No girl is a stranger to dieting. It is as commonplace as eating nowadays, especially with all the fad diets around that have you nixing this and replacing it with that.
When it comes to dieting, though, cheat meals are usually recommended to keep you from overindulging when you just can’t anymore. But, are cheat meals really all that great, and if so, how do they help?
Benefits of a cheat meal
When you’re able to stick to a diet, it can be great for the body. You’re eating less fat and sugar and are giving your body a lot of the nutrients it needs in the form of wholesome and healthy meals.
The problem with going on a diet is that it can shock your body. You get used to certain levels of leptin, which is the hormone that maintains the energy balance in the body, and when you restrict your body of your normal levels, you go into a constant state of starvation. This is where overeating comes in.
So, when you indulge yourself in a cheat meal once in a while, say every week, it helps to keep those levels in check and you’re more likely to avoid binge eating later on in your diet. A caloric restriction can also affect the thyroid, which actually decreases your metabolism, which will hinder your ability to lose weight anyway, so not having a cheat meal could actually be bad for your weight loss goals.
Everything in moderation
It’s true that cheat meals are beneficial for a weight loss program, so it’s important to remember that overfeeding yourself can lead to a habit of overeating. For example, a cheat meal can be some pizza and soda if that’s your poison, but eating two large pizzas and guzzling 2 liters of soda isn’t going to be good for you no matter how seldom you do it. When having cheat meals, remember to eat only until you’re satiated.
More than just your body
Dieting takes more than just physical willpower. It takes a good sound mind to be able to limit calories and push through the cravings for all the things you want to eat but can’t.
It has a profound affect on your mind in the way that if you have a hard time controlling yourself when it comes to guilty pleasures, then even just a taste could throw off your whole diet.
This could lead to a break down in the diet and a cheat day turns back into old habits and the end of all your hard work. On top of this, failing yet another attempt at dieting could cause you to feel guilty or ashamed of yourself, which will then affect your ability to get back on the horse. It’s important to remember that if you do stray from a diet, there’s no reason you can’t get right back to it and start over.
Successful cheat meals
There are a few ways to have cheat meals so that they don’t become habit and you stick to your diet without overeating. It’s best to have one a week and no more than that. You can treat it as a reward for all your hard work during the week, which will make the cheat meal that much more worthwhile.
If you know that you’re going to be going out for dinner with friends or someone’s birthday is coming up, plan the cheat meal around these social events. This will help you stick to the diet by allowing you to cheat while you’re out, not having to worry about counting calories while everyone around you is indulging in delicious meals that are off limits on your diet.
It’s also better to cheat on a day you know you’ll be working out so that you will still be working off some of the calories that you’ll be taking in. This will ensure that you’re not letting those calories sit and turn into fat, which could cause you to feel as though you’ve failed.
Love what you eat
If you used to be addicted to potato chips, then it’s a good idea to allow yourself to have them in moderation with your cheat meal. If your cheat meal doesn’t include something you absolutely love, then you’re defeating the purpose of it. You want to make sure you’re getting the foods you love at the same time as sticking to a diet so that you don’t overindulge later. Eat what you want on those cheat days, not just more food.
These are just a few tips for incorporating cheat meals into your diet and how to do it without jeopardizing your progress. Do you eat cheat meals, and if so, what are your tips for staying on track while still enjoying what you love?