If you aren’t new to the world of dieting then you would be very familiar with the term “cheat meal”. For some, it’s the highlight of their week, yet for most, it’s the very reason they aren’t achieving their goals. But for those of you who may not be familiar with the concept, a cheat meal is essentially the one meal of the week that you can eat whatever you want and not feel bad about it. Rather ironic, given that the very essence of the word “cheat” is about breaking the rules and doing something that you know you probably shouldn’t. So why is your weekly cheat meal doing you more harm than good?
Cheat meals result in overindulgence
It’s human nature, whenever we are told we can’t have something we want it more and fad diet culture is exactly the same. By allowing ourselves one cheat meal a week we are essentially giving ourselves the green light to eat as much of the foods we are told we aren’t allowed as humanly possible in one meal. The cheat meal mindset is centred around labelling foods as good or bad which is not sustainable long term rather than understanding caloric intake and portion control which is key to maintaining results long term.
Cheat meals slow down progress
Overindulgence is a slippery slope and for some of us, all it takes is one meal to fall off the bandwagon completely. Have you ever heard yourself say “well I’ve ruined today, so I’ll start again on Monday”? This all stems from a good vs bad mindset which doesn’t promote balance and sustainability and instead drives binge eating. Binge eating is a direct result of our thoughts around labelling foods as good or bad and restriction so by removing them completely we then crave the “bad” foods and overindulge.
Cheat meals support a dieting mentality
The whole concept of allowing yourself one meal a week of whatever you want usaully leads into multiple cheat meals or spirals into uncontrolled eating and usually counteracts eating your chicken and broccoli the other 6 days a week. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable, you should enjoy eating fresh, healthy meals and not only do it so you can have that cheat meal on the weekend. It’s about creating your new normal rather than a mindset around restrictive dieting and cheat meals. This mindset is why so many people struggle to maintain their results after dieting because it wasn’t sustainable and it wasn’t enjoyable.
With cheat meals, the only thing you are cheating is your self. Aim to follow the 80/20 rule daily, 80% nutritious foods, 20% of foods you enjoy, practise portion control and if you do slip up or eat over move on don’t think I’ve overeaten iv ruined it now I might as well eat everything in sight.