Have your cake and stay slim too
A strict diet can be hard to stick to, but get this: cheat meals need not spell disaster for your weight loss plans.
Think of it as a food vacation, or a mini-holiday from your self-control. A few experiments found that people who allowed cheat meals found their diets more sustainable, and even managed to lose weight despite consuming more calories overall than people who did not pig out at the end of the week.
Of course, a cheat meal is not a free pass to eat every unhealthy thing in sight. Here are six strategies to help you get your cheat meals right.
1. Pick your splurge
What’s it going to be – carbohydrate-rich foods like bread or pasta, dessert, or a high-fat treat like fried chicken? Avoid pigging out on all three in the one meal, so that you can really enjoy your splurge and not feel like you overdid it.
2. Don’t cheat on an empty stomach
It’s easy to overeat when you’re famished – and feel totally sick afterwards, so don’t do anything silly like starve yourself the day before your cheat meal.
3. Don’t think of it as “cheating”
The word has negative connotations, and you shouldn’t feel bad for rewarding yourself with your favourite treats after a week of healthy eating. Instead, think of it as something to look forward to.
4. Watch your portions
If you’ve followed a calorie-controlled diet and exercised all week, you don’t want to undo all that effort in just one meal by downing an entire pizza or going crazy at the buffet. Stick to small portions of your favourite cheat foods – you won’t be going overboard, but you won’t be depriving yourself, either.
5. Choose a quality cheat meal
If you want to splurge on a burger and fries, skip the fast food joint and make your own, or order a gourmet version at a reputable restaurant. You’ll savour it more, and, because it tastes better and is homemade or made from quality ingredients, you’ll feel more satisfied eating it.
6. Work out before you pig out
Carbs are stored in the body as glycogen, but when the glycogen tank is full, the carbs are stored as fat. If you want to cheat with a plate of pasta, you can stop it from turning into fat by burning through the glycogen in your body first – just 20 to 25 minutes of high-impact exercise before a cheat meal will have an impact on these energy reserves.
By Sasha Gonzales, HerWorldPlus, 27 May 2016
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