Are Cheat Meals OK?

It’s been nearly 16 weeks since I started my second attempt at staying fit and healthy. In 2012 I adopted the fit lifestyle, lost more than 25 pounds and felt great. Due to a major surgery, I was unable to workout for more than a month and my physical activity and healthy eating habits were not as structured as they once were. Nearly a year later I had gained all the of lost-weight back and it was a huge wakeup call.

Today, I’m down 15 pounds and struggling with the concept of cheat meals. When I decided to become more health-minded I committed to a diet of 100 percent clean eating. It’s been great so far, but lately I’ve been feeling fatigued and weak. With more than 100 running miles logged for August and September, I’m thinking that I need to up my daily intake. But that’s another story. I’ve done some pseudo cheat-meals like cauliflower crust pizza with Daiya cheese or an at-home custom burrito bowl without all of the “bad stuff” like sour cream, cheeses and rice and I’ve dug into a carton of chocolate coconut milk ice cream once or twice. Now, I’m at the the point where all I want to do is indulge in all of my cravings. But, after the fact I know I will feel guilty and I may even get off track with my whole healthy lifestyle.

So, what’s a girl to do? Here’s what has worked for me so far.

Don’t Treat Food as a Reward

Try your best to avoid treating food as a reward. Food is fuel. If you’re not getting enough energy on a daily basis consider upgrading your intake, with good foods of course. After you’ve reached a fitness milestone, instead of treating yourself to a buffet-style dinner, reward yourself by purchasing a new workout top or a new pair of athletic shoes. You’ll feel better about your choice and you’ll have something new to workout in.

Quit Justifying Your Choices

It’s hard not to justify a greasy, carb filled meal after a long hard workout. “I ran 6 miles so I can eat that” or “It’s ok I worked out today” doesn’t cut it. For me, the harder I work out and if my workout schedule is consistent I won’t want to slip up and have a cheat meal. It’s hardest for me when I’m in a workout slump.

Moderation is Key

I confess. I’m a binger. When it comes to cheat meals, I eat as much, as fast as I can. But, I need to work on this. Instead of consuming an entire pizza or downing an entire plate of wings, divvy up smaller portions of your cheat meal and remember to eat slow. The feeling with be more satisfying and you will feel full, faster.

Time Matters

Be conscious of when you will indulge in a cheat meal. Make sure your cheat meal isn’t a last minute decision while you are out with friends, or you have had one to many late-night drinks. Plan out what you would like to eat, write it on the calendar and you’ll have a little something to look forward to.

Don’t Feel Guilty

I struggle big-time when it comes to feeling guilty about eating “unhealthy” foods. However, food is fuel and it can always be burned off with a good workout.


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