You just ate an apple and a pear so it’s okay to have that bag of M&M’s right? The short answer, it is absolutely okay to cheat on your nutrition and have yourself a little treat once or twice a week. Actually, a little change in your calories can help regulate your metabolism and help you avoid plateaus. Stressed out? A treat can also be a stress relief, remember life is too short to be rigid in not allowing yourself to eat the occasional ice cream or piece of chocolate.
About those plateaus? You’re body will slow it’s metabolism and move onto keeping that body fat to survive because the body is a simple operation that will think you’re starving if your calories are too low. The little spike in calories that comes from eating that treat helps avoid this mode which can stagnate your weight loss. It is often suggested to add a treat into your otherwise healthy eating habits at least once or twice a week to help regulate the metabolic process.
You’ve heard the expression “everything in moderation”. Therefore, a cheat meal here and there can help you work on your willpower because you will be less likely to binge on what’s not-so-good for you. Another good benefit to sneaking a treat is it can help relieve stress whether physical, mental or emotional. It is not an easy feat to try and change around your eating habits so why make it more stressful by depriving yourself of an “occasional” indulgence. Go ahead and celebrate your birthday or have that special cake your mom always makes for you and don’t worry about it either, that makes it taste so much better.
Temptation can be a fine line between making and breaking a habit. When your goal is to only eat clean so you don’t relapse to your old ways, then by all means you may not want to have a cheat meal. That’s okay because for some people cold turkey is the only way they can make it work. When you eat healthy for a while, you never know, your next cheat meal may become a bowl of fruit, celery sticks or rice cakes with natural peanut butter or yogurt and granola. Most importantly, pay attention to how your body feels about your cheat meals, if you don’t feel so great you may want to cheat less next time.