It’s well known that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, weight loss is likely to occur.
In this way, the reward-based cheat meal or cheat day strategy may be effective if you’re able to execute a well-planned diet and maintain overall reduced calorie intake.
However…there are a few things to bear in mind:
Don’t Do This
1. Get consumed by guilt
If you think of foods as “good” or “bad”, this can relate your food choices to you as a person being “good” or “bad”.
There are certainly times when people overeat unhealthy foods and feel emotionally and/or physically bad afterwards. The other extreme can be when people deprive themselves completely of all foods they consider “bad”, like ice cream, chips or chocolate, and then unnecessarily lack enjoyment in their diet or eventually overindulge.
It’s really your total diet and total lifestyle that matters.
In other words, let go of the guilt and return to healthier choices at your next eating occasion.
One indulgence won’t make or break a mostly healthy menu.
2. Turn a cheat meal into a cheat day/week/month
While it’s perhaps best not to use the word “cheat”, it’s perfectly fine to occasionally indulge.
Just do it smartly.
Choose one thing you really want, whether it’s ice cream or a pina colada, but don’t give yourself excuses to turn the one indulgence into a whole day or week of overindulging!
Another way to look at this: Have the fry-up at brunch, but then steer yourself toward a luscious seasonal salad at your next meal.
After all, when you drop your smart phone and crack the screen, you don’t take the next chance to hurl it across the room.
Apply that thinking to your menu. Have what you want, but don’t turn it into all-day cheat fest.
Do This Instead
1. Indulge your cravings
Conquer your cravings by eating the food you are craving.
Denying your body what it really wants often leads to either obsessing about the food, or continuing to eat and seek out foods that won’t ever satisfy you.
Either one can lead to over-eating.
2. Pinpoint what you’re craving…
…and make it healthier.
Have a hankering for something chocolatey?
Or maybe you’re craving something cheesy or creamy? Take note of what it is you’re really after and then try a subbing something that provides some of the same qualities.
Eat what you crave, just make it with wholesome foods instead of overly processed C.R.A.P. (Chemicals, Refined sugar & flour, Artificial stuff, Preservatives