A “cheat meal” once a week is a necessary evil in any weight loss plan. If someone asks you to swear off your favorite food forever, then you are most probably following the wrong kind of diet plan. Cheat meals are essential to reset metabolism, satisfy cravings, prevent binge eating, overcome weight loss plateau, and most importantly, to stick to your diet plan better. An ideal cheat meal should not ruin your weight loss efforts and should not leave you with feelings of guilt. Too much deprivation can lead to intrusive thoughts of food that would make it hard to stick to your diet plan. If you’re trying to lose weight, even with the cheat meal, the total calorie intake for the day should be between 1500-1600, not exceeding 1800 calories. A cheat meal should have its own rules that would help you achieve your target goal weight. As mentioned above, a good cheat meal helps to overcome a weight loss plateau. That’s why Rati Beauty weight loss diets promote indulging a cheat meal once a week to boost weight loss efforts. In this post, we list down 10 cheat meal rules for weight loss that everyone should try. 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 also sets the stage for burning of extra body fat further.
Why Cheat Meal is Important?
Cheat meal is an important factor in weight loss because when you cut calories by a great degree to lose weight, the body tends to lower down metabolism to hold on to fat storage more tightly. It’s a fact that the human body does not like to lose weight and would work in different ways to hold conserve fat. By following a weight loss diet and remaining in calorie deficit, over a period of time, you would hit a weight loss plateau where the body slows down its metabolism to preserve fat. To avoid such situations, cheat meal once a week becomes necessary for tricking the body and making it believe that food is available and it’s okay to continue burning fat. Cheat meal helps to reset a sluggish metabolism, so do indulge in a cheat meal when you are out with your family or friends to continue losing weight at a faster pace.
10 Cheat Meal Rules for Weight Loss:
1. Cheat Meal is not an Opportunity to Binge Eat: 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. Ideally, eat just 300 calories extra in your cheat meal, and do not eat till you are sick during the cheat meal.
2. Consider cheat meal as an opportunity to reset metabolism: Choose the meal that would help you in the weight loss process, aka, in jumpstarting a sluggish metabolism. Picking food rich in transfat, processed food, too many sugary delights can be detrimental. Choose items that have carbs, protein, healthy fats, etc. that help in boosting metabolism.
3. Do not Stretch Cheat Meal into a Cheat Weekend: Limit yourself to one cheat meal per week. Some studies have pointed out that cheat meals that stretch over the weekend or two days in a row can completely throw you off the weight loss wagon.
4. Don’t save all your Calories for the Weekend: Someone rightly said, our bodies aren’t bank accounts, and saving up calories all through the week to binge eat in a cheat meal wouldn’t work. Our bodies are smart enough to save all the extra calories as fat in the cells, so “saving up calories for the weekend” wouldn’t work.
5. Don’t Combine High Sugary, Refined Carbs, High Fat all in one Cheat Meal: Pick just one category of food source from these because adding up all three categories would make it a highly unhealthy meal, raising inflammation levels in the body.
3. Have a Healthy Pre-Cheat Meal: To make sure that you would not binge eat during a cheat meal, eat a protein-rich or high-fiber snack to feel somewhat full and would be able to successfully avoid overindulgence during the main meal.
4. Eat a plate of Salad before the Cheat Meal: It’s a good idea to pick a plate of salad before the cheat meal to cut down the calorie intake later on.
5. Workout for 15 Minutes Before Cheat Meal: When you workout before a cheat meal or engage in moderate intensity exercise, the body tends to burn up the existing sugar and glycogen stores, and that means you would have a lot of room for high-carb foods where they would be utilized to replenish glycogen stores rather than be directed towards adipose cells to be stored as fat.
6. Scan the Restaurant’s Menu Before Deciding on the Cheat Meal: It would be a good idea to check the menu of the restaurant/hotel online to pick out healthy dishes. Nowadays, one can easily find soft copies of the menu online and make an informed decision on what kind of dish is low on calories and what kind of food would would not throw your weight loss goals into the ditch. Additionally, you can also call up the hotel/restaurant and ask them about healthy options available, and they would only be happy to suggest such dishes.
7. Eat What you Want Not Whatever you Can: Eat a slice of pizza not the whole pizza, a few pieces of chocolate not the whole bar, one or two scoops of ice cream not the whole tub. Even with a cheat meal, you need to still practice portion control to avoid feelings of guilt later on.
8. Avoid High-Fat Meal: It should not come as a surprise, but dietary fat is stored readily stored as body fat compared to carbs or protein meals.
9. Do practice Mindful Eating: Mindful eating makes you more conscious about the kind of food you choose to eat, the quantity you are consuming, preventing overeating, and helping you make the right kind of food choices. It makes you more aware of cues from the satiety hormone “leptin” on when to stop eating the moment you are full. Here are 9 Mindful Eating Hacks to Eat Right and Lose Weight.
10. Don’t Starve to Eat Later: If you starve yourself all day because you know you’re going to eat a lot later, you’ll actually end up eating even more.
Every meal is a new opportunity and it’s important to get back on the track once the cheat meal is done with. All or nothing attitude.