|I mean, who wouldn't want to be saved by this hunk of man meat? - via|
I had seen a couple articles and blog post on the benefits of having a "cheat meal" or "cheat day" every once in a while. Most people do this weekly. I can't. I feel so gross and fat when I do, so I have limited my "cheat meal" for when I have a specific craving, which is usually about every other week or so. The other day I had a craving for the rolls at Golden Corral, so we headed on over and I stuffed my face. I was horrified when I plugged that meal into MyFitnessPal. It was the first time since I've started logging my food that I've gone that much over my calorie budget for the day. So I did some more reading.
Apparently there is more to cheating on your diet than I originally thought. There's a science to it! It's supposed to interrupt our body's process of down-regulating your metabolic rate because of restricted caloric intake.* It does this by reseting the hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenishing glycogen for increased energy, and keeping calorie-burning and fat-torching mechanisms high. When utilized correctly, a cheat meal can help you stay on track and not plateau. Great news right?! But, that doesn't mean you can go crazy and eat an entire box of cookies, a family sized bag of chips, and a pint of ice cream all in one sitting. You still have to use a little restraint and portion control. In order to benefit the most from a cheat meal, you have to choose one that is well balanced; high in calories, protein, and carbs (!!). ** Then treat yourself with some low fat frozen yogurt or just a few cookies instead of the whole container.
Cheat meals have a nice effect on your mental wellbeing too. They make you feel like you can still have that piece of pizza or a burger with fries without feeling guilty and torturing yourself until you have a diet meltdown and fall completely off the healthy lifestyle bandwagon. By allowing yourself to give in to those cravings sometimes you prevent that meltdown from happening and keeps you on track to reach your fitness goals.***
What's your favorite cheat meal?
As always linking up with Snicklefritz Kay and Allie for TIOT and Keep Calm and Blog on for Tea Party Tuesday!