Everyone loves eating food. Aside from the fact that we need to eat food as a necessity for our body to function well, eating food fulfills our heart and soul. And yet, we’re in constant conflict on what principles to follow when it comes to eating food.
We’re aware of how we should eat healthy foods to be healthy. However, it’s difficult for us to give up our love for delicious pizza, fries, soda, and other processed foods we love. Is there a way to make peace with food and create a perfect balance between eating healthy foods and the ones we love? Here’s what the experts have to say.
The Concept of Cheat Meals
The health and fitness industry coined the term “cheat meals” or “cheating day” when you decide to indulge yourself in your favorite foods (which mainly composed of processed foods) while you’re on a weight loss plan.
While the idea of cheating is meant to be good, most people feel confused and in guilt. Why? It’s because they feel bad about eating the foods they used to love. They feel as if they’re breaking rules, leading them to hate food and deprive themselves from eating it.
Most people also develop depression, anxiety, and guilt as they tend to stay away from the foods they used to love eating.
These conflicting thoughts often lead to an eating disorder. According to health experts, a person is in constant conflict, and they question their ability to make decisions on foods and what’s best for them. The renowned registered dietitian Martha McKittrick says he doesn’t like to use the word cheat meal when talking with his clients because it creates an idea that there are good and bad foods.
According to him, it creates an illusion that eating cheat meals means eating bad food. So in essence, it’s a sign that you’re unhappy not only in the food you eat but also in your diet. According to Mascha Davis, you need to change your perception about cheat meals. Instead of using the word cheat, she recommends using the words “treat meals.”
Changing the words from “Cheat meals” to “treat meals” can make a huge difference in how you view and treat foods. According to McKittrick, incorporating your planned indulgences or “treat meals” in your diet will give people the feeling of something to look forward to, some sort of a reward system after following a rigid diet plan.
Whether it’s a piece of your favorite cake, a big juicy cheeseburger, and large fries, or a scoop of ice cream, you’ll enjoy eating food without any guilt lingering in your mind and heart.
Treat meals give people a sense of freedom to enjoy eating the foods they love without judging it as a bad food, or not part of their diet.
While having planned indulgences is good, Davis recommends doing it in moderation so that it won’t turn into a binge eating. She recommends practicing the concept of portion control. For example, you can eat 1 piece of dark chocolate after dinner.
In this way, you can still enjoy munching your favorite foods without going overboard. If you love what you eat (in moderation) and it helps keep your weight at bay, you don’t need to cheat at all!
Tips for Effective Planned Indulgences
The health experts recommend you apply these strategies to incorporate planned indulgences in your weight loss effectively.
Exercise Before You Eat Your Planned Indulgence
Exercising helps burn the calories in your body and boost your metabolism, making it easier for your body to burn your treat meals faster.
You might be excited to treat and splurge yourself of your favorite foods, but don’t forget to work out before the great meal. According to health experts, working out not only helps in keeping your body physically fit and healthy, but it also burns the calories you have throughout the day. It also helps boost your metabolism so the moment you eat your treat meals, it burns easily and converts it to energy rather than storing it as fats.
Stand Up and Be Active While Eating
If you haven’t exercised, you can still enjoy eating your treat meals while standing and talking with your friends or take the stairs or dance. Getting active while eating helps in burning your foods, compared to sitting on the table where it increases your risk of binge eating.
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