While we’re all for adopting a meal plan that is more of a lifestyle than a diet, in order to be sustainable in the long run, there is an order of things that must be followed. Don’t give up on food groups, no! Please go ahead and indulge in that piece of chocolate, most certainly!
Torturing your body into submission in order to starve off your calories will only lead to you putting all the weight back on in due time. Or, you are bound to reach a plateau from where you just can’t budge. At these points, tricks like reverse dieting and metabolism-boosting measures are employed. But you’re basically just moving around in circles, so what’s the point?
This, right here, is why we appreciate the 80:20 and 5:2 diets, because they allow you to indulge, now and again. That said, we don’t agree with their format, because they make food feel like a reward instead of a right, which is an unhealthy association to make.
You’re Not Cheating; It Is Well-Deserved
Do us a favor and instead of binge eating on the weekends, indulge your taste buds a little every day. Eating salads, energy bars, cold-pressed juice, lean poultry and protein shakes throughout the week and then gorging on greasy burgers, chips, and pasta on the weekend sends your digestive system into a tizzy and calorie count into overdrive. On Monday, you may find yourself right back to where you were exactly a week before or, worse still, experience tummy trouble and lethargy from the sudden carbo loading.
Instead, try this:
- The next time you want chocolate, eat it. But, eat one piece and stop.
- If a burger or fat-intensive food is what you’re craving, save it for the morning, so that you have the whole day to burn it off.
- If you’re a late riser, combine your meals to make one sumptuous brunch, where you treat yourself with all that you crave, while just being a little mindful of the prep (grilled over greased, roasted over batter-fried).
- Instead of having one big helping of ice cream or a bag of chips, take a small portion out in a bowl and don’t go back for seconds!
- And lastly, adding a component of nutrition to your cheat meals is a good way to stay healthy, so throwing in some nuts or protein cuts into your pasta, or replacing the mash with a side of grilled veg when you have steak can make more of a difference than you realize.
The basic point of cheat meals is that your body gets conditioned to burning a certain amount of fat and carbs every day, if you eat them consistently and in small and similar portions. Over time, these mini-indulgences will make no difference to the number on your weighing scale, ie, you won’t tip over to the heavier side.