Who loves a cheat meal?! I do! I love having high palatable foods which make me happy. I resonate some of my best times in life with ‘junk food’ and alcohol.
In this blog, I’m going to cover the psychology of cheat meals, the stigma behind them and most importantly how to do it!
It Needs A Name Change
One of the reasons I feel cheat meals are not a successful way of going about eating is the name itself! When in life is cheating acceptable and normal behavior. It’s frowned upon to cheat in professional sports, It’s frowned upon to cheat on your partner. Yet as human beings when we ‘cheat’ on ourselves it’s okay because no one else is involved and no one else gets hurt right? Wrong! The word has a stigma that instantly makes you feel guilty which can go one of two ways. You either accept it and move on (which rarely happens by the way) or you go into a downward spiral and lose control of EVERYTHING food related (sound familiar?).
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have moments of a break during a ‘Diet’ (which alone is another word that has a stigma to it.) However, we should look at it in a more pragmatic way and be sensible about it!
These moments where we cheat are for the most part necessary! No one can abstain from foods they enjoy and be happy. So why bother? We are selfish creatures and if one thing is for certain, our brains like to play tricks with us when we are most vulnerable.
What Does This Mean? Can I Pig Out Or Not?
First thing is first, we need to be in a good place mentally. Although this is incredibly tough to judge let me elaborate. The thing with cheat meals or days you want to call it is that they are normally thought on impulse. You go out with your family or friends and think “I’ve been really good this week so this glass of wine and burger is okay”. You are right but have you truly earned it? If your goal is to lose body fat and a bit of weight you NEED to ensure you are in an energy deficit. If you’ve smashed your exercise and movement goals, Been careful with your calories then you are 100% true and earn the right for that meal.
However… If you have been lazy, not achieved your movement and exercise goals, Been stuffing your face with whatever food you want. We can all easily agree it’s best you avoid anything ‘bad’.
It also works the other way around. Humans work on a reward and punishment basis. If you’ve been on a good streak you reward yourself with a cheat meal. If you’ve had a rubbish day or something hasn’t been going your way, then you will still have a cheat meal to make you feel better.
See how that could be flawed? Instead look at it as Do I really NEED this food right now? Notice how NEED is in CAPITALS??? If it is absolutely how you feel in that moment. Eat it, enjoy it and then get over it and move on 🙂
Summary of a treat of a cheat meal
You need to ensure you are focussed on your goal. As I said it is much better to have the food you crave (because you enjoy it) Enjoy it and then get over it! Don’t put it off until you splurge out of control!
Give yourself a break from time to time but remember.
Is it really a treat/cheat meal if you do it every day?
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