As we near the end of January, there are still many people who are sticking to their new year’s resolutions and vowing that they will not abandon them as the year progresses. One of he most popular, if not the most popular, new year’s resolution is losing weight. Everyone wants to unlock the secret to what it takes to lose weight and keep it off. When people hear that all it takes to lose weight is eat less and exercise more, they understand it but they still hope there is a secret that they can find that will help them.
If you think of “diet” as a four-letter word, giving yourself some breathing room could help clean up your act. What if instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, you allow yourself times to give in to your cravings guilt-free? That’s a cheat meal, and your favorite foods will taste better because they’re rare, and because you worked for them.
First, let’s define “cheating.” A cheat meal is when you allow yourself something that you normally abstain from. For almost every meal, stick to a well-rounded and nutritious diet filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and a calorie count based around your needs and goals. For example, once a week usually works for most of my clients, where they eat properly for all of their meals except a Friday dinner out. When you eat right for 6 days a week, one cheat meal on the 7th day will still allow you to reach your goals. However, just like civilized warfare, there are rules to cheating!
Stick to a cheat meal, rather than a cheat day. And entire days worth of binging can create unhealthy patterns and actually lead to weight gain, spiked blood sugar levels and a generally unhealthy relationship with food. Reserve “cheat days” for 4 times a year – your birthday, Thanksgiving, and two holiday get-togethers, where you have little control over what’s put in front of you. If your cheat days number more than 4 a year, it’s time to take control.
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