’s not like you do this all of the time. It would be unhealthy to suppress your craving and put shame and guilt on yourself for wanting a bunch of ice cream one night.
    You have been a great example of what it means to live healthfully and not being perfect 100% of the time is part of that.
    Thank you for sharing and keep on being you!

  34. Well I guess my input on this topic goes like this: from where I sit, I find one of the best things about your blog is that you DO eat food that may not always show up on other healthy living blogs AND you usually don’t even spend heaps of time defending/justifying your choice (you just do it)….like eating something that may not be organic or local, eating junkfood at gatherings (or at home), having seconds and feeling ok about,eating store brands and not always having to shop at whole foods…AND also eating all of those things that we KNOW are healthy…..Part of health and wellness is making that conscious effort and you obviously do that as evidenced by what you show here and of course because you’ve decided to make this the focus of your blog……though I enjoy your other life experiences you are afterall not a house and home blog.

  35. Healthy is unique in that it is different for every person. The dictionary can give you a loose concept, but it is ultimately up to us to determine the specifics. It doesn’t just involve nutrition or fitness or weight; it is the rare trifecta of mind, body, and soul that lies at the root of “healthy.” It is the feeling of being at peace with yourself and your body. And above all, it is the knowledge that indulging in a couple pints of ice cream every once in awhile is more than worth the end result: a simple smile.

  36. “Bad” choices are DEFINITELY part of healthy living! That is the message I am trying to get across in my new blog, Fitness & Feta. In fact, my post the other day (http://fitnessandfeta.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/greek-festival/) was all about my day of “cheating” and then how I made up for it the next day with healthier choices and a fun workout. If we don’t let our bodies give in to cravings every once in awhile, we will just end up overeating/binging anyways because we are all human! Moderation is key. 🙂

  37. Yes, I think that “bad” choices are part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone once and a while my best friend and I go out to a buffet and we don’t hold back. Should anyone eat that much in one sitting, probably not, but like you said, it does the mind and soul good. We spend hours at the restaurant just eating and chatting and catching up with each other. Tonight was one of those buffet nights and I was debating posting everything I ate or just the highlights. After some deep thinking I decided to post all my plates (they were even a part of my first ever WIAW). Yes, it was a lot, but I’m being real and the truth is this “bad” choice represents such a small portion of my whole, overall lifestyle. That’s what I think a healthy lifestyle is: the ability to balance. Thanks for the great post and discussion!

  38. I don’t think it is a bad choice, I mean sure ice cream doesn’t have nutrients (except calcium 😉 ) but that doesn’t mean you can NEVER have it. Like many other people seem to be saying, it truly is about moderation. I pretty much eat a dessert type thing every night and I balance it out with exercise and heathy eating during the day (sometimes not). I think one dessert for dinner for one night once in a while won’t hurt, because healthy living is about the long run, not one night. Thanks for the great post, I love all the comments!

  39. I’m just curious, what is your definition (or anyone’s) of moderation? Once a day? A few times a week? Or do you think we have our own opinions of what “moderation” really is? Of course, dessert at every meal isn’t really moderation, but for me, dessert once a day is (if not sometimes more).

    1. @Lorin: I think it’s different for everyone. For me, enjoying dessert once (or twice) a day is perfectly fine. I also think portion size is important with regard to moderation. My desserts, for instance, are often pretty small and sometimes they’re even healthy-ish (ex: Banana Soft Serve with chocolate chips).

  40. I’m all about the moderation… I can’t eliminate just one thing from my diet entirely, unless completely necessary for health reasons, but I think a little ice cream here and there, sweet potato fries, drinks with friends… these are the things which make life fun!!!

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