Yes, eating a healthy diet is important to keep your body in shape and improve your overall fitness. But most diets need you to cut down on sugar and calories, which means giving up some of your favourite foods. But what about that cheesy pizza and burger eyeing you from the corner at a restaurant? Enter cheat meals!
Everyone deserves a break, even your diet. In fact, experts believe that a day to give a break to your fitness schedule can actually help you focus more. You will not have unnecessary cravings that make you binge eat. Nutritionist Azhar Ali Sayed shared the right technique with Health Shots to have a cheat day.
Treat cheat day as a guilt-free day
Raise your hand if you feel guilty every time you eat a cheat meal. Don’t worry, most of us do! Cheat meals are all about giving yourself calculated and planned permission to break strict diet rules that you have been following. The idea is to allow yourself a brief period of indulgence so that you get a break from your diet and won’t binge-eat something that might sabotage your fitness plans.
The secret, according to Sayed, is to adhere to the rules when it comes to healthy eating is in breaking them. The idea of cheat meals is popular these days because it helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. While having an occasional cheat day has been shown to keep dieters on track, it is important to consider cheat meals more as a meal you deserve than consider it cheating. You must view it as a necessary component of a healthy and balanced diet.
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For a few people cheat meals enable them to eat better during the week, especially for those on a very restrictive, low-calorie diet. This planned calorie binge often enables people to skip other unplanned and frequent binge eating episodes which take considerably longer to recover from and may cause you to go completely off track, adds the nutritionist.
Even your cheat meals require some balance
As much as cheat meals are important and can help you stick to your routine, it is important to keep a balance. Indulging in cheat meals is a good strategy only if it’s done right. For instance, if you indulge in cheat meals too frequently, your risk of going back to your previous eating habits will increase. To avoid it, nutritionist Sayed recommends following the 80/20 rule. He suggests that sticking to this rule will help you organise better cheat meals and not go off track or back to your binge-eating days. So, what is this about?
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Well, the 80/200 rule involves sticking to a diet that comprises of 80 percent of nutritious meals and 20 percent of cheat meals. So, you are basically allowing yourself to have the freedom to indulge in your cravings enough to not let it wreck your diet plan.
Cheat meals don’t mean binge-eating
While cheat days allow you to indulge in your favourite delicious delights, it does not mean that you should binge-eat all day. The nutritionist advises sticking to one cheat meal or focusing on fulfilling one craving a day. You should plan your cheat meals according to your health objectives. It will also allow you to figure out how often you should cheat on your meal. While someone trying to lose weight should try to stick to less number of cheat meals, someone who just started their diet might find it difficult to stick to a healthy diet. Hence, resort to frequent cheat meals.
So, try to stick to the 80/20 rule to make sure you are not overdoing it. Also, figure out your fitness goals first before deciding to devour your favourite dishes.