When combating emotional eating, you need all possible tools at your disposal, and one of them is the cheat meal.
How Cheat Meals help you Lose Weight
When you’re on an eating plan or at least trying one it can be difficult to stay the path. Most of the time all you can think about is what you can’t eat and the temptation or pull, towards these foods becomes increasingly heavier as time goes on.
In other words you can only resist them for so long before you cave and when people do they usually go on a binge and eat all they can, feeling like their diet is just too hard or that their situation is hopeless.
And when they do binge it looks like an all out assault on every category of taboo foods they previously denied themselves. Fried foods, doughy, greasy, sweet and ultra sweet ones are all consumed in one day (or one meal) and the hangover is not pretty.
They then feel horrible about themselves, both emotionally and physically and either give up or try their diet again in a few days time. A built in cheat day diminishes the risk of this happening.
A cheat day acts as a salve, a pressure release so that when you do feel the urge you can tell yourself that whatever it is you desire you can have. You don’t have to forgo what you love to eat, it just has to be scheduled into your week.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT CHEAT DAYS
So how do you do it? Most people have a cheat day once per week where they can be either eating whatever they want the entire day, or just for one meal. For example you might eat clean the entire week and then on Saturday you decide you have pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza and ice cream for for dinner. You could also just eat one cheat meal for dinner but make it a huge one. A feast that you can really look forward to at the end of the day where the food takes up the whole table and your smile becomes semi-permanent.
It all depends on what each individual needs at the time so if you’re just getting started on a new diet plan and you want really want to make sure you stick to it, you might want to have an entire day dedicated to cheating as you’re not used to eating clean for 6 days straight.
Over time you can clean that up so that the entire day is perhaps one or two cheat meals and maybe they’re different in that they are not as junkie as they were originally.
Another option is just to have two or three light cheat meals throughout the week. That way you get to look forward to food that you really enjoy, three times a week and it doesn’t feel like you are waiting an eternity to get to the end of the week so you can finally have food that you love and are really looking forward to. This way it doesn’t feel like you’re needing as much willpower to get yourself through your diet.
Yet another way of going about this is to just have one cheat item every single day. So in this example what you do is you would eat clean throughout the entire day and then have one thing, let’s say at the end of the day, that you’re really looking forward to so that every single day you wake up in the morning knowing that at least on this day your willpower only has to last until the end of it.
And so it would feel easier to stick to. An example of this might be eating an entire bowl of sugar free chocolate pudding at the end of the day, or maybe a meal of three pieces of fried chicken, or perhaps eating some popcorn which is a high-volume food without that many calories in it.
I don’t think there’s any 1 best way to do this, to implement a cheat meal or cheat meals into your week. What matters is that your diet is successful and for that to happen you have to be able to stay on it for a long period of time. The diet would usually be one that is low in sugar and lower in carbs – see the page on insulin here.
I recommend that you just jump right in, make a whole bunch of mistakes and see what works for you. If you need one meal a day, meaning one cheat meal a day, in the manner that we talked about (for example popcorn or a huge high-fat dressing salad or fried chicken) then so be it. Start from there and see how you can tweak it over time to make it healthier and to make it more effective for you to lose weight.
Because in the end that’s really what matters. Getting quality food into your body and shedding those pounds and if you have to do that eating fried food and desserts then that’s okay because losing weight will make you healthier in the long run.
Here’s to cheat days and to enjoying them guilt free.
THE EATING LOVE GUIDE (FREE)
The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.