Hey guys and gals! I am currently on baby duty hoping my son falls asleep soon. As I’m laying with him I can’t help but feel guilty for the cheat meal I just had (Mexican food, it gets me every time). Every week after my so-called cheat meal I feel a sense of guilt within my stomach, in this case I think it’s the salsa. I’m sure many of you can relate, the satisfying taste and feeling while devouring your heavily anticipated meal followed almost immediately with the feeling of guilt and regret. Feeling this way really stinks, right? Whelp that got me thinking, just how harmful are these weekly cheat meals?
First off if you didn’t know, a cheat meal is any food that you consume that is outside of your normal eating habits or diet. For example, if you are on a no carb diet (which I am against, the weight loss is mostly due to water secretion from the body) then your cheat meal would be something like pizza because it is high in carbohydrates and out of your normal weekly eating habits.
Now that we all know what a cheat meal is, I’m sure we can all relate now. So exactly how bad are cheat meals?
Not bad at all if you are following your diet properly, I actually highly recommend having a cheat meal once a week. Anyone who has dieted hard for a long period of time knows it is HARD to not cheat, more than anything I highly recommend cheat meals to help with the psychological aspect of weight loss. Working out is only half the battle, nutrition is the other, if we in our mind hate our diet we will correlate this with exercise, thus making us hate the gym and discourage us from reaching our goals.
The biggest struggle people find when losing weight is feeling discouraged, this makes us not want to continue. So why would we do something that will eventually lead to us quitting. The cheat meal is meant to have something to look forward to, as a reward for your hard work throughout the week -because let’s face it, after a week without junk food, you deserve it. If our will stays strong and we can keep from getting discourage, we can achieve our goals.
From a scientific standpoint, there is nothing that supports the use or non-use of a cheat meal to reach one’s goals. However, a scientific study done on 2 groups of males all similar in physically and following the same exercise routing had one group on a strict diet without “cheat meals” and one group that was allowed a cheat meal every week. At the end of the study the group allowed to have a cheat meal lost wore weight then the strict diet group. It was never proven that the cheat meal was in fact the reason for the increased weight loss. From this study, I think it is safe to say a weekly cheat meal will not harm your weight loss.
It’s funny how the mind works, we will crave things we normally don’t just because we know we can’t have it. It’s like children who only want to play with something someone else is playing with. So, to those out of the ordinary cravings I say give in! just be sure your eating habits are 90% within your diet and 10% cheating.
Be sure you are having a cheat meal and not a cheat buffet/day. Remember if you ingest a crazy amount of food like let’s say 6000 calories, then you are eating 2 lbs. worth of food! Be smart and realistic, but always-always enjoy those meals! :)
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