If you’ve been a good girl or guy all week, you’ve hit the gym hard and followed your meal prep, then you know how good it feels to reward yourself with a ‘cheat’ meal.
We call them Cheat Days, right?
The word ‘cheat’ gives an illusion of something dirty, illegal, causing guilt; but a treat meal is meant to be savored, enjoyed and used to motivate you for the next week. A treat meal is not
cheating on your diet, it’s simply taking a small break to indulge while still living out your healthy lifestyle.
So let’s start by ditching the word
cheat –from your meals and from your life – and look at it as a treat from now on. Kapish? Great.
Treat meals can actually be very useful to your fitness journey and can even get you out of that weight-loss plateau!
- Treat meals “reset” the hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, which translates to increased fat burning, curbing appetite and restoring the body’s energy balance after a week of strict dieting.
- Treat meals give you a way out to cravings you find hard to ignore. You don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite junk food for the rest of your life, you can simply slot it in to your cheat day.
- If you allow a treat in to your week, it naturally eliminates or reduces the urge to binge.
- Treat meals make your strict ‘diet’ seem more feasible. Sticking to your diet six days out of the week is much more attainable than trying to go at it for week on end without a break.
- Treat meals replenish your ‘happy hormones’, giving you more psyche to attach the next week with zeal and positive energy.
Now, even though we’ve taken the guilt out of our Treat Day, how you go about it ensures the guilt stays at bay!
- You’ve got to pre-plan your treat meal! Having a strategy is key to a successful treat. You can’t just stroll into your kitchen on the morning of your treat day and decide you’re entitled to anything you see or smell. Plan the day before on what you want to indulge in and buy or prepare a moderate amount of it.
- Go beast-mode before you go feast-mode! The best treat is the one that is consumed after a calorie torching workout. This is a sure-fire way of minimizing fat-storage from your treat meal, because the treat meal stands a greater chance being utilized to fuel your muscles than being stored as fat! Even a 20 minute HIIT prior to your treat meal will be enough to put that savory indulgence to good use.
- Cheat to Win: If you’re on a low-carb diet program, a reefed (increase in carbs/calories) is perfect for replenishing your glycogen stores and spiking your metabolism (by kicking up your leptin levels).
- Don’t have a cheat meal when you’re famished: You’re likely to eat 2 – 5 times more on an empty stomach, than if you were moderately satiated. Have a scoop of whey protein or a few egg whites an hour or two before your meal; protein helps to curb appetite and a nice scoop of whey is my favorite go-to before my treat meal.
- You can enjoy a meal out, but the best treats are those made at home 🙂 Not only will you be in control the calories, but you can customize your treat with your favorite toppings and side dishes. Making treats at home can also mean lesser calories than those from a restaurant, and you can get to eat MORE. Check out these 21 healthy-er treat meal ideas from instagrammers here.
- Even on a Treat Meal, Be Cautious With These Foods: Sugar, which triggers your brain to crave more, and can easily spiral you into a binge weekend. Deep fried foods, which are immediately stored as fats and are just terrible for your health. Alcohol, which slows down your metabolism and slows down the weight loss process. If you must consume any of these, drink plenty of water and consume in moderation.
- It’s a Treat-meal, not a Treat-DAY! This is where most of us mess up. A treat meal is exactly that: a meal. They’re meant to satisfy your taste buds, not overfeed yourself into weight (re)gain! Overeating on your treat day can completely cancel out the gains of the week, and you will need to workout for almost a week to get back to where you were before you made that mistake. Overeating totally makes it a ‘cheat day’ because you will be flooded with guilt and shame and regret. Worse still, your overeating streak can easily roll-over to a cheat-weekend, if you don’t get a hold of your urges. STICK to one meal, serve it up, SIT DOWN, consume it all, DON’T EVEN think about a second serving, find your satisfaction in one plate, drink plenty of water and move on.
Let your treat meals work for you, and use them to catapult you in to the body of your dreams. Enjoy!