I am not a fan of the cheat meal. Or cheat days.
There. I said it.
While I fully support trying different diets in order to find what works best for you – After all, I don’t think that diet is a one-size-fits-all kind of thing – I have seen some negative fallout from the concept of giving yourself a day or meal “off.”
Even the name causes issues! By calling it a “cheat” you’re implying that your normal day-to-day eating is missing something. If you constantly feel like you’re deprived, then you don’t need a cheat, you need to change your diet!
Eating healthy isn’t about fads or instant gratification, it’s about changing your lifestyle for the better to develop a healthier body and life. And that’s a long-term change.
Is pizza healthy? Not really. Creamy pasta sauces? Probably not. French fries? Sadly, no.
Does that mean to be healthy you can never have those again? NO!!
Being healthy is about compromise – Doing what’s best for your body and your mind, without obsessing or leaving yourself feeling deprived. If you feel like you’re missing something, you’ll constantly be “cheating” on your healthy lifestyle. Which defeats all of your goals.
So does that mean I never have junk food or eat at restaurants or order takeout? Absolutely not. I do all of those things, I just try to do them in moderation and to make my decisions wisely.
With all that in mind, here are my tips for eating a healthy diet while living a real life:
- Do your best to make mostly healthy choices. Restaurants and travel and lazy days can wreak havoc on your diet, but rather than go completely overboard & get overwhelmed by guilt, just focus on doing your best and then moving on. Or do what I do and plan ahead: Sunday meal preparation, healthy snacking and travel-ready foods.
- Try alternatives. Everyone is in the mood for comfort food or indulgent goodies every once in a while – Why not try making a healthier version of your favorite dish at home? I love butternut squash macaroni and cheese instead of the dairy & gluten-filled original.
- Indulge in moderation. If you love something, you don’t have to say goodbye, just try exercising a little portion control. Love pizza and can’t find the right cauliflower crust to meet your cravings? Try a slice from your favorite pizza joint instead of binging on a whole pie. Once your diet is clean and healthy, you won’t want/need quite as much of the unhealthy foods before you go “I’ve had enough!”
Moral of the story? You’ll be happier and healthier in the long run if you eat a satisfying diet so play around with it and find out what works for YOU!