When I was in college I would restrict myself all week long and only eat “healthy foods” and then the weekend would come around and I’d have a huge cheat day. I would eat the greasiest things. Have sweets all the time. Drink a ton and then feel like shit for days and the cycle would repeat itself.
That right there is what I find most people think of when they hear the word cheat meal.
They think it is a free for all that we can eat whatever and however much we want because we’re not going to get more of it for a whole week or longer.
When we think about food in this way we become obsessed.
One of the things I did to combat this is to switch out the word cheat meal with mindful or intuitive meal. It automatically flipped my perception of what that food should be.
A cheat meal or mindful or intuitive meal are technically all the same thing but you have to find what works for your own mindset.
All this meal is, is a meal where you don’t track anything.
It could be when you’re out to eat, getting take out, or simply making something at home.
Other than not tracking, there isn’t necessarily any rules for it.
However, you don’t want to start the cycle that I had in college. We want to break that as soon as we can. (If you have an ED that is something completely different and you need to see a licensed physician about it)
Here are some of the things I help clients do throughout the month so we stop this pattern and move into a healthier relationship with food.
- During the week, don’t deprive yourself of foods. Feel free to add in a sweet treat after a meal, or have a glass of wine one or two nights. That is going to make your free meal a lot less stressful because you know that whatever you are craving you can have and it doesn’t have to be something you don’t get to eat for another week. Now, it is important that you are mindful during the week of how much of these things you’re intaking. You can’t eat a pint of ice cream 3 nights a week and expect to see your abs showing or having clear skin. But, there is moderation with everything.
- Another thing that helps a lot is focusing on being present during this meal. I always suggest to clients to use their free meal to hang out with friends or family, go on a date night, try a new recipe, etc. and be so focused on who you’re surrounded by that the food is just a bonus.
- Sit down to eat. If you’re up and moving around, your body has a lot harder time digesting it and it can lead you to feeling more bloated or puffy afterwards.
- Eat slowly. Take bites and talk to those around you. Or enjoy a show on Netflix. When you eat slowly, your body has time to digest that food and then is able to tell you that it’s full and doesn’t need any more. Sometimes we get so excited that we eat really quickly and then feel like a balloon is in our stomach and we can’t button our jeans any more.
There’s more we can dive into on your individual needs. If you want to find ways to fit in all your favorite foods while continuing to progress in and out of the gym while achieving the best self confidence : click here to see coaching options with me!