If you have chosen to lose weight or are trying to reach certain health and fitness goals (such as increasing muscle mass or changing your body fat percentage) you might follow a structured eating plan to achieve that goal. Perhaps you are decreasing your overall calorie intake or following certain macronutrient guidelines like increasing your protein intake or reducing saturated fat.
But even with the utmost dedication, it can be hard to maintain a structured diet perfectly every single day. Over time, it can take a serious toll on you, bringing you down both emotionally and physically. So some people enjoy what they call a "cheat meal".
🍩 Don't get consumed by guilt. There are certainly times when people overeat unhealthy foods and feel emotionally and/or physically bad afterwards. The other extreme can be when people deprive themselves completely of all foods they consider ‘bad,’ like ice cream, French fries or chocolate, and then unnecessarily lack enjoyment in their diet or eventually overindulge. It’s really your total diet and total lifestyle that matters. Let go of the guilt and return to healthier choices at your next eating occasion.
🍩 Don't turn a cheat meal into a cheat day, week or month. It’s perfectly fine to occasionally indulge. Just do it smartly. Choose one thing you really want, whether it’s ice cream or a pina colada, but don’t give yourself excuses to turn the one indulgence into a whole day or week of overindulging.
🍩 Don't go into a indulgent meal starving. If you know you’re heading to eat with friends, it’s helpful to plan smartly. You want to spend time with friends, not inhale the first thing you see. If you are eating at a planned time, try to munch on a banana or a bowl of berries before heading out.
🍩 Indulge in your cravings. The best food to conquer a craving is the food you are craving. Denying your body what it really wants often leads to either obsessing about the food, or continuing to eat and seek out foods that won't ever satisfy you. Either one can lead to over-eating.
🍩 Try and pinpoint what you are craving and see if you can make it healthier. Have a craving for something chocolatey? Or maybe you’re something cheesy or creamy? Take note of what it is you’re really craving and then try subbing something that is similar, but healthier than the treat itself!
🍩 Create a buffer when you know you are going to indulge. This is a way of both having a plan and getting back on track. If you know you're heading to a restaurant or party, eat lighter meals both before and afterwards. If lunch is particularly heavy, maybe skip your snack for that day. Stay tuned to your body — when it’s hungry and when it’s full — so that you are naturally managing portion sizes of your not-so-healthy meal. Don't be restrictive here, it’s more about being mindful of your choices.
The gist of cheat meals:
Are you craving ice cream? Then treat yourself! Every healthy nutrition plan should leave some room for your favourite foods. With food tracking, you can simply plan your small indulgences: enter tonight’s ice cream in your diary first thing in the morning. That way you know how many calories you have to spare during the day without exceeding your goal. The secret is everything in moderation.
xx The Tammy Fit Team