Ahhh so it’s January and New Year Resolution time.
That means it’s highly likely you’re thinking about going on a diet. This is not diet advice (I discuss my weight loss approach in my new book available January 7, 2018), but I want to share my philosophy on cheat meals when embarking on a new diet.
I can safely share my thinking on this, as I personally have lost over 20kgs in 2 years without wanting to kill anyone in the process, live at the gym or swear off dessert.
If you’ve been on a diet before, you’ve likely heard of the term cheat meal, or cheat day. Cheat meals are usually a planned and temporary departure from a typically stricter diet strategy, which allows you to break your diet rules and have free food choices for a meal or a day.
Using the term ‘cheat’ sounds like you are scamming yourself or your current eating habits and I don’t feel that’s a healthy mindset to breed, if you desire a long-term lifestyle improvement.
Enjoy fun foods occasionally as part of your ongoing lifestyle. It’s not in your best interest to restrict yourself from your favourite foods, because the longer you do that, the more chance of you overindulging.
Also, when you deprive yourself all week or month for that elusive cheat meal, you’re likely to have little to no self-control. Sometimes just the very fact you’re calling it a cheat meal is harmful and can tend to demonise the food when all it is, is energy. Humans just aren’t designed to wilfully resist food.
Making foods forbidden can create an unhealthy relationship with food which is likely where your problem with your weight began in the first place.
Don’t: put your favourite indulgent, fun foods on a pedestal by building up to enjoying them infrequently. We don’t want to encourage a restrictive mindset surrounding food so you start defining foods as either good or bad.
Do: allocate room in your daily or weekly eating to enjoy (not cheat on) some of your favourite foods.