Cheat meals are the prized possessions of diet life. How many more miles do I have to run before I can eat a piece of cake? How much more broccoli do I eat before I can have a slice of pizza? Sometimes it seems like we work towards cheat meals rather than a slimmer body shape. However, when it comes to successful diets, there are right and wrong ways to cheat. These rules can be confusing, but they’re important to know if you want to diet effectively. Cheat meals are actually beneficial to your metabolism and increase your energy, along with being great rewards.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to cheating on your diet:
Do: Cheat at the end of the day
This is mostly a preventative measure. If you eat a cheat meal for breakfast, you’re more likely to cheat again throughout the day. By making a cheat meal the last thing you eat, you can ensure that you stick to your diet and maintain regulated insulin levels while avoiding bloating.
Don’t: Feel guilty about your cheat meal
As much as the Instagram-famous diet gurus of the world like to make us believe they diet perfectly, everyone gives into temptation and makes mistakes once in a while. It’s okay – don’t dwell on it. If you do slip up and eat something fattening, just admit it was wrong and learn from it.
Do: Make your cheat meals full of carbohydrates
While no-carb diets may seem tempting for weight loss, they aren’t healthy! Your body can only rely on fat as an energy source for so long, and at a certain point your glycogen levels will drain out of your muscles. To combat this, make sure your cheat meal is full of carbohydrates so you can give your body the glycogen it needs and speed up your metabolism.
Don’t: Cheat with meals that cause you to become overweight
The key to turning diets into habits is to create acquired tastes. Your tastebuds are used to certain foods, and some of those may be foods that made you overweight. If you keep using these foods for cheat meals, your diet will be unsuccessful. Teach yourself to stay away from them and the cravings will diminish.
Do: Schedule your cheat meals
Even though we label these as cheating, these meals should be programmed into your diet plan. Plan your cheat meals along with your regular meals so that you don’t skip or eat too much. Making a schedule with cheating included will reduce becoming crazy hungry or binge eating.
Don’t: Binge or gorge
Binging or gorging turns your cheat meal into a cheat day. Remember how hard you’re working and how much you’ve achieved, and don’t throw that to waste just because you’re craving a box of chocolate. Cheat meals are to satisfy certain cravings and reward yourself, not to overeat. It’s not worth it!
Do: Know your cheat meal tolerance
Cheat meals are a good mental break from a strict diet, but make sure they aren’t harming your health. If you see your occasional cheat meal turning your diet upside down and giving you uncontrollable cravings, it’s time to switch it up. You could try adding calories of diet foods or finding a different cheat.
Don’t: Make cheat meals your life
While it starts out as just a diet, the goal is to turn your diet into an everyday healthy lifestyle. If you focus solely on your next cheat meal, you may never accomplish this. Cheat meals are a starting point and can be molded into whatever works best for you personally.
Remember that cheat meals are not something that you should be ashamed of or hide. Embrace your cheat meals, and integrate them into your diet effectively. You’ll find that after some time, you won’t even need them. Stick to the rulebook and your cheat meals will become a small aid to the process.