Want to know a secret to getting your ideal body and keeping it? Sometimes you need to have treats or as some people call it a "cheat meal.” Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the term “cheat” as it makes it sound like you are doing something wrong. My F.I.T. programs are about a total lifestyle change and, in my opinion, a treat or a ‘bad’ meal every now and again is totally healthy and normal. One bad meal isn’t going to ruin your hard work if you are healthy most of the time. Just as one healthy meal isn’t going to give you sculpted abs if you eat bad most of the time. I believe that to be fit and healthy long term you need to make it something you can maintain, which also means enjoying life and allowing yourself those treats. Personally, I never want to deprive myself or feel like I’m not allowed to have anything. So I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to eat some pizza, or a burger, or dessert every now and again.
Why cheat (treat) meals are okay?
When it comes to getting that body you want, what you put in your mouth is a major factor in the results you get. However, going on extreme deprivation diets don’t work at all. This often leads to binge eating, which is completely counter-productive towards any work you have put in at the gym. It also creates an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. However, if used correctly, incorporating treats into your healthy eating can actually be beneficial to you. First of all, it helps reduce the psychological effects that come with completely banning foods, which then leads to wanting them even more. By having a treat meal to look forward to you are less likely to be tempted and go off track. Having a treat, when used correctly, can also be used to your advantage in your overall results. That's because it can help reset your hormones that are responsible for your metabolism and keep your calorie burn rate high. However, when having a treat there are just a few guidelines I like to follow:
Remove the guilt
The worst thing you can do when you have a treat is then beat yourself up over it. I hear girls all the time calling themselves “failures” because they slipped up and had a bad meal. Guilt and food should never go together, as this is just setting you up for an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. I’ve been there before and it’s not a fun place to be at all. The whole thing about having a treat is that it should be savoured, enjoyed and without the guilt.
Plan for it
If you want to have a treat, then just plan it into your weekly schedule and healthy eating plan. I will generally allow an unhealthy meal once a week, where I can eat whatever I want with no guilt. Often it’s a good date night with Dec, where we go out for a nice dinner and I’ll even enjoy a dessert. However, I do like to plan ahead so I can make sure I’ve been super healthy for the rest of the day and I’ve done a good workout at the gym. When you plan for it and know it’s coming, also helps in resisting those other times when you might be tempted to steer off your healthy eating plan.
So, just because you are having a treat, doesn’t mean you should go on an all-out binge and eat a few slices of cake, a packet of biscuits and a whole pizza. Not only will you feel incredibly ill, your poor digestive system will be put under a lot of stress. It’s also creating the unhealthy “restrict and binge eating cycle”, which I see so many girls put themselves through. Instead, keep your portion sizes to the same as any other meal you have and drink plenty of water. If you do find yourself in digestive distress, go for a gentle walk and drink some peppermint tea.
Resume healthy eating straight after
Don’t fall into the mindset, well I’ve had one bad meal, therefore I may as well eat bad for the rest of the day or week. As soon as you start to consistently eat unhealthy food, it can be difficult to get back on track and into your healthy eating routine. Remember, this is about creating a balanced lifestyle that you can enjoy and maintain.
Cheat without cheating
One of my favourite things to do is create healthy versions of my favourite, not so healthy treats. This is what I call “cheating without cheating”, and something I’ve incorporated into all of my F.I.T. programs. In fact, some recipes in there are hard to believe that they are good for you. I have chocolate F.I.T. brownies, chocolate peanut butter bars, sweet potato fries and delicious protein pancakes, to just name a few. By incorporating healthy versions of treats into your meals plans, it removes any sense of deprivation and helps you stay with healthy eating long term.
Remember, being fit and healthy is about balance and enjoying life. If you have a treat, enjoy it and then get back to healthy eating straight after. What are some of your favourite treats you like to indulge in, every now and again?