The day have all been sacrificing and sweating for! Lol
I mentioned in previous articles that it’s very important to keep your diet healthy and clean regardless of your goals. You may want to lose weight or improve your health, get stronger or even put on weight without adding fat.
The thing is, for most people eating clean, it’s crucial to have a “cheat meal” every now and then to help you stay on course. Science says that cheat meals can be beneficial for a number of reasons.
We have two hormones controlling our appetite: Leptin (supressing) and Ghrelin (stimulating).
When following a strict diet for a long time, our body tends to increase Ghrelin and decrease Leptin, making us hungry and unfulfilled all the time.
A cheat meal will regulate those hormone levels and our appetite again.
Note: Leptin levels in the body are lower when you have low levels of fat in your body. So for the ones just starting the journey, I would recommended sticking to your healthy meals and skipping the cheat ones for at least 2 months, so you can discipline your mind and body first.
It also works as reward and positive reinforcement for the good job you’ve been doing lately. According to the experiment published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, with one group having cheat days, and a second group not allowed them, the group that had cheat days said they were more capable of sustaining their motivation and self-control on the other days.
you can check the study here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740815000443?via%3Dihub
However, a lot of people seem to abuse their “cheat” meals, slowing down progress.
How do I do it?
- Planning ahead is my main advice.
It helps you to keep on track with the healthy meals during the week if you know that your favourite meal is coming on sunday, for example. When you don’t plan ahead, you may end up having 4 cheat days or more, a week. You may think that eating that little treat won’t matter that much for your looks, and most of the time you are probably right. But allowing yourself to keep repeating this situation over and over again will just persuade you to keep cheating all the time.
- Don’t over do it.
We love to think that a cheat meal means is an open pass to anything and everything. i’ve been there, lol I would eat anything for breaky, lunch, dinner and snacks. But if you overdo it, the over-excessive calories will eventually be stored as fat. Try to think about your usual eating plan, then up it by 600 calories which is already a lot of food!
For me 600 calories would be like 4 slices of pizza (easy to go over it right?!)
Have your cheat meal and enjoy it! But remember not to binge.
- 90/10 RULE.
When you plan your cheat meals, make sure that 90% of your calories consumed in the week were healthy and clean. That means: no processed foods, no sugar, no soft drinks or alcohol, including good fats, good carbohydrates, protein sources and appropriate portion sizes according to YOUR GOALS.
- Nutrient timing.
I always have my cheat meals on the week day I have my hardest workout (for example my leg day) so my body utilizes all the calories I had for energy and repairing muscles.
If you have it on your rest day, your body won’tt be using all that energy for anything, because its your rest day, so he will probably just store a big part of it.
- Wholefoods all the way.
I personally like my cheat meals to be based on wholefoods.
I love a large serving of creamy pasta with a handful of parmesan, or maybe a burger with baked cauliflower cheese, or if I am feeling really naughty I’d probably have a few pieces of cheesecake. I don’t really have any of those things on my day-to-day meals, so for me, these are cheat meals.
Fast food is something I would have it but only if I REALLY REALLY crave it, and I mean crave. McDonald’s would be a twice-a-year thing max!
Also, listen to your body. If you don’t feel like cheating, then don’t.
And If you do happen to binge though … Calm down. Its’ not a guilty trip! After all, we are just humans and we have all done it before or still do it every now and than. So don’t worry, just get back straight into your normal meals! That’s all part of it.
Eat smart, workout hard and you can enjoy your little treat every now and than for sure!