I recently met with a client who asked me to give her some tips on how to have “cheat meals” fit in her weight loss plan without derailing her weight loss progress. This brought back some memories of the past in my mind of when I used to be the diet girl & used to only give myself permission to have junk food on my “cheat days”. And lo and behold, all hell used to break lose that day.
Also, some time back I met one of my husband’s friends who is a health freak & has dropped a ton of weight, at a birthday party. As he was filling up his plate at the buffet, he winked at me & said it was his “cheat day” & so he can have the cake.
And yes, let’s not forget the commonly cited tip in numerous health & fitness magazines where in generally something like “drop a dress size” sort of articles, it’s given “follow the diet plan for the weekdays except once a week have a cheat day which helps in raising your metabolism & you get to quench your cravings”.
So let’s explore the concept of “cheat days” today.
Here’s the thing.
Calling any of your meal as “cheat meal” keeps the disordered eating perspective alive in your mind which means operating from a reality where food is your enemy or friend or for that matter you can “cheat” food and get away with it. I mean, really. What a concept!
And all the scientific explanation how cheat days or meals help in raising your metabolism is a complete bummer.
Think about it, why would you ever want to cheat on you?
This kind of thinking perpetuates insane eating behaviors & literally ensures that you stay in food jail for life.
Here’s another perspective. If you want to eat “not so healthy” food viz pizza, ice-cream or chocolate & you do not “allow” yourself to have them & wait to “cheat” on your diet, that simply is speaking to your heart that somehow your “desires” are not worth you & that there is something wrong with you, which of course is never true.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you go out & eat all these things when you “crave” them. That’s not going to help either because I believe there is a message behind all your cravings which is worth exploring.
All I’m saying is you got to ditch the concept of “cheating” on your food or “cheat meals” forever from your arsenal in order to experience freedom around food & your weight which is what you deserve.
Stop looking at food even if it’s the unhealthiest “junk” kind as the villain or “that you can cheat” on it.
Put food back into where it belongs i.e as food. Glorious food meant to nourish & be enjoyed in life. I personally follow a 80/20 rule where I fuel eat 80 % of the time & “choose” to it the unhealthy yet delicious “joy” food the rest of the time. And I’ve followed this principal even I was on my way to losing my extra weight.
What I want for you is to lift the veil of “fattening’’ foods from your perspective.
Stop looking at food as your enemy or lover you can cheat & get away with it.
Please remember it’s only when you “abuse” food i.e over do it that it leads to consequences of weight gain, not otherwise. And if you are still operating in life from a place of “planned or unplanned” cheat meals, you are more likely to overeat them.
The biggest takeaway for you today is to give yourself full permission to eat what you love.
Just become curious of how the food makes you feel which is only possible when you eat with full awareness savoring every bite & without any iota of guilt attached to it.
Be present to your choices & shoot for those foods that nourish your body most of the time. And when you do make a choice to eat otherwise, slow down & make it the most pleasurable experience ever.
I would love to hear your thoughts & insights on this below. Come share your take on this with me.