Double scoop-sundaes or scrumptious spaghetti, cheesy hamburgers, or mac and cheese?
Isn’t this what cheat meal dreams are made up of? Ostensibly, just thinking about cheat meals can uplift one’s spirits however when one indulges in it what follows is a nightmare of guilt-tripping. Sometimes, the call of the cravings can be too hard to quell and it’s absolutely okay to indulge in a cheat meal once in a while. We are here to demystify how to manage your cheat meals and what to do when those cravings kick in.
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Physical and psychological effects of a cheat meal →
If taken in a calculated manner, cheat meals can facilitate your diet, further helping with your body-transformation goals. Though diet and nutrition are highly personalized depending upon one’s goals, body type, and several other factors; indulging in a cheat meal after following a strict healthy diet for a considerable time releases two main hormones: Leptin and Ghrelin. The hunger hormone, Leptin helps regulate your appetite and stores energy whereas Ghrelin is an appetite stimulant too which signals growth. This can essentially help accelerate the goals intended with your planned diet.
Besides, rewarding yourself with a cheat meal after following a strict diet also gives one a sense of accomplishment and a temporary incentive to look forward to, further helping one stay determined to complete their diet.
1. Earn the Burn:
From the aforementioned information, we know that cheat meals are a great way of accelerating your body-transformation goals and helping your diet. However, one needs to plan it appropriately. As the hormones are affected only when your body acknowledges a calorie deficiency in your overall nutrition intake. Incorporating a calorie-rich meal into your diet tricks your body into thinking the food needs to be burned using “fat-stores” thus accelerating your metabolism. However, this can only happen if you’ve followed a good diet with fewer calories for a considerable time.
2. Moderation is the Key:
Remember that your cheat meal is a reward for being good to your body, overeating or extending the cheat meal into cheat days will completely sabotage all the hard work and determination you put into achieving it. While a little splurge is not bad and may render some nutrition too, you certainly don’t want all your hard work to go in vain.
3. Healthy Alternatives to the Rescue:
It’s normal to crave something while you’re trying to keep up with your diet, especially during the mid-week, when that cheat meal day seems far away and the days are gloomy. It’s essential to not succumb to those cravings and have a logical approach, don’t break your diet completely but look for healthy alternatives. If you’re craving some potato chips, opt for some fox nuts. Does your sweet tooth seem to be super active today? Get yourself some flavoured yoghurt. Following a diet doesn’t have to be a purgatory for you, get yourself some nutritious and delicious delights to keep you going.
4. Sweat before you Feast:
Another way to minimize gaining fat from your cheat meal and prevent your diet from going into ruins is to deplete your glycogen store, i.e. the sugar in your system that your body burns up when it needs energy. The body doesn’t store fat if glycogen stores are empty. Hitting the gym and doing some cardio before your cheat meal is a great way of tricking your body to not storing fat and using it for glycogen instead which adds to your nutrition.