Can 1 or 2 cheat meals per week ruin your diet? Are cheat meals necessary for sticking to a diet or are they bad for weight loss?
Are cheat meals necessary?
Certainly, cheat meal aren’t necessary. By definition, a cheat meal is a single meal that breaks a diet. Usually, a cheat meal is high in calories, high in fat, or sugar. It’s a guilty pleasure.
In many cases, people who try to lose weight, let themselves to enjoy their favorable food, once in a while. Cheat meals aren’t necessary, but they help people to stick to a strict diet. Is this a good mindset, though?
Are cheat meals good?
Cheat meals are good if they help you stick to your diet. But, you shouldn’t think this way. You shouldn’t follow strict diets, just to lose weight fast. In most cases, people tend to gain all weight back.
You shouldn’t follow extremely strict diets. It’s healthier if you lose weight steadily, over a period of many months. You shouldn’t think a meal as cheat meal. On the contrary, all meals should be filling and tasteful. Otherwise, you would heave a really bad time sticking to a hard-to-follow diet.
Cheat meal or cheat day?
Moreover, there are people who prefer a whole cheat day. That’s bad for losing weight. Let’s do some math…
You need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.
It’s pretty safe to lose 1 pound a week. You shouldn’t aim for losing more than 1 pound a week. Remember, losing weight demands time. You didn’t gain all the extra pounds over a week…
5000 calorie cheat day
Let’s say that you used to follow a 2,000 calorie diet. If you want to lose 1 pound a week, you should limit your daily calorie intake to 1,500 calories. So, if you consume 500 fewer calories per day, you’ll have consumed 500*7=3500 calories fewer calories, by the end of the week. Hence, you’ll have lost 1 pound.
On the other hand, cheat days are bad for losing weight. It’s easy to consume 5,000 calories in a cheat day. Instead of consuming 3,500 fewer calories, you would have consumed the same amount of calories before dieting. The extra 3,500 calories of the cheat day ruin all the effort.
Above all, avoid cheat days. They can ruin any diet, inhibiting weight loss.
Always count the total daily calorie intake. There is no need to be extremely specific. Just keep in mind that a cheat meal is OK, but a cheat day is bad for losing weight. Most people don’t realize it.
Cheat meal once a week
As cheat days aren’t an option, what about cheat meals? How many cheat meals a week could we enjoy?
It really depends on the definition of cheat meal. For instance, if you love pizza, how do you define pizza cheat meal? Someone would answer 3 slices, other a whole pizza… Therefore, it depends on total amounts of calories of the cheat meal.
In most cases, 1 whole pizza has 2,000 – 2,500 calories.
So, eating a whole pizza as a cheat meal, twice a week isn’t a good idea. If you really love pizza, you could eat a whole pizza, once a week. Unfortunately, you should consume even fewer calories in the rest meals.
Eat food low in calories, before a cheat meal
The best cheat meal is the one that you can’t eat. Let me explain…
When it’s time to eat your pizza, consume a large bowl of salad before. Don’t use any fatty dressing or nuts, as they’re pretty high in calories. Just your favorite oil-free vinaigrette. Use lemon juice, balsamic, mustard, and spices. Any green salad with a dressing low in calories is good for losing weight.
Greens keep you full for a long time.
Firstly, veggies are pretty high in fiber. The human body needs time to break down fiber. Moreover, just a handful of veggies keeps the stomach full. Consequently, the stomach transfers signals to the brain that you’re full.
Therefore, eating a big bowl of salad 30-45 minutes before your cheat meal is ideal. If you aren’t hungry, you won’t eat a whole pizza…
Just eating a whole salad, before a cheat meal, can inhibit you from consuming thousands of extra unnecessary calories.
What about a healthy cheat meal?
Are there healthy cheat meals that are actually good for weight loss?
Depending on weight loss, calories are calories. No matter what, you should limit the daily calorie intake. Healthy food doesn’t mean weight loss.
Certainly, eating plant-based is good for losing weight. Greens and fruits are pretty low in calories. On the other hand, cereals, seeds, and nuts can be bad for losing weight fast. Most noteworthy, vegetable oils are the most calorie-dense foods on the planet. Just 1 tablespoon contains more than 120 calories.
Hence, even the healthiest meal, like a green salad can easily transform to a cheat meal. Add seeds, nuts, and lots of any vegetable oil and you’ll get a high calories plant-based cheat meal. Does it worth it?
How often can I eat a cheat meal?
There is no rule. But, it’s better if you don’t eat cheat meals day by day.
Try to limit cheat meals to once or twice a week. Let, at least 3 days, between cheat meals.
As a rule of thumb, eat food that you enjoy. Learn to cook. Avoid fats and sugar. Try to eat many vegetables, herbs, microgreens, beans, and fruits. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds, such as chlorophyll. On the contrary, they’re low in calories. They’re the best foods for losing weight and protecting our health.