Imagine your diet is watching. Are you dreaming about cheating on it?
What if instead of a single kiss, you’re craving the whole bag of Hershey’s kisses? Or an entire gallon of caramel milkshakes?
Many people find it tempting to cheat on their diets, but they’re afraid of sabotaging their hard work. How can you indulge in a cheat meal without ruining your diet?
Here’s everything you need to know about enjoying a cheat meal.
What is a Cheat Meal?
First off, I hate the term ‘diet.’ Always have. People always use it to describe ‘restrictions,’ instead of the other definition that literally means, ‘the totality of what you consume day in and day out.’ With that said, people go on diets with various goals in mind. It has a pretty negative connotation around it that implies you need to always restrict yourself from the things you love if you want to make any progress.
When you first change your diet, motivation is at its strongest. As time wears on, your cravings will rear their ugly, sweet-toothy heads.
A “cheat meal” is a meal where you allow yourself to indulge your cravings. Some people grant themselves a whole “cheat day,” but one cheat meal may be the wiser move. Cheat meals usually consist of high-calorie foods or foods outside your diet plan.
Whatever you’ve been craving most – pizza, ice cream, mozzarella sticks, wine – hold off until your cheat meal to consume. Some people schedule a designated meal, such as Friday night dinner, to be their cheat meal for the week.
Some suggest that a cheat meal may even help people stick to their diets long-term! Of course, there are some tactics for how to stick to a diet and incorporate cheat meals. After all, if you do fantastic sticking to your plan all week, why wreck it on a single day where you eat everything in site? You’ll never make any progress that way!
How to Enjoy a Cheat Meal
If you decide to have a cheat meal, consider your food choices. Without the proper mindset and some self-control, you could easily throw yourself off the wagon.
Just because you are eating a cheat meal doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. Pick one or two foods you’ve been craving intensely, and eat them in REASONABLE portions. Balance your cheat foods with essential vitamins, vegetables, and plenty of water.
When the cheat meal is over, resist the urge to reach for another handful of chips or a nibble of something sweet. Be firm with yourself and stay on track!
When you only have cheat meals on special occasions, you’ll want to savor every moment. Plate your whole meal and sit down to eat at the table. Avoid watching TV or scrolling through your phone, and instead, focus on the flavors and textures of your food.
Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full. There is no point in eating a whole pint of ice cream when you are no longer enjoying it.
Work it Out
You don’t have to sweat out every calorie, but adding extra exercise to your routine will help your body burn off your cheat meal. Make it a habit to go for a walk after dinner or attend a yoga/spin class in the morning. Something to stay active.
Whatever you do, don’t yo-yo yourself. Starving yourself the next day will only slow your metabolism. Instead, hop back into your plan and eat as you usually would. Focus on whole foods!
Reframe Your Thinking
Disordered eating habits can easily develop from the good-food-bad-food dichotomy of diets. The word “cheat” implies that some foods are “bad” or “guilty.
Be careful not to let toxic diet culture overwhelm your mind. Food is fuel; it shouldn’t be seen as a punishment or reward. Eating for pure enjoyment is okay sometimes.
Short and Sweet
A cheat meal is not likely to derail your whole diet, and it’s essential to have flexibility in your eating habits. If you decide to have a cheat meal, be mindful of your portions and commit to getting right back on track!
While a cheat meal can help you stay on track, a cheat day can derail you and quickly turn into a cheat week, month, or year if left unchecked. Grab a single meal every so often, but not more than once a week, that allows you to eat some of your favorites. Do it in moderation, and you’ll be golden. The whole best of both worlds mindset.
Let Us help You Out
At CONDITIONerd we are here to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans we offer to our customers and see if you could benefit from working with our team. And if you have questions, you can always contact a CONDITIONerd team member.
Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.
We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.
The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.
Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a CONDITIONerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.
Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner