Diet is a very broad concept. We all are aware of it, but maybe partially. This word itself is pray to many misconceptions. One of them is CHEAT MEALS. It is often heard but not understood well. I believe that you can cheat your meals but with caution. There is no definition for that. It is basically a concept. Cheat meals are are something we all look forward to. Even celebrities have a these. It does not necessarily involve a whole day of you snacking. It is beyond binge eating. Come let us try and understand the concept of cheat meals. Cheat your meals, but with caution!
WHAT IS CHEAT MEAL?
Let me take an example to elaborate on this. We all are locked up in our houses since 40 days or so. Now, our body is used to a certain pattern. Our body clock has changed. Say, waking up late, not going out and many such things. We are practically deprived of lots of things which we want to do for example junk food. Now if you do not step out of the house at all for 3 months, what will happen? A point will come when you will get frustrated and start acting weird. Is it not? Same way if we keep our bodies deprived of certain foods that we like a lot, our bodies tend to give up too. Cheat meals are nothing but a change in the daily pattern that we eat. For instance, for six days in a week we tend to follow a strict regime starting with healthy breakfast till early dinners. Our body deserved that one day break from that routine. That is cheat meal according to me. Not necessarily they are unhealthy snacks.
WHY ARE CHEAT MEALS IMPORTANT?
Cheat meals are essential for good health. You may think that I am talking rubbish but scientific studies have been done to prove it.
- Reactivate slowed metabolism: Often it is seen that with weight loss diets, a plateau is reached. It is that point after which body stops reacting to the diet or exercise regime that you are following. To bring back your body in track, cheat meals may help. It can help you reactivate slowed metabolism which happens after the plateau is reached.
- Satisfy the cravings: Everyone craves one food item or the other. If we keep depriving our bodies beyond a limit, it may start acting weird. Remeber goal is to control and not deprive. Give your body what it wants once in a while and it will stay intact.
- Source of motivation: You may take cheat meals as a source of motivation. Work hard, control your diet and reqard yourself with your favorite meal once in a while. I think it is not a bad deal. Believe me, some people exercise only to keep having their cheat meals. Joke fair enough? 😀
THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT CHEAT MEALS: Personal experience!
I am a nutritionist by profession. All through my five years of education, I tried to improve my diet with everything I learnt. I started following a strict diet plan and exercise regime about 1.5 years back. It took me while to understand my own body and it’s working. I used to love eating out with friends.
The major problem in my diet was portion size control. I did not eat junk much but I had no control over my portion size at home. I used to eat as much as I thought I needed. Gradually I understood that portion sizes must be controlled. Unhealthy diet and snacking will not help me get fit. I started exercising regularly. One thing I am still religiously following is my NO SUGAR DIET. Frankly speaking, I cheat my meal once in a while. Mostly once in two to three weeks. My cheat meals include my favorite Kurkure or gol gappas. Usually.
I would suggest the following:
- If you had just started working out, try not to eat junk at all. Instead satisfy your cravings with healthy junk maybe. For instance, home made atta momos with paneer stuffing instead of cafe’s tandoori fried momos.
- I eat my cheat meal/ junk once in two three weeks. You can try if it works for you.
- DO not make cheating meals a habit. If you do it often, it may take over your regular routine.
- Do it when you feel you are depriving yourself.
- Portion size is the key. Even if you are having sweet dishes, check on your portion sizes.
- Have a CHEAT MEAL not a CHEAT DAY. It may have repercussions.