When first starting your fitness or weight loss journey, it is always a daunting thought to have to get rid of your favourite foods causing a delay in your progress or worse crashing and binging! But what if there was a way where you could eat clean and still indulge in your favourite sweets or snacks? Is it possible and can it be beneficial to your weight loss journey? Studies show that it can!
The first step in this process is all about mindset, that being said we should nix the cheat meal concept as "cheating" and switch it to a sort of reward! Feeling guilty about eating one of your favourite meals can cause you to binge and undo all your hard work and set you back on your progress. Life is about balance and so should your eating habits!
We should also stay away from the term cheat day and switch it to just a cheat meal. Give yourself a few days out of the week where you will allow yourself to listen to your body and indulge in one craving and if you plan to have a bigger calorie meal on a certain day, make sure you place it on a day where you are having a good workout and reward yourself!
The good news about incorporating a cheat meal once in a while into your diet is that it can benefit your metabolism! This is due to the way our bodies are made and the types of hormones our bodies release when we eat a certain way. For instance your thyroid can be activated when you have a higher caloric intake as well as increase the leptin and ghrelin in your stomach leading to wanting to eat less.
Its very exciting to hear that there is a benefit to cheating occasionally when you eat clean, but you must remember that indulging should be a small window of time, as over indulging will cause you to lose your progress! One way you can prevent this is to plan ahead and be honest with yourself. When you do decide to have a cheat meal take the time to really enjoy it by using all your senses without distraction!
Some have difficulty stopping when they cheat; This is where being honest with yourself comes into play. Know your limits, and if you cannot stop, ask yourself if having a cheat meal is beneficial for you at all!