7 Good Reasons To Ditch The Cheat Meals
In this issue we take a look at those questionable cheat meals that we all like to sneak in every now and again. Friend or Foe?
When is cheating good for you? In most cases cheating in any field is frowned upon, but what about a little cheat meal here and there in a well planned diet program. Do people throw in cheat meals purely for a psychological reasons or are there real benefits to throwing in a few cheat meals on a weekly basis? Many diet plans from trainers include cheat meals or cheat days. They’re supposed to prevent you from feeling deprived, boost metabolism, increase chances of success with a diet, etc. Well, it may not be as good as it sounds or tastes! In most cases these cheat meals or cheat days include all sorts of high sugar and fat laden foods. One could ask how can eating “junk food” possibly be even remotely good for us! It isn’t. But human beings are the masters of “self justification” and many on a strict diet program feel that they deserve a reward for their disciplined way of life. We all do it. Justify our actions whether they be good or bad. The truth is eating any kind of sugar and fat loaded junk food not even remotely good for us at any time of the day, week or year. But we still do it, right? Of course we do, but is there any real benefit or are we just spinning our wheels and putting a nutritional spanner in our attempts to get into great shape. Nothing against occasional “refeeds” – as in eating more good carbs or calories than usual one day. You might call these refeeds healthy cheat meals – they’re absolutely fine and may even be good for you. But claiming that it is somehow beneficial to pig out on extremely harmful foods with sugar, refined wheat or trans fats just doesn’t make sense to me. Now, you can do whatever you want with your own body, but I thought I’d give you a few reasons why having a cheat meal or cheat day may not be the best idea.
1. Your Body Won't Fully Adopt to the Healthy Diet
When you drastically change the way you eat, a certain adaptation process needs to take place. For example, if you’re doing a low-carb ketogenic diet (keto) then your body needs to change certain hormones and ramp up production of enzymes to make use of fat as the primary source of fuel. If you keep cheating, you will prevent this metabolic adaptation from ever fully completing. Also, when you abandon the standard western diet and start eating more real foods, it can take some time for the sense of taste to adapt. If you have ever done the paleo diet for an extended period of time without cheating then you may have experienced this. With time, real foods start to taste much better. If you cheat and eat junk foods frequently, your taste sensations won’t adapt completely and you won’t be able to experience the same satisfaction from real foods.
2. You Might Over indulge and instigate previous bad eating habits
Many people can binge like there’s no tomorrow and ruin a week’s worth of dieting in one sitting. It is so easy to keep eating once the sugar hits your bloodstream and your taste buds spark up. After one big binge it’s easy to knock back 5,000-10,000 calories in one sitting! That’s around 2-3 days worth of calories in one meal! Pretty scary to figure how long you will need to workout to burn off those additional calories.
3 Cheat Meals Can Feed The Addiction
I am sure you will agree junk foods can be downright addictive. In fact sugar has been proven to be as addictive as cocaine in certain cases! If you have a fairly obsessive personality and have trouble controlling yourself around junk food, cheat meals may be the devil in disguise. This problem appears to be common and people who have issues with cravings and binge eating should probably abstain from these foods as much as possible. If you keep having something that you’re addicted to, it just keeps the addiction going. In this case, having “everything in moderation” isn’t a good idea as it will be almost impossible to determine whats “Moderate”. For one person a few squares of chocolate is moderate, where is for another they will clean up the entire block! Moderation is an individual thing so it’s very hard to quantify the term. If you crave junk foods all the time and keep giving in to these cravings that will just make the cravings even
stronger. Avoid these foods completely and the cravings will diminish over time. Abstinence is the only thing that works for addiction, period.
4. Junk Food is Not Good For You
Junk food is bad for you (no kidding) and that is probably the reasons you gave it up in the first place. It is the one of the main reasons why a good percentage of the Western World is obese! This is probably a good enough reason to avoid it like the plague. Having McDonalds or a pizza with some ice cream once a week may not seem like a big deal compared to people who eat this sort of junk on a daily basis. Nothing but simple mathematics tells us that even eating these junk foods once a week is still clearly worse than not having it at all.
5. Bring on The Guilt Factor
Have you ever felt bloated, guilty and miserable after eating junk food, and wonder why you ate it in the first place? That’s pretty common, actually. But it can be quite dangerous, especially for our self confidence. The cheat meal may give you some pleasure while you are eating it, but it sure as hell won’t make you feel good afterwards. You feel like you have un-done hours of hard gym sessions in a single meal. You can almost feel your chiseled abs blurring over with every mouthful ice-cream. Yes indeed most of this may purely be in your mind, however it’s the mind that controls the body not the other way around. Hence why it’s so important to maintain a positive mind set when trying to achieve health and fitness goals. Anything that puts a dent in your self belief is bad news. When we eat junk we are going against our inner core belief system, not a good scenario.
6. Cheating Does Not Raise Metabolism or Prevent "Starvation Mode"
The concept of “starvation mode” is largely a myth with no real science behind it and doesn’t really happen until you get to an extremely low body fat percentage. If you’re a bodybuilder on a long cut for a show, then refeeds are likely to help prevent adverse effects of dieting for too long. But even in this case, choosing healthy foods is still a better idea. However, most people aren’t preparing for a bodybuilding or fitness competition and do not need to take drastic action to boost metabolism or prevent starvation mode, whatever that means. For many bodybuilders cheat meals are just a way of justifying bad eating habits that they have not yet kicked. If you are the type that wants to kid yourself into thinking eating junk every now and again is ok well look forward to poor conditioning when you hit the stage for your next competition. We have to remind ourselves why we do this! We want to not only have a great looking body but we want to live a long and healthy life. Eating “Junk” has nothing to do with the latter. For healthy people trying to stay healthy or lose a bit of weight, cheat meals are unnecessary at best and
may be detrimental. If you’re worried about your metabolic rate going down during a weight loss period, lift weights. This is actually proven to maintain both your metabolic rate and your muscle mass.
7. Nasty Ingredients That Will Never Leave Your Body
Trans fats, seed oils and gluten… these nasty ingredients linger in the body for a while and it takes a long time to fully recover from their effects. If you keep eating them, they will never completely leave your body.
There are a ton of people that have gluten intolerance and never actually realize it. They just get use to feeling like crap and tired all the time. Trans fats pollute your body with harmful compounds that cause havoc at a cellular level. They have been associated with a myriad of difference diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Do you want this stuff in your healthy body?
If you have the urge to throw in a cheat meal once or twice a week make sure you select healthy choices and don’t go overboard. It is easy to undo an entire weeks worth of good eating and hard gym workouts with a 10,000 binge meal. You have to ask yourself is that brief taste in your mouth worth sacrificing all the hard work you have invested into your exercise and nutrition plan. On top of this the big dent it can put in your ability to stay in control and your positive mind set. We need to constantly remind ourselves of why we are eating healthy and exercising in the first place. It’s all about health and fitness, with the added bonus of a great looking body from our efforts.
Junk food has no place in our world.
Fitness Model Amy Hazel Price