Okay, so the title may be a little deceiving –there is no doubt being fit requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and motivation. There really are no short cuts. You need to workout consistently. You need to be pretty stern with your diet–nutrition is key afterall, right?! BUT–speaking from years of experience with strict diets, my advice to you is this: cheat meals!
I’ve done the restrictive diets–no carbs allowed, no sugars allowed, no cheese allowed, etc. etc. and they all lead to the same place — binge-eating like crazy about two-four weeks into the diet and getting completely off course. Once I’d binge, I’d eat unhealthy the next meal, because, hey I already ruined my diet today anyway! And the next day– pancakes? Sure! I already ruined my diet yesterday! And pizza for lunch? Why not! My diet is already ruined! And such would be my excuse for the next couple weeks.
Until I jumped on the next restrictive diet and the same vicious cycle would occur.
That is why I believe restrictive diets do not work–not for me at least. I am advocating a cheat meal. Once a week treat yourself for all your hard work.
Cheat meal tips and recommendations:
Cheat meals are just that–a meal. Try not to make it a cheat DAY Eat your normal meals as you would.. Just don’t bother counting calories, macros, yada yada.. (Yeah, If you are a superhuman you can manage to squeeze cheat meals into your macros and hit your numbers perfectly every time—this is not me. Great for you if that is the case! you are an A+ flexible dieter and I envy you !)
Plan it! My cheat meal is usually on Saturday–my boyfriend and I will plan ahead whether it’s ordering pizza, a giant breakfast at our favorite cafe, or wings and beer at the bar. This way, I have something to look forward to and MOST OF ALL, I am not inclined to give into the temptations around me on other days–such as when coworkers order pizza at work or when patients’ families bring in donuts–because I know I have my cheat meal coming soon.
Try to complete a HIIT workout or long steady state cardio workout on days that you plan on having a cheat meal–ideally before you’re feeling fat, lazy, and bloated from all the extra carbs!! HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is ideal because it allows your body to continue to burn off extra calories even after your workout is completed.
Drink extra water to make up for the extra sodium that is in most take out or restaurant/fast food
Eventually, you may be able to start switching up your cheat meal to once every other week. But, as for me, I work out enough that once a week is no harm no foul.
Likewise, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are starting your diet eating a lot of junk or fast food maybe only once a week would be too restrictive to start. You may want to start with two cheat meals a week and then eventually wean down to one.
Everyone is different, do what works best for you and your health
I am on six consecutive months of this “dieting“. It does not feel like a “diet” anymore. On a daily basis I consume: Oatmeal, chicken, egg whites, protein shakes, asparagus, broccoli..etc. etc. sounds pretty boring, but I’m telling you, the ability to have that cheat meal–any meal I can fathom–has been the true life saver–or diet-saver, if you will.
That being said, Life happens. So you plan your cheat meal for Friday — you enjoy a delicious hot, cheesy pizza. But then, Saturday rolls around and your friend invites you to a music festival. You pack healthy snacks, but once you get there your friend convinces you to share chili fries with her. ITS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. Memories over macros.
Yes I have had multiple cheat meals per week, I’ve had the cheat meal that lasted MULTIPLE meals– it’s okay. Just get right back on track with a positive mentality the next day or when you get home from the BBQ or whatever your case may be!
Focus on your goals. Focus why you do what you do. You’ll be able to get back on the right track.