This story originally appeared on Health.com by Blake Bakkila
Social media is a minefield of personal stories about health and nutrition. You know the type—an influencer or random person extols the virtues of eating a certain food or sticking to a specific diet, telling followers that if they want to get healthy or lose weight, just do what they did (or don't do it, if that's the case).
So when we came across a recent bikini selfie from California-based fitness influencer Shannon Eng that teased a headline about what happened to her body after she ate a cookie every day for a week, we just couldn't turn away. (Related: Why You Should Give Up Restrictive Dieting Once and for All)
So what did happen, according to Eng?
ALERT‼️ I ATE A COOKIE EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED! _ LOL. So ok. Not much of a newsflash here, because nothing really happened. I didn’t gain weight. The only thing that happened here is that I was so excited about cookies that I perfected my booty shake. Or maybe invented a new dance move called the hip wobble! Lol. _ Am I advocating that you eat a cookie every day? Maybe, if that’s your thing! Can you fit it into your macros? Absolutely! My point is this: I ate a cookie every day. It only added 130 calories per day and on a 1800 calorie/day plan it’s a very small part overall! If you ate something that’s perceived as not healthy, that’s ok! One cookie doesn’t change your diet plan all that much. _ So can you maintain your weight or lose weight even if you eat a cookie every day? Of course you can. Moderation and balance is key. _ The problem with restrictive diets is that they’re not sustainable. Let’s say that cookies are my favorite not so healthy thing to eat. And I decided to restrict myself from eating them. One day, I’m just going to give into my craving or a friend is going to offer me some cookies and I’m going to go bananas and binge eat them! _ On the other hand, if I enjoy a small cookie in moderation once a day, the next time my friend offers some cookies I’ll enjoy one and not go overboard! Because I’ve been practicing the art of moderation and eating the things I want from time to time. _ What’s your favorite not so healthy food? Comment below and remember that even a cookie a day can be part of a balanced meal plan! #cookiemonster #cookies #iifym #macrocounting #mealprep #mealplan #balanceddiet #balancedlife #treatyoself #mealprepideas #cheatmeal #foodplan #weightloss
"I didn't gain weight," she wrote on Instagram. "The only thing that happened here is that I was so excited about cookies that I perfected my booty shake."
With so many posts boasting about the positive effects of a certain food or sounding the alarm over a diet that backfired, this post was a huge breath of fresh air. Sure it's important to eat a balanced diet. But it's also inspiring to read about someone who indulged her sweet tooth . . . and suffered no side effects except joy. (See: Please Stop Feeling Guilty About What You Eat)
"Am I advocating that you eat a cookie every day?" Eng continued in her post. "Maybe, if that's your thing … If you ate something that's perceived as not healthy, that's okay! One cookie doesn't change your diet plan all that much." Amen to that. (Related: What Is Intuitive Eating? A Nutritionist Weighs In on This Popular Anti-Diet)
Eng also commented on restrictive diets and how difficult these are to stay on since they have so many limitations.
"They're not sustainable," she said. "Let's say that cookies are my favorite not so healthy thing to eat. And I decided to restrict myself from eating them. One day, I'm just going to give into my craving or a friend is going to offer me some cookie and I'm going to go bananas and binge eat them!" (Did you know that labeling foods as "good" or "bad" can have an impact on your mental health?)
We love the way Eng called out the idea that certain foods are "good" or "bad." And we're on board with what she learned about her body: that being healthy means striking a balance between nutritious foods your body hungers for and the treats that make you happy.