What is a cheat meal?
Cheat meals are essentially a planned overindulgence used to help undo some of the side effects caused from being in a calorie deficit (dieting to lose weight).
An accumulation of all those cravings you’ve had the past few days, thrown into one big calorie dense meal. Sounds great, but in reality often causes more damage than good; not only physically on your weight loss journey, but it can also affect your relationship with food.
So with that in mind, let’s jump into our 2 reasons why you should escape that ‘cheat meal’ mindset and practices.
1.You feel great when you’re doing it, but regretful after.
The satisfaction of satisfying those cravings will soon wear off after you’ve finished that final bite. Throughout that food coma, you’ll begin to think about what you’ve just done, the consistency you’ve damaged and potential progress you’ve hindered.
2.Cheat meals reinforce the ‘Good food, bad food’ mindset.
In recent years many food groups have been demonised and placed into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. Unfortunately the foods placed within each category primarily get put into these groups by the bias organisations supporting specific dieting methods – often as a marketing tactic. The reality of it is that creating this divide between good and bad food isn’t healthy. Labelling foods like this actually distorts your relationship with them, sometimes leading to unhealthy eating habits.
In fact, labelling foods leads you to consume more of them. Finding yourself over consuming ‘good’ foods (because they’re good, right?) whilst also over-consuming the ‘bad’ foods because, “in for a penny in for a pound”, right?
If no cheat meals, how should we approach it?
Develop more attainable nutritional habits! The vast majority of the popular dieting approaches that get traction in the media are very restrictive and for many of us, too restrictive for us to stay consistent with.
Instead, adopt an approach to your nutrition where you consume the unhealthier treats that you crave in moderation. Limit yourself to fewer portions of these treats per week rather than cutting them out all together, this way you’ll be far less likely to have that craving and urge to splurge on a big ‘cheat meal’.
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