The weekend just went by really fast, hasn’t it?! Most of us on a weight loss diet, tend to schedule cheat meals during weekends because it’s the time we hit the party scene, go for date nights, attend events, and find time to catch up with friends and family. People do look forward to indulging in guilty foods during these days because they feel they have earned those meals by sticking to the diet religiously and working out every single day of the week, but once cheat meal has been done and dusted with, and food coma sets in (sleepiness or drowsiness after a large meal), there’s a common tendency to feel guilty and horrible for having let the guards down, to not have counted calories, to have lost the will power around yummy food. Now, here’s why that happens – 1). Most cheat meals that people indulge tend to be high in refined carbs, sugar or sodium, that causes water retention and bloating and that’s when that terrible feeling kicks in. 2). – Cheat meals do often get converted into a “cheat day” and then into a cheat weekend, and once you are done with the cheat meal, you feel absolutely horrible, feeling guilty for having reached back to square one. 3). Overeating can cause bloating, discomfort, stomach pain, cramping, gassiness, and also indigestion.
There’s a tendency to feel terrible and ashamed ruining the whole week’s effort, kicking yourself for lack of will power, especially if you are a newbie. You may even feel dieting is not for you because you seem to lose will power around food. But let us warn you, this kind of guilt trip can drive you further down the rabbit hole, where the all or nothing attitude can demotivate you and push you down the weight loss wagon. Having these occasional treats is totally fine, even if you are desperately trying to lose weight, let us explain why:
Why Cheat Meal is Important?
1. Going on a diet does not mean giving up on all your favorite foods forever (all or nothing attitude you see!). Though you should eat mindfully, portion control, and pick nutrient-dense food over empty calories, there is no need to swear off “guilt food” for life; yes, you can have doughnuts, pizza, French fries while dieting, as occasional treats, more specifically as cheat meals, once in a week, and use such foods to your advantage because studies have found that indulging in a cheat meal occasionally helps to boost metabolism and trick the body into burning more calories! But just make sure the cheat meal remains a cheat meal and does not expand into a cheat day or cheat week.
2. Cheat meal is an important factor in weight loss because when you cut calories by a great degree to lose weight, the body slows down metabolism to lower energy expenditure, save calories, and hold on to fat storage more tightly. Over a period of time, you would hit a weight loss plateau where the slow metabolism makes it difficult to burn a greater number of calories. Cheat meals can help reset metabolism, tricking the body to believe food is available, and it’s okay to continue burning fat. In fact, studies show that after a cheat meal, the body increases its metabolism, causing you to burn calories faster.
2. These meals keep you motivated because you can satisfy your cravings whilst still on a diet. Which means you can have that cake and eat it too and call it a cheat meal 😛
3. It’s a reward-based diet strategy that allows you to indulge in your favorite food outside of your diet program once a week and in a way helps you stick with the diet better and for long.
4. A “cheat meal” once a week is a necessary in any weight loss plan. As we have mentioned earlier, our body becomes efficient at running on fewer calories, and people wonder why they aren’t losing weight even with strict dieting and exercise routine. It’s called a weight loss plateau and from this point onwards, a few tweaks are necessary to lose more weight. Cheat meals can help the body get over the “famine” reaction by making it believe that “food” is available and it’s okay to burn fat.
Summing up, an ideal cheat meal should neither ruin your weight loss efforts, nor leave you with feelings of guilt afterwards. People find that cheat meals helps them overcome weight loss plateau, but do keep in mind that cheat meal is a chance to indulge in your favorite meal, not an opportunity to binge eat, overindulge, overeat, and fall off the weight loss wagon. Also, please do not practice food deprivation all through the week and save all the calories for the weekend, saving up calories for the weekend is not a great idea. Most importantly, having an occasional treat – a brownie, a slice of pizza, a bar of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, will not ruin your weight loss efforts, it may actually help if you ate healthy all through the week 😛 Also, for your weight loss diet plans, do check out the Rati Beauty app.