Bust through weight loss plateaus by occasionally eating what you love!
What if you were told it’s okay to cheat? Shocking, right? Well, hang on. Let’s back up for a second. Before you start getting creative with the numbers on your income tax or fudging the points to your bowling score, there’s only one area where we’re actually condoning the occasional cheat. And it’s on your diet!
Fact – dieting is tough. It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice to achieve the results you desire. But there are days when no matter how many times you recite a mantra, look at your vision board or try to find some kind of a distraction, you just need that cupcake. The good news is that’s okay.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. In simple terms, burn more calories than you consume. By making good food choices and exercising several times a week, this is realistic. However, weeks of eating nothing but grilled chicken, broccoli and sweet potato can take its toll on your mind. Though focused or determined, without even a glimmer of a treat on the horizon, a strict lifestyle can end up backfiring, resulting in binges or, even worse, giving up!
There’s also the physical component to consider. Congratulations on maintaining this lifestyle for weeks now but . . . now that your body is accustomed to this calorie deficit, eventually it will burn fewer calories. This can create a plateau and stall your efforts. As well, energy levels can decline. So how do we get your body back to an energetic, fat-burning machine? Incorporate a cheat meal!
The emphasis here is “meal,” not cheat “day” or cheat “weekend,” but one meal over the course of the week. For six days adhere to your clean meal plan, and on one day of your choosing, give yourself permission to indulge. Maybe it’s been pizza you miss the most during your transformation. So on Friday, take the night off and have a couple of slices (not the whole thing). Not only can it be the calorie burst your body has been wanting, but it also gives you something to look forward to. Those mundane cardio sessions just got a little bit easier knowing there’s a treat within reach.
In the past, you may have stressed about upcoming special occasions. Your best friend’s bridal shower – how could you possibly avoid the finger sandwiches? Or a date night with your husband – why go to the movies if you can’t have popcorn? You don’t have to put your social life on hold simply because there will be tempting food. It all comes down to strategy.
A few housekeeping rules to keep in mind:
Always “plan” your cheat meal
Don’t decide on a whim or when you’re hungry. Chances are you’ll over-do it. Maintain control!
Drink plenty of water before and after
Pre-meal, it will help you feel full. Post-meal, especially if your meal is a salty one, the water will help compensate for the extra sodium.
The ideal meal
High-carb, moderate protein. The carbs will boost your leptin levels and promote fat-burning. The protein will help you feel fuller, longer. Yummy examples are tuna rolls, spaghetti Bolognese, and chicken and waffles.
Bank your calories
Knowing you’re going to be “cheating” later in the day, eat lightly for your previous meals. Your body will be able to handle the additional cals.
Don’t shy away from logging your cheats on your app. This will help keep you accountable, on track and free of guilt!
After going through all the effort to strategize and control your cheat, don’t rush it. Savor every bite. It may be a long six days until the next one!