Have you ever started a diet and felt extremely restricted or deprived? The truth is, you don’t have to feel this way to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle! You can enjoy your favorite foods all while eating healthy and still losing weight. One way to do this is to include a cheat meal into your week so you can go out and taste all the flavors of your favorite dishes. It is important to remember that eating one meal per week that is off track will not derail your progress but rather may be very beneficial in helping you reach your goals!
Dr. Goglia has a few tips to help you navigate your cheat meal in a smart way, leaving you satisfied and set up to avoid turning your one cheat meal into a cheat day or perhaps a cheat weekend. If you are struggling to figure out what this looks like check out these tips for the next time you are out looking to plan out your cheat meal!
Don’t Deprive Yourself
The most important part of going into your cheat meal is setting your day up just like you would any other day. To help you stay successful and get back on track easily, try to stick to your normal meal and snack routines prior to your cheat meal. If you are going to enjoy your cheat meal for dinner, have a healthy and filling breakfast and lunch just as you would on any other day. Be sure to get your snacks in as well and track what you can! Setting your day up like this will prevent you from going into your cheat meal feeling starving which may lead you to overeat. By going into your cheat meal having had enough meals and snacks you will be able to slow down and take the time to choose what you want and enjoy it without being tempted to overeat.
Keeping to One Cheat Meal
Be sure to focus on keeping your cheat meal to just that- one cheat meal! If you begin the morning with sweets or indulgent foods you are more likely to spend the rest of the day eating more of these foods rather than making the healthier choices. Setting yourself up to enjoy a lunch or dinner out while eating your regular meals and snacks surrounding that will help keep you in control and resist the urge to binge on other foods; turning your cheat meal into a whole day event.
What to Enjoy
A cheat meal is just what it sounds like- cheating-on your regularly planned meals. A cheat meal can include foods that you normally would stay away from including dairy, breads, and high sugar or high fat foods. An example of a cheat meal can be a few slices of pizza and one or two beers or a burger and fries at your favorite burger joint. Enjoying one indulgent meal like that will not diminish any progress you have made; its when you turn the few slices of pizza into a whole pizza, fries, ice cream, and beer that you may run into a problem!
How Does a G-Plans Client View Cheat Meals?
G-Plans user Sarah Mahoney describes her cheat day as enjoying her favorite pulled pork sandwich on a warm bun and ending her meal with a small piece of her favorite cheesecake. She allows herself to enjoy an indulgent meal like this so her mind doesn’t move toward the all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to the way she eats. She looks forward to her favorite meals and likes to spend her Saturdays eating her cheat meal with her best friends. She gets right back on track in the evening or the next day depending on when her meal is and never feels guilty, deprived, or frustrated with her progress or meal choices.
The next time you are feeling like you are missing some of your favorite foods, remember that you can always enjoy them in moderation! Cheat meals are there so you don’t feel deprived and can have these indulgent foods in your week all while staying healthy and continuing to lose weight!