Will this dietary strategy aid or obstruct your objectives? Your personality may play a role in the answer.
Do you fantasise about your next splurge meal? Many people who diet or restrict their nutrition — whether it’s through calorie restriction, carbohydrate restriction, sugar restriction, or any other number of restrictions – live for the sweet glory of their cheat meals. While this strategy may work for some, it isn’t necessarily the greatest option for everyone. In fact, your personality may play a role in whether or not this attitude is beneficial to your overall healthy lifestyle.
Some of us are able to be rigid and regimented with no negative consequences; however, a significant number of people suffer from emotional stress and occasionally disordered eating as a result of this way of thinking, They begin to overanalyze each bite and lose the pleasure of eating.
When evaluating if cheat meals are right for you, most experts agree that there are various pros and cons to consider:
Advantages of Cheat Meals
Those with a reward-driven personality may gain from it. Cheat meals are viewed as a form of remuneration for a particular behaviour. Cheat meals can give someone something to work toward if they are devoted to their goal.
Increasing awareness of food sensitivities. When we think of cheat days, we frequently think of ‘eating anything we want,’ even though we know we won’t feel great, I believe that one of the benefits of cheat days or meals is just identifying what those items are. It’s critical to understand how our bodies react to the various foods we consume. In the past, having cheat days motivated me to avoid them and enjoy items that make me feel good without going overboard.
Your efforts will not be derailed by a single indulgence. Occasionally indulging in items that may be considered unhealthy will not derail someone’s health journey. Food should nourish us, not cause us stress and shame when we set unrealistic goals for ourselves.
The Drawbacks of Cheat Meals
It has the potential to interfere with your mind. Our ultimate goal is to have a sustainable eating lifestyle, We don’t want to be yo-yoing all the time. By referring to a meal as a cheat, we are implying that we are depriving ourselves of pleasures. Food is used to reward us, which leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. We end up teaching ourselves that if we are good at self-restraint, we will be rewarded with a bad meal.
It has the potential to morph into something bigger by mistake (like a binge). It’s like tasting the forbidden fruit you might want more since you’re not supposed to,. And once that happens, we become subconscious feeders as humans. We don’t realise how much we’re eating, especially since we won’t be able to enjoy it again for another week.
You might come to regret them. Cheat days and meals can definitely lead to binges that can ruin someone’s goals,. As a result, people feel bad about themselves physically and emotionally. It takes a long time to get back on track after eating healthy six days a week and then overloading our bodies with a variety of junk meals. It can lead to someone losing sight of the importance of eating for good health and enjoyment and instead focusing on punishment and reward.
A Smarter Approach to Cheating
Follow these best practises to boost your chances of success, whether you’ve decided to make cheat meals a part of your lifestyle or you’re still testing to see if it’s a good fit:
- Make preparations ahead of time. Set it up ahead of time and know what you’re going to have so you don’t eat with your eyes, And limit yourself to one once per week.
- Set some limits for yourself. I tell my customers that the cheating begins the moment they sit down and continues until they get up from the table. That’s a terrific approach to impose some restraint and prevent it from devolving into a binge or a full-fledged cheat day.
- Allow yourself to be free of guilt. Give yourself some grace and understand that shame won’t make what you ate go away. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
- At the end of the day, I believe that everyone should figure out what works best for them and be honest about whether or not it is in their best interests.
- Continued overthinking about what we’re eating can lead to disordered eating, increased stress, and bad health, she adds. True long-term health is achieved through tailoring someone’s diet by developing sustainable health practises that fit their particular demands. It’s a liberating decision to set dietary guidelines that don’t make you feel like you need to take a break.