When we have spent the entire week being diligent with our diet and have worked to the bone in the gym, we look forward to that cheat meal more than anything. Cheat meals are a fantastic way to reward ourselves for the work we’ve done, but while we need to give ourselves that indulgence we’ve got to do a cheat meal in the right way so that we are on track with our diet. Here are a few things to bear in mind.
Add More Protein to Your Cheat Meal
Protein is a macronutrient that will not just help you recover from your workouts, but will assist you in avoiding those cravings for unhealthy treats. When you are thinking about upgrading your cheat meals to have more protein, the simplest thing you can do is add more nuts. Sweetened and salted nuts are incredibly tasty, but if you still feel like you deserve a massive dessert, this Christmas crack candy is full of pecans, but you also can swap out the M&Ms for peanut-filled ones instead of the chocolate, so you are getting more protein. This will make you feel fuller and those unhealthy portions are kept to a minimum!
Set Your Limits
A cheat meal is a cheat meal, not a cheat day! This is one of the biggest issues people have because as soon as they have something naughty, it starts firing off the receptors in the brain that make them want to consume more sugary, unhealthy foods. Making sure that you have one meal that is as indulgent as possible is great, but you need to make sure you plan what you are going to eat the meal before your cheat meal and the meal after your cheat meal. When you plan the meals before and after, you will have healthier foods to look forward to.
Exercise Before Your Cheat Meal
A lot of fitness professionals talk about the thermogenic effects of exercise. If you do a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session before you have your cheat meal, you’ve got the added benefit of the afterburner effects. The other great thing about having an incredibly intense workout before your cheat meal is that the meal feels like a major award because you’ve pushed harder than before!
When you drink water before your cheat meal this will fill up your stomach so you don’t feel so inclined to have more of it. It’s important to stay hydrated and it’s also critical to remember that hydration is not just about water, but about making sure that you eat more vegetables as well. Water in the vegetables in addition to the fiber will ensure you feel fuller when it comes to that cheat meal. It’s also a good idea to be more mindful when you are eating; lots of people wolf food down as a source of fuel but don’t stop to savor it. It can take roughly 20 minutes for the receptors in your brain to register that you are feeling full. Eating those cheat meals slowly and surely means that you are getting the benefit of every bite, and you may even feel full before you finish it!