Cheating your way to fitness
We all want to eat anything we want to but still have a fit and slim body. Unfortunately, that is perhaps the only thing that’s just not possible. If you want to have a great body and look good, then you must watch what you eat. But many confess that saying no to tasty high calorie food is harder than sweating out at the gym.
That’s where cheat meals come in says Niroj Lama, fitness director at Jasmine Fitness Spa in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. “If you follow a good diet plan, then you can have any food of your choice once or twice a week. You can consider these ‘cheat meals’ to be calorie-free,” says Lama adding that this theory acts as psychological motivation for those who want to lose weight while eating chocolate cake or pizza once in a while.
However Lama mentions that cheat meals are harmless only when you are smart about it. And also that this might not be a good idea for those who are obese and have a lot of weight to lose. But if you just want to be fit and healthy, then including cheat meals in your diet plan might be a good idea that will help you stay on track. “When you include cheat meals in your diet plan you are more likely to stick to it because you know there will come a time when you can eat whatever you want,” explains Lama adding that there are certain things you must consider while including cheat meals in your food plan. And, for those looking to incorporate a cheat meal in their diet plan, Lama shares some important factors you need to keep in mind.
Know if it will work for you
“You need to understand that cheat meals are only for those who are very strict with their diet plans,” says Lama adding that those who eat heavy meals on a daily basis are cheating already and for these people cheat meals just add to the calorie intake. However, when you are trying to lose weight and controlling what you eat, having your favorite meal once or twice a week is never an issue. “This will instead motivate people to follow their plans more strictly because they are losing weight without completely giving up their favorite food,” he explains.
Plan before you eat
The first thing to do while going on a diet plan that includes a cheat meal is to decide what and when your cheat meal will be. “Don’t just declare a meal as a cheat meal because you feel like it,” says Lama adding that you should plan when you will indulge yourself and follow that strictly. However, if you are visiting your relatives then make the meal you take there a cheat meal. On other days follow your planned diet schedule. This disciplinary act will help you to maintain your diet as well as avoid awkward situations while hanging out with friends and relatives.
Do not turn your cheat meal into cheat day
“Cheat meal means a single meal in a particular day,” say Lama, “But some turn their cheat meal into a cheat day and that wrecks havoc on their diet plan.” You have to remind yourself not to go overboard and stick to a single meal. Suppose on a Sunday you let yourself have pizza for lunch then you mustn’t eat junk food and gorge on ice cream for the rest of the day as well. That single pizza has been treat enough for following a good diet plan throughout the week. “Wait for your next cheat meal to indulge in something else of your choice,” says Lama.
Choose your meals more precisely
Lama says you should try to avoid junk food as your cheat meal. Also he suggests you try limiting your food choices. “Rather than having a entire slab of chocolate, have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate,” he says. Similarly, do not go eat more than your capacity. For this, one can slow down their eating speed. “Taking a longer time to eat will allow you to stop when you are full rather than eating fast and stopping when you realize you have already overstuffed yourself,” he says.
Be gentle not jarring
Our body adapts to things we do regularly. This is true for our food habits as well. “If you have plain, simple food for a few days and then suddenly have a spicy dish as your cheat meal you can have an upset stomach and spoil your metabolism as well,” says Lama adding that you must not shock your body by going on the extremes. Rather, he suggests, you take plan your cheats meals to go well with the rest of your diet plan.
Add liquid to your meal
Staying hydrated is necessary to increase metabolism. Make it a point to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water every single day. Drink water before your meal and an hour afterwards as well. “Drink as much water as possible especially after having your cheat meals,” suggests Lama.
And finally, do not feel guilty
“You should not feel guilty about occasionally indulging in food of your choice even if it is junk food,” says Lama adding that many people feel guilty after having a bowl of ice cream or a slab of chocolate cake. This can lead to stress that in turn leads to weight gain, which defeats the purpose of a cheat meal. In rare cases, it can even lead to eating disorders.