If you are following a strict weight loss diet, you'd know the importance of the 'cheat meal' that you are allowed to indulge in once a week. A cheat meal can be simply defined as a meal that allows you to go off your regimented diet for one meal; a meal where you eat foods you have been craving for and to allow yourself a little bit of a break. It sounds like a win-win idea. You get to eat stuff you aren't allowed to eat as part your diet, and once the craving is over you can come right back to your strict eating plan, rejuvenated and eager! Sadly, that's not how it usually plays out. Some dieters may misuse this freedom only to overeat and regret later. Overindulgence could easily result in washing out several days worth of hard work. We list out crucial tips to keep in mind to enjoy a cheat meal without worrying about ruining your diet plan.
(Also Read: 6 Cheat Meal Mistakes You Should Never Make)
Tips, dos and don'ts to indulge in a cheat meal
1. Understand the importance of a cheat meal
The idea of a cheat meal is to help you stay motivated throughout the weight loss period. Moreover, it gives you a break from the usual food that you have been eating daily to lose weight. It lets you enjoy anything that you have been craving to eat. Enjoy your cheat meal but do not forget the reason that makes it so special.
2. Plan your cheat meal
You can go on thinking about your cheat meal the whole week, but ultimately it is best to plan it a day or two prior so you don't go overboard while actually enjoying it. For instance, you want to have a burger; count its calories, select the sauces you'd want and the type of tikki you'd like. Now you know the amount of calories you would be consuming. Don't deviate from the set plan. This way you will be able to ensure a well-planned and portioned cheat meal.
3. It is a cheat meal, not a cheat day
Remember, it is a cheat meal; you cannot be bingeing through the day as it will only undo an entire week's hard work. Cheating through the day would only encourage more cravings, eventually losing complete focus. Excessive bingeing has been associated with the hormonal response that makes you crave these foods more, which makes it difficult for you to go back to controlled eating over the next few days.
4. Experiment with your cheat meals
Don't get stuck on just one food that you love the most. Try and experiment more; prepare interesting dishes using new ingredients and seasonal vegetable or fruits. It shouldn't always be about indulging on junk or unhealthy food; you can rustle up a tasty and healthy dish to enjoy your cheat meal.
5. Emotional eating can be harmful
Never indulge in a cheat meal when you are feeling emotional and vulnerable, especially if you are a person who ties food to feelings. Emotional eating can completely ruin your diet plan; remember food is just fuel and not comfort.
6. Never choose a buffet for your cheat meal
Never go for a buffet for your cheat meal as you will be spoilt for choices. You will get the freedom to enjoy everything on the table, which will only result in excessive calorie intake. Even if you are eating out, make sure you order one dish that doesn't make you load up on too many calories.
A cheat meal shouldn't let you forget your main goal; rather it should motivate you to follow your diet plan diligently. Enjoy your cheat meal but not at the cost of your diet plan!