We have all heard about the cheat or reward meal concept. You see it everywhere, on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and other Blogs. Those super tasty looking cheesy french fries or perfect looking piece of chocolate cake. I love the idea of a cheat meal because in my opinion, you obviously need to fuel your body with the right healthy foods most of the time however, sometimes you need some 'fuel' for your 'soul' as well in order to keep up with that healthy diet and also because those foods are just so damn tasty!
We all love a good old greasy / sugary / high calorie sweet or salty cheat meal! In my, opinion this is a great thing to do. Let's go crazy! In the weekends I always have one thing on my to-do list, having my CHEAT MEAL! The purpose of a cheat meal is to help you stick to your diet and reward yourself for all the hard work you have done as well as what you have accomplished so far. For me this is a beloved part of the week and I always spent that time consciously, planning and thinking ahead of what I would like to have that day. Sounds a bit intense? Maybe it is, but hey, (almost) every person loves something greasy / sugary / high calorie, sweet or salty don't we?
Cheat meal frequency?
For some people a cheat meal is having a chocolate chip cookie for a snack and they eat the rest of the day healthy. Other persons like to plan a cheat meal with everything on it like for example a pizza, ice cream and a soda. Other people like to have a complete cheat day with no limits. Before starting with this concept it is important to set your own boundaries and goals. Because one cheat meal has way less impact than a whole cheat day.
In my opinion, having one cheat meal a week is a great way to to keep up with your healthy lifestyle / diet. As the most common reason people fail to stick to their diet and reach their goals is because they keep the desire to eat something they shouldn't be eating or was part of their 'previous' lifestyle / diet and they still want to eat it. When incorporating a cheat meal into your lifestyle / diet you eat something that would not be part of your healthy lifestyle / diet. You could see the cheat meal as a small break or reward for your healthy lifestyle / diet that you are following. This cheat meal makes it easier for me to stick to my healthy lifestyle. I always plan them in the weekend because there are just more fun things going on with friends and this way you don't need to watch everything so close when your are going to eat with your boyfriend, friends or family!
Will this cheat meal hurt my goals?
NO, one cheat meal a week will not hurt your diet or healthy lifestyle goals. A properly done cheat meal will NOT directly hurt your diet, your body or your progress. Like I just mentioned, as long as your cheat meal doesn't change in a cheat day, they will help you to stick to your long term healthy lifestyle / diet plans. Think about it. If you’re eating 'clean or healthy' 95% of the time, do you really think that the other 5% is going to make any real difference in the rest of your healthy lifestyle or diet? It will not, thanks god! What maybe would be good to plan ahead, is when you are having your cheat meal to also plan a workout on the same day this could be a short HITT session, a run, leg day any type of exercise will be good basically.
I never feel guilty when having this cheat meal because it is like a reward for yourself and a way to keep up with your healthy lifestyle. I could just not imagine never eating a pepperoni pizza or nutella/kinder brownie or any other kind of tasty guilty pleasure anymore. I think many people are with me on that right? However, your cheat meal has to be under control. If you are trying to lose weight for example, don't change your cheat meal into a cheat day. As all your hard work will be for (almost) nothing.
what is best to do after a cheat meal or day?
The day after my cheat day or meal I always like to schedule a high protein and veggie kind of day. As your cheat day or meal will count for numerous of (bad) calories it is wise to plan a low (good) calorie day after it, this will help to balance the calorie intake from the day before. This one is obvious and mentioned everywhere also does not really count specifically for your cheat day or meal but it's maybe just a little more important. DRINK ENOUGH WATER! As most cheat meals contain loads of salt and sugar, it is essential to drink enough water so wash all the toxins of the cheat meal out of your body. Try to drink at least 2 liters of water during your cheat meal or day and the other days as well of course!
This picture does not really reflect on a cheat meal, but I just want to share this lovely view with you (so lucky to live in such a paradise!) and the fact that for me, I love fruits as much as the unhealthy cheat meal because I want to fuel my body with healthy and nutritious foods as well.
So I will keep on having my pizza, french fries, nutella brownie or any other cheat, obviously with moderation, every week. As I simply love those foods as well and see it as a good reward! So what is your favorite cheat meal? Or would you like some more information regarding this cheat meal thing? Please leave a comment or send me a message!
Love, Nienke (Healthyfoodiefood)