The Truth About Cheating
No one will go through their entire life without eating the higher-fat, simple carb foods that you love, but if you want to succeed at losing weight, then you might commit to refraining from them on a regular basis. If you start a healthy nutritional plan, you must change your habits. This doesn’t mean that you’re not entitled to a cheat meal.
Let’s say that you’ve diligently stayed on your plan for at least two weeks. But when you go to sleep, you don’t dream of sneaking away with Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie –you want to snuggle with a sizzling piece of fried chicken and caress a gorgeous slice of cheese and peperoni pizza. This doesn’t make you strange, but simply human. I mean, can you imagine never having freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies or a glass of good wine again? Are you supposed to go through life singing “Happy Birthday” without a fork into some rich, delicious cake? Come on! That just doesn’t seem fair or possible.
Many diets make it clear to you that you can never have your favorite things. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not going through the rest of my life without my Easter candy.
You see, one of the reasons most diets fail is because they’re too restrictive –they don’t allow you to ever deviate from the program, so if you stray, the feeling of failure is overwhelming. Are you a failure if you have a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Absolutely not. That’s why I believe that everyone should schedule a cheat meal into his or her weekly nutritional plan. This means that one day a week you’re entitled to have one meal of anything you want, Please reread that sentence because you’re not hallucinating, I did say “anything you want.” Cheeseburger and fries? No problem. Ben & Jerry’s? Sure, That big extra-cheese pizza? Go for it.
But again, don’t confuse a cheat meal with a cheat day-one meal means one meal.
This cheat meal serves many positive purposes, especially metabolically. Your body is incredibly adaptive, so when you change your eating patterns to create weight loss, it gets used to the new program in a very short period of time. Your body will start to accept your new way of eating as a maintenance program instead of a weight-reduction plan. This translates into your getting results for a period of time, and then the weight loss inevitably slows down as your body adapts to this new way of life.
I know that this terribly frustrating, but believe it or not, your cheat meal can actually help offset this metabolic nightmare. When you have a high-calorie meal or a few foods that your body isn’t getting in a regular basis, you shock your metabolism back into action. Yes, your calories for that day will be higher than normal, but that also shocks your metabolism. The key is that you must return to your diet the next day, in order to experience a calorie deficiency from the prior day’s eating. Your body (which you’ve now tricked) should respond by dropping more weight.
That’s great news, but I think that there’s an even better side effect from the cheat meal: It helps you keep some sort of normalcy in your life. If you want to go on a social outing with your friends, family or significant other, then you can just make it coincide with your cheat meal. Do you have a hot date? Congratulations! Go ahead and eat whatever you want (Except for pasta, which is always too messy for a first date). The best part of the cheat meal is that it keeps you from feeling as if you failed. In fact, I prefer to call them “sanity meals.”