Just because your eating healthy, losing weight and getting into shape doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you love & used to do, or stop eating the things you love more. What you’re doing; living healthy is for life; and not eating junk food occasionally will lead to failure, why?
Because it’s not realistic or sustainable it todays life.
I honestly believe I wouldn’t have lost the weight I have up until now without eating junk food once a week. I know if I had stuck to eating what slimming world and health nuts said; no fats, minimal bread, lean meats, fruit, vegetable and salads; steering clear of all fast food & junk food, I’m positive would have quit a LONG, LONG time ago. What’s more surprising, I believe you to will quit if you don’t eat junk once a week, let me explain why!
Bar the first month of starting, I have had a cheat meal/take away once a week the whole time I’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. To this date, I’ve currently lost 4 stone 9lbs (65lbs/29.5kgs), I think it’s safe to say it hasn’t done me any harm or hindered my efforts.
Giving up and going cold turkey is just not who I am, and I’m sure it’s not who you are either. Forgive me, but eating junk food is what got you into this, isn’t it? If you were able to control yourself and eat in moderation you would be here now, would you? I’m the same, don’t think I’m any different because I’m not; we love food simply giving it up cold turkey style just won’t work.
Can’t I just follow my diet?
Your reasons for wanting to becoming healthier may differ from mine, maybe you want to lost a little weight (or a lot), get fitter, or even tone up. All perfectly valid reasons. Let’s say you’ve been looking around and think you’ve found the “perfect diet plan” to achieve your goal. All you’ve got to do is stick to it, and you’ll get the results you want, but that’s the problem, sticking to it. The sad truth is 99% of the diets out there are simply unrealistic and not sustainable which means their useless if they can be sustained for life; their not worth the paper their written on.
It doesn’t matter what diet plan you’ve decided to follow, do you honestly, hand on your heart, believe you can follow it to the letter for the rest of your life?
I’m sorry if you think I’m wrong and I admire your optimism, but the truth is in today’s life, things come up, get in the way, and we all get bored far to easily.
Following a diet plan to the letter is a nice thought, but it’s not realistic or sustainable. That’s not to say some, highly skilled, extremely disciplined people can’t do it, their just VERY few and far between, and sadly WE, are not those people.
The simple solution to this problem is, to eat junk food!
The definition of junk food & my opinion
“Food that has low nutritional value, typically produced in the form of packaged snacks needing little or no preparation”.
That’s pretty spot on, and I’ve only got a slight variation to add. I consider junk food, fast food, takeaways, preprepared foods, sweet, crisps, candy; pretty much anything I know I should be eating a lot of.
So when I talk about junk food as I’m about to, that’s what I referring to.
Benefits of a cheat meal (also known as junk food)
Despite popular beliefs, there are a few benefits of eat junk food, some good, some bad, both equally essential in my eyes.
Eating junk food every week or two,
- Keeps you sane
- Keeps you focused & on track ( to your weight loss goals and your next junk food meal!)
- Aids weight loss, due to sticking to your plan
- Allows you to be normal & fit in socially
- Makes you appreciate healthier food (more on the fast food hangover below!)
- Helps you deal with and even control cravings
- Prevents binge eating on junk food
Cheat meal not DAY!
Something you need to understand and accept right away before you go any further, a cheat meal; what I’m recommending you eat is exactly that. A cheat MEAL, not an entire day.
It’s essential that you stick to this, an entire day every week can and will be very damaging in the long run (i’ll talk more about cheat days in another article).
Apart from accepting it’s only one meal you can cheat for, the only other thing you have to get your head round is, once you’ve taken that last mouthful of junk food that’s it!
You must NOT continue eating junk after this meal, or onto the next day. Your finished until you next week, and let’s face it that’s not long, is it?
How much should you eat?
This all come down to you, and your personal eating habits, everyone eats different amounts. I think the quote “everything in moderation” comes in handy here, sure you should eat well, don’t be tight (I sure ain’t!) but don’t go over the top just because you’ve given yourself permission to cheat.
Having a kebab, a KFC or what ever you fancy is fine; eating 2 large pizzas or 3 big mac’s to yourself is just greedy and unnecessary, don’t you think? As long as you use common sense and self-control you’ll be fine.
Remember this, its not your last meal! You’ll have another cheat next week, so you don’t have to eat the entire fast food rockers song!
Best time to cheat?
