No one is perfect, so why do we think that our diet has to be? Good food was meant to be enjoyed. Delicious food in the dieting and lifestyle change world is like the sun to a vampire and thus, “the cheat meal” was born. Now I know what you’re thinking, “cheating is bad,” (I mean just look at the ridicule Tom Brady got). For this reason, I’ve recently adopted the term indulgence meals. That has a nice ring to it, indulge in those foods you crave the most. I mean seriously, who has the time or energy to eat clean all the time? The answer is no one.
Which brings us to the real question; when’s the best time for an indulgence meal? I’ve put together some simple tips to help you figure it out, because the timing of this meal really depends on YOU.
Tip #1: Plan your indulgence meals.
Do you have a family dinner planned, a date, or a night out with some friends? When is it going to be difficult to stick to your healthy lifestyle? This will make whatever the occasion more care-free and fun without having to worry about the calories you are consuming.
This will also allow you to pick foods that you will actually enjoy instead of splurging after a day’s work. Don’t let this be a spur of the moment decision. For example, if you are planning on having a cheat meal at dinner you can have a smaller/ lower calorie breakfast or lunch. Which brings us to tip #2.
Tip #2: Don’t go overboard!
Your indulgence meal is not a chance to see if you’ll be a good contender for next year’s hot dog eating contest on the fourth, but it is a chance to eat the food you’ve been craving. If you stick to tip #1 and plan your indulgence meal, it will be easy to make sure you don’t over eat. Don’t let your indulgence meal become an indulgence day!
Tip #3: Limit your indulgence meals.
We’ve all done it, I know I have; I’ll indulge on dinner on Monday, Taco Tuesday rolls around, then there’s wine Wednesday and Thursday I’ll grab lunch with some friends. Now all of a sudden I’ve had four indulgence meals in one week. It is easy to consume extra calories without missing a beat. If you limit your indulgence meals to once or twice a week, you will be able to stay on track with your health goals.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated
Even when you are about to indulge, drink plenty of water. Restaurant foods are notorious for being loaded with sodium which can leave you feeling dehydrated. Combat this with plenty of water throughout the day.
Tip #5: Don’t feel guilty and move on.
If you find yourself feeling guilty after an indulgence meal, I’m sorry to say, you’re missing the point. This is your chance to chow down on that one food that’s been on your mind. Don’t let the guilt lead you down the yellow brick road of bad eating. Do it. Enjoy it. Move on.
Tip #6: Have a smarter indulgence meal.
I believe that if you’re going to indulge you should go for it. Our bodies tend to crave high fat and sugary foods, but you knew this, think about what your indulgence meals tend to be. Excessive dietary fats in an indulgence meal can be detrimental to your health goals. Yes, your body needs fat to function properly please don’t go cutting fats from your diet, but your meal doesn’t need to be as bad as eating a stick of butter. One of my favorite indulgence meals is sushi. Not great for an everyday meal, but its protein, carbs and it doesn’t have an utterly excessive amount of fat. So for indulgence purposes its perfect.
So by now you must know I am a huge advocate for indulgence meals. They keep you sane. And what’s great is the indulgence/cheat meal is all about you. And you should pamper yourself. Use the tips above to master the art of indulging.