Let’s face it, as beneficial as clean and healthy eating can be for our bodies, we unfortunately can’t deny the fact that it is also pretty boring and soul destroying from time to time, especially if you’ve been at it for months upon months and have had to deny yourself the foods and drinks that you craved for fear of damaging your progress and not meeting your goals and targets. Of course healthy eating needn’t be boring as there are literally thousands upon thousands of healthy recipes out there that are not only great for you, but that also taste fantastic in the process. If we’re being honest however, we need to face facts that more often than not, even healthy alternatives, as tasty as they may be, will simply not be as delicious or satisfying as their unhealthy, full-fat counterparts. As tasty and beneficial as an extra lean steak burger, with low-fat cheese, extra salad, and a whole wheat bun, will be, it just isn’t going to compare with a greasy, bacon double cheeseburger with extra cheese, onion rings, BBQ sauce, and crispy fries. Sometimes when we’re feeling crappy, no amount of rice cakes, chicken breast, or cottage cheese is going to fill the void and perk us up, and sometimes a cheat meal will do you the world of good. Like all things in life, cheat meals must be consumed in moderation, which is easier said than done once you get a taste for something. If you’re looking to enjoy a cheat meal now and then, without ruining your progress and making you feel awful in the process, take a look at these handy tips.
Exercise and eat your healthy produce first
If you’ve been dieting and busting your butt in the gym all week, and have been counting down the hours until the weekend arrives and you can finally enjoy that pizza, or burger, or whatever else you’ve been craving all week, the second you wake up, food will be one of the first things you think about. A lot of people will be unable to contain themselves and will gorge on unhealthy foods they’ve craved as soon as possible. That’s fine, but remember, it’s a cheat MEAL you’re enjoying, not a cheat DAY, so once you’ve had your meal, it’s back to the gym and back on the healthy produce for another week. The problem here is that if you chow down on a large pizza for dinner, a few hours later when you’re hungry again, a chicken salad wrap isn’t quite going to be as satisfying, and you’re more likely to say “screw it” cheat again, and get back on it the next day. One meal will suddenly become two, plus dessert, which will mean an extra 1000 calories or so, than you were planning on consuming. Instead, be disciplined, eat your healthy produce, drink your water, go to the gym, and wait until the evening to enjoy your meal. That way it will be more satisfying anyway because you can relax and be safe in the knowledge that you didn’t cheat.
If you don’t want something, don’t have it
Some days we may find ourselves not actually craving junk food at all, and all of a sudden that greasy, fatty, cheesy processed pizza we’ve been dreaming about all week, may not seem quite as appetizing. Despite this, we feel as if we NEED to eat it otherwise we feel like we’re missing out, and so will binge eat, will make ourselves feel bloated and sick, and truthfully we won’t even have enjoyed it. Put simply, if you don’t truly want something, then don’t have it and either have something else, or find a healthier alternative instead.
Stay off the scales for 3 days
Weighing scales, whilst being useful for giving us a rough idea of what we weigh, aren’t actually very productive at all, because they can’t distinguish between fat, muscle, or water. If you’ve been eating fresh, healthy, and natural foods all week, and drinking nothing but water, all it takes is one fatty, high carb, high sodium (salt) cheat meal to cause us to retain a heck of a lot of water due mainly to the salt the food contains. Many people get what is known as “sodium bloat” following a cheat meal, as the salt causes water retention, which leads to us becoming bloated and puffy. If you weigh yourself the next day, or even the next two days, after a cheat meal, it isn’t uncommon for you to have gained as much as 10 – 20 lbs in weight. Most people see this and freak out, but it is nothing more than water. Once you get back to healthy eating and drinking plenty of water, your body flushes excess water from its system, and you dropback down to your true weight. Don’t weigh yourself after a cheat meal because it will only shock and depress you, instead, wait 3 days for the water to pass, and then weigh yourself and you’ll find you’re only a pound heavier, or some people may actually be lighter.
Make healthier choices
As it’s a cheat meal, many of us think that it gives us free reign to binge eat on as many unhealthy foods and drinks as we possibly can, but in reality that isn’t the case at all. Say you’ve been craving a bacon double cheeseburger all week, then you go ahead and order your bacon double cheeseburger, but rather than ordering extra onion rings, chicken dippers, and French fries, why not instead go for a baked potato and side salad instead? If you had your heart set on the sides too, then order them by all means, but if you would still enjoy a baked potato with a little butter, instead of French fries fried in pork fat, then go ahead and order the potato instead, and save yourself a few hundred calories.