A particular time to eat! Sure it may sound strange but hear me out, I’ve found the best time to eat a cheat meal is dinner time after you’ve weighed in (or weight yourself, which ever you do).
Eating at this time not only means you’ve got 6 days to get rid of what you’ve eaten, even though it’s minimal, in your head it feels right. The other reason dinner time works so well is because your days over; you haven’t got anything else to do. Chances are after eating dinner all your gonna be doing is chilling out, watching a little TV, relaxing and then going to bed.
I’m sure loads of people out there will tell me I’m wrong, but think of it this way.
If you had your cheat meal for breakfast or lunch, you would 10 times more likely to continue eating badly for the rest of the day. As Pringles say “once you pop, you just can’t stop!”.
The other reason, which I think plays a much bigger, overall part is; nine times out of ten, after eating junk food you’ll wake up in the morning with what I call, a fast food hangover (FFH)!
The fast food hangover!
Waking up the morning after the night before! Thought that line was only for parties and drinking, well think again.
After eating, good, healthly foods for a long time you’ll feel great, but when go step back to eating junk, even if it’s for just one meal you feel the full effects it has on your body the next morning.
Symptoms of the FFH are,
- Dry mouth
- Defiantly not in the mood for greasy fast food or junk!
Remember that’s the way you used to feel all the time before you changed your life, horrid isn’t it!
With that said, I believe the FFH serves a very good purpose. Waking up, feeling like crap isn’t nice, granted, but that feeling will keep you on the straight and narrow. That ergh feeling will stop you from wanting to eat junk the next morning and for the next few days; just the thought of a kebab turns your stomach, and that’s exactly what you want.
You don’t want to feel fat, slow and sluggish like you used to, so what do you do?
You go back to eating the healthy foods your now used to eating, well, that is until day 5 or 6 when you’ll craving something bad again! (happens to us all).
Although it’s good to feel the hangover, it’d be cruel if I didn’t give you some advice on how to help it, would I?
The key is water, and lots of it. You should be drinking water regularly anyway, but even more so with junk food. Having a couple of glasses of water before bed and as soon as you wake up will see you right, it’s not magic, but it’ll certainly help!
Be social, be normal!
Use your cheat meal to your advantage, go out for a meal with your friends, have fun and be what’s considered normal!
Despite having a weekly cheat, and knowing you not that far away from you next isn’t always enough. Cravings come as, and when they want; how you deal with these cravings is key.
When I’m craving something, in particular a junk food, here’s what I do.
I take that craving and note it down, either on my phone on a scrap of paper and keep hold of it until my cheat day arrives.
By then I may have two or three cravings written down, I take a look at them all and decide on what one I’m going to have, or combine them if it’s not too crazy and piggish.
One week I was craving proper sausages (big fat sausages like I used to have), cheese and tiger french stick. So….on my cheat day I put them all together, making, an out of this world sausage baguette with melted cheese!
You should try this method out, writing a craving down gets it out of your head and off your mind. It also turns that negative “I can’t have” into a positive “I will have”. It’s all about tricking your mind.
Listening to your body.
Cheat meals are fantastic. I swear by them. That’s not to say one system fits all. If you’ve been losing weight and getting healthy you should be getting pretty good at good at listening to your body, and that’s what I recommend you do with your cheat meals.
A weekly cheat meal might not suit you; you may want to do it ever 10/14 days, it’s all down to your body and what works best for you. Don’t have cheat meals closer than 7 days apart, this won’t help you in the long run.
Cheat meals & the future…
Over time I’ve found something pretty interesting with my cheat meals, they’ve begun to evolve into something…healthier!
Somehow, along with eating regular healthy food, my cheat meals have naturally improved (health wise), and they’ve even started to get further apart.
This is something I wasn’t expecting to happen, I think it’s down to living a healthier lifestyle; slowly but surely, seeing, and feeling results has in turn got me to want to eat and live better without thinking about so much, dare I say its almost starting to come natural!
Let me have it!
I know there will be a lot of people out there frowning at what I’ve said; you’re not because you’re thinking about the tasty junk food!
It’s the health nuts that are gonna tear me apart!
All jokes aside, I believe in cheat meals, they’ve helped keep me on track and focused towards my goal of living a healthier lifestyle, that’s works for me on a sustainable, realistic level.
I’m dying to hear you thoughts on the cheat meals & junk food, good and bad.
Tell me what you think in the comments below.