Are Cheat Meals Making You Fatter?

Mindsmatter

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You’ve been working your butt off in the gym and your friends just invited you out for pizza and beer. Is this the cheat meal that will help you reset and save your sanity? Is this one indulgence going to help you bide off cravings and give you more willpower to continue a successful diet? Or are you asking for trouble?

Does eating a cheat meal only make you hungrier? Because when you binge eat, it makes it impossible for you to get the results you’re after. Let’s explore this. Using the term cheat meal is inherently bad because by definition, a cheat meal is something better than what you’re currently eating. If you need a cheat meal every week than the diet that you’re eating Monday through Friday is somehow unappealing, less interesting and tasteless, which sets the stage for temptation.

This is a classic mind over matter scenario. When you have a bad outlook on your weekly meal plan, will you believe that what you’re eating now is a sacrifice? Then you’re more likely to give in to temptation. You’ll put yourself under intentional and unnecessary stress. You’ll resent your diet.

It won’t be long before you fall into the slippery slope from one harmless cheat meal to one entire cheat day. When you don’t like your diet, you’re at risk for throwing in the towel, regaining some or all of the weight you lost. You could even put on more. In other words, hating your diet and wanting to overindulge in a cheat meal is going to ruin everything you’ve accomplished. So what can you do to avoid falling off the bandwagon?

It’s A Marathon…

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How can you enjoy your diet and not have a need for that weekly cheap meal? You need to change your mindset first, realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The best way to look at your eating habits is to envision them as a lifelong journey, not a short term destination. You don’t want short term results, so get out of a short-term mindset. If you aren’t happy with your diet, change it.

Many people make the mistake of eating bland and tasteless meals because they think it’s their only option for weight loss when you have muscle on the mind. Chicken breasts, Brown rice, and broccoli, mmm, isn’t the only muscle building meal you have to eat. If you’re eating the same thing day in and day out, no wonder why you’re getting tempted by pizza, burgers, and fries. The solution, Find healthy recipes. There are plenty of recipes out there that can fit in with your current diet and fitness goals, and they taste amazing, and yes, you can even find dessert-like recipes that are packed with protein and low in sugar.

The truth is that cheap meals could work really well for some, but not so well for others, it’s a slippery slope, it’s tied to willpower. Think about how you respond when you see a big bowl of chips placed on the table. Can you eat just a few and walk away satisfied? Or do you dive into an endless hand over hand motion of stuffing your face? If a cheat meal causes you to lose your mind and eat tons of junk food, then you may be better off staying away from cheap meals altogether.

Again. To give yourself the idea of indulging, try super tasty diet-friendly meals. Protein powder pancakes is an excellent example of food that tastes like dessert that won’t throw you off. If you’re the type of person that can control yourself and has a history of staying on course during your diet, then indulge responsibly. Use your cheap meal is something to look forward to.

Use it for motivation to stick to the diet. Think about how you’ve responded to diets in the past and set yourself up for success. Overall, everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach. What can help one person stay motivated can send someone else down a rabbit hole of junk food.

Define what you want to achieve. Adopt an appropriately healthy diet and allow for one cheat meal per week, but only if it will help you not hurt you. Your success depends on the dedication you put in towards your diet. Above all, enjoy yourself and enjoy the healthy food you’re eating. Having a good relationship with food is going to be the foundation of changing your outlook.

You should be enjoying your day-to-day meals more than a cheap meal, so get excited about cooking. Find spices, foods and recipes that you love to make. A cheap meal shouldn’t be the reason you sacrifice your long-term physique and fitness goals. Remember, no slice of pizza should ever got more attention than a shredded set of abs.

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Mindsmatter is written by Bola Kwame, Jack Graves and Emma Buryd. De-stigmatizing mental illness one day at a time. www.linktr.ee/Mindsmatter

New York, NY
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