Congratulations to my friend, S.H. (you know who you are!) for losing all of her weight through the rules I write about! She has finally made goal due to determination and motivation to do it. She didn’t half-ass it and she followed the rules. Right on S.H.!
Then, I had another friend who lost a lot of weight, but was stuck. When we dug into what she was doing, it was because she had TWO cheat days a week. Well, my diet rules do NOT include cheat days, so why she decided that two cheat days was a good idea is beyond me, but in my mind it was her way of coming up with an excuse to CHEAT. These cheating excuses is why we get fat in the first place.
What is a cheat? A cheat meal is when you allow yourself something that you normally abstain from.
You should follow the rules about protein and vegetable and fruit portions at least 6 days a week, but once a week usually works for a cheat, if you must do it. This is where you eat properly for all of meals except maybe a Friday dinner out. When you eat right for 6 days a week, one cheat meal on the 7th day will still allow you to reach your goals. But there are rules!
RULES to CHEATING:
1. ONE cheat meal a week.
2. Stick to a cheat meal, rather than a cheat day. An entire days worth of binging can create unhealthy patterns and actually lead to weight gain, spiked blood sugar levels and a generally unhealthy relationship with food. Reserve “cheat days” for 4 times a year – your birthday, Thanksgiving, and two holiday get-togethers, where you have little control over what’s put in front of you. If your cheat days number more than 4 a year, you are not in control.
3. As for the cheat meal itself, your weekly cheat meal should still be within the confines of your daily calorie count or CARB count. Yes, even your cheating needs to be recorded in a food diary or you could undue an entire week’s work. If you eat carbs, keep your count under 100, whatever the cheat is or you will not lose weight and you could actually undue a week of hard work all in one day.
4. The easiest way to stay within your calorie or carb count is by limiting your portions. Say Chicken Parmesan is your cheat; have one small plateful, with a side of vegetables, and freeze any leftovers you may have for use on your next cheat meal.
5. Whatever you do, exercise! It helps burn the cheat away.
Some people need a cheat to give them the willpower to continue the diet. I did not want to stray because I was so determined and on a mission to get to my goal, but I realize that not everyone can do it and need to have something to look forward to doing. Just follow the rules on the cheat though!
The best part about cheat meals is that the longer you stick to your healthy diet, the less sinful the cheat meals will become. You’re going to find you’re no longer lusting after that greasy boston creme donut, that you’d rather save the calories. You’ll find you’d rather have fruit and yogurt than an ice cream cone. Trust me, your tastes start to change for the better, and so will your body.
My cheat (daily) that isn’t really a cheat at all is my 8 ounces of Carbolite at 13-17 grams of carbs per serving. I use it as one of my six daily proteins, so it isn’t really a cheat, but tastes like one–thereby eliminating my “need” to cheat. However, if you don’t have something like that, then I can see how a cheat would be desired. My other fake cheats are Greek Yogurt and Strawberries. YUM! There are also chocolate type low carb items that I have that could be a fake cheat too, like my Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate protein bar at 11g of carbs and my Power Crunch bars at 10 g of carbs. Because I eat those, my desire to cheat is less.
I also make a caulflower-based pizza and eat Skinny noodles with pasta sauce now and then. And I also have the Lindora.com pancake mix as a “cheat”, even though it isn’t.
So, you get my point? You can stay on the diet and still feel like you are cheating…so what is the point of cheating to the point of putting your hard work back on your body?
You have to be creative and do your research–or just read my blog! I have the best suggestions!
Pictures below are my faux cheats. My yogurt and strawberries at 16g of carbs, cauliflower-based pizza less than 10 g of carbs, and my low-carb chicken burrito with 9 g of carbs each.