Since I started my fitness Instagram account, my view on nutrition and cheat meals has changed a lot. You may have read past blog posts where I have admitted to not eating very well in the past. Before starting my Instagram account, I didn’t eat that healthy. I thought I did, but I didn’t really know much about clean eating or nutrition or how important these things are for having a healthy body on the outside as well as the inside.
When I first got into the fitness scene, I started eating healthier meals, and doing healthy baking, but I was still eating typical junk food (chocolate, biscuits, etc). As I’ve progressed, my view of “clean eating” has progressed. Now I try not to eat dairy, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol or typical junk food. I went through a phase where I completely gave up all junk food and alcohol for 6 months. I felt a lot better but would still want to eat chocolate. For me, some foods are easy to give up (like gluten, dairy and alcohol), but others (like chocolate!) are not so easy.
Do you have cheat meals and/or eat junk food?
Now, I’m not as strict with my diet (although I still do not drink alcohol). I know how to eat healthy and I know what I should / shouldn’t be eating. I eat healthy most of the time, but if I want to eat junk food, I’ll eat it. I used to program cheat meals into my diet so that once or twice per week I could have junk food, but now, I just try to stick to healthy eating and indulge when I want to, but try not to make it too often!
I found that being super restrictive while it can have good results, it’s not good for your mind or your relationship with food. When I was only allowed to eat cheat meals on certain days, I would use it as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. And then if it was a Saturday, I would struggle to get back on track Sunday, so I would wait until Monday, and then it would just turn into a weekend of terrible eating.
Do you recommend cheat meals?
Yes I think they can be very beneficial in some circumstances. If you are eating a very healthy diet, I think it’s good to program in some days where you can treat yourself a little. Some people put them on certain days of the week, while others just see how they go as the week goes by.
Eating a cheat meal every now and then can actually help get you better results. If you’re eating to a strict diet then your body adapts and you may plateau. Eating a cheat meal keeps your body guessing and it has to work harder to process the larger amount of food.
But cheat meals are not for everyone. If your diet is not 100% perfect, I would not recommend having a day or a meal where you can indulge, because there is no point to this really, it’s just doing damage. Plus not everyone can handle cheat meals. Some people find it hard to bounce back into their healthy eating and exercise routine after cheating (like me). Some people may feel guilty afterwards. And some people tend to binge out on anything and everything and completely overdo it. Cheat meals should allow you to eat foods that you typically would not eat, but not to eat so much that you make yourself sick!
Cheat meals work well for some and not so well for others. You need to make up your own mind on whether cheat meals are something that will work for you.
Please note that I am NOT a nutritionist (although I am studying to become one). This information is based on my own personal experience and research. If you require assistance, please seek professional advice.