Thanks to the diet culture we have been a part of for years, we see food as good and bad. But we need to understand that this isn’t the case. Food is just a way of providing fuel to our bodies. This is true, irrespective of whether you are trying to lose weight.
Sure, some foods have more nutrients and fewer calories than others and should be consumed in larger quantities in a weight loss phase. But that doesn’t mean we can’t consume the so-called ‘bad’ foods. We often slot these foods as ‘cheat meals’, but are cheat meals all bad?
Are Cheat Meals ‘bad’?
Cheat meals are often considered a diversion from the diet, but this isn’t true. We first need to understand the concept of calories in food to understand this. A calorie is just a unit of measurement of the energy we derive from a particular food. This is the energy we need to function in our day-to-day lives. The fuel for our body!
Foods that are low in calories but give you a ton of micro-nutrients are labeled ‘good’, whereas those which are high in calories but don’t have too many nutrients are labeled ‘bad’. Sure, conceptually, it makes sense. To live a healthy and fit life, we should prioritize foods that give us maximum nutrition. But unfortunately, we can’t always follow this in the real world.
Cheat meals are not always bad because to achieve our fitness goals; we should be able to follow a diet long-term. Following a restrictive diet of only good foods for too long is impossible. So, that is where cheat meals come in. They give us a break and let us indulge in our favorite foods every once in a while.
Cheat Meals Make our Calorie-deficit Diet Sustainable
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. If we restrict ourselves too much, we will have cravings, eventually resulting in a binge episode. This is counter-intuitive as it will undo all the progress made until that point.
Cheat meals are a savior in these situations, as they allow us a meal every few days to indulge in our favorite foods. This will help avoid overeating by keeping the cravings in check.
The Ideal Approach to Have Cheat Meals
Cheat meals are a very efficient tool when it comes to weight loss, but it needs to be used in a planned manner. To see the best results, it is recommended to have a cheat meal every week, where you eat whatever you like, but in moderation.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge during the rest of the week. The general rule of thumb to follow in a balanced diet is to eat healthy things 80% of the time and give yourself the freedom to pick your foods the remaining 20% of the time. This will ensure that you are eating healthy while still not being deprived.
Advantages of Having a Cheat Meal
Below are the main advantages of having cheat meals.
Make You Feel Better
Most of us associate food with positive emotions since all kinds of celebrations worldwide are accompanied by food. So, having cheat meals regularly will help you feel better mentally as you aren’t depriving yourself of things you love.
Another great way to feel better and get the heart pumping is by doing a short 20-min workout on your home heavy-duty exercise bike or heavy-duty treadmill.
Improves Adherence to the Diet
Since you are happy with the food, you are eating and don’t feel deprived, the chances of sticking to your diet will be very high. And this will ensure that you see the weight loss results you are working towards.
Can Increase Metabolism
Since cheat meals involve eating a lot of different types of foods, this positively affects your metabolism. And a better, higher metabolism only means that this will help you lose weight quicker. Getting in a quick workout in the morning on your under-desk treadmill can also help give your metabolism a boost.
Things to remember
Lastly, there are a few points you need to take care of when you use cheat meals to help aid your weight loss journey.
- Enjoy a cheat meal, but don’t let it become a cheat day.
- Portion control and moderation is the key to see success
- Make sure to be active on your cheat day. Every calorie burnt will count!
I hope this article helps you clear the concept of cheat meals and makes your weight loss journey effortless.
Healthy and Khush is a blog that shares science-based tips and hacks to help you lose weight and keep it off.