I have my own personal favorite cheat meal that I allow myself to indulge in periodically. I know it’s not what I recommend others to eat, but it is one I love and look forward to eating when I want a lift or just the taste of this food. For years, high calorie junk food was a treat that you only got on special occasions. Today, it’s become a way of life. For those who switched to a healthier lifestyle, a cheat meal actually can help you lose weight, while giving you a treat. One thing to remember when eating your cheat meal is that portions still count. Don’t overstuff yourself because it’s a cheat, eat normal portions.
Focus on one splurge per week.
A cheat meal isn’t a carte blanche invitation to consume everything at a buffet, but rather a chance to consume extra calories and one favorite dish you love. Take time to plan your cheat, whether it’s a treat at the end of the week of a pasta dish, a martini or two or a delectible dessert, just choose one. Planning ahead will help you resist the temptation of piling on the calories and feeding at the trough of all three of these items. It also makes the treat even more special, savoring every minute during the process of deciding how to cheat and then enjoying the bounty of your decision.
Cheat meals help you boost your metabolism.
You’ll increase your leptin levels with a cheat meal. Leptin is the hormone that tells the body it’s hungry. When it drops, the metabolism slows to prevent a calorie shortage for important functions and to save energy. The cheat meal tricks the system into believing all is well and there’s a bounty of food, so burning some extra fat is a good thing. Increasing your calorie allotment with a cheat meal once a week tricks the body and keeps your metabolism running at full speed.
Don’t eat a cheat meal when you’re starving.
You may think it’s a great idea to skip meals the day of the cheat meal, but it’s counter-productive. It encourages eating far more calories than a cheat meal should contain. Eat normal, healthy meals throughout the day and even healthy snacks so you aren’t famished. It will save you from eating all the rolls and asking the neighboring table for theirs. Cheating a bit is good, cheating a lot can set you back.
Limit your cheat meal to one per week. A little is good, a lot is not and can wipe out progress quickly.
Eat normal meals later in the day before a dinner cheat meal. It will keep you fuller so you won’t be tempted to overeat your cheat. Make sure you have a protein and high fiber veggie earlier to help slow down digestion and keep you feeling fuller for portion control.
Exercise hard the day of the cheat meal to burn glycogen reserves so it won’t store the extra calories as fat.
Sit down and savor every bite. Don’t grab your cheat meal on the run. If you’re eating out, check the menu first online to pick your favorite and don’t be tempted to go to a buffet. It’s too easy to cheat at your cheat meal there.