Sticking to a diet is HARD! Have you ever tried to stick to one so much that you ended up depressed over the restriction? That is why it is a "diet" and not the life you live. We are simply not meant to live that way. As much as we are not supposed to indulge 24/7, we are not meant to live with constant restrictions! You can call it what you want...cheat, reset, reward or splurge meal...it functions the same way. It gives you something to look forward to as motivation to stick with the hard work you are putting in eating well and provides a great "shake up" of sorts from your way of eating to help you not become stagnant mentally.
Here's what I do...
- Plan for the day - Maybe it sounds like the spontaneity is killed about giving in to a craving but it's not. I mean plan the day and the meals around it. If you're heading out to your favorite restaurant, plan your meals and snacks PRIOR as well as your workout. You do not have to plan through what and where but give yourself the when! You can totally leave the rest up to yourself whether that is ordering a pizza and Netflixing or heading out with girls for dinner and drinks!
- Try to make the last meal the healthiest meal - I like to have my splurge in the beginning or the middle of the day. This is purely because I love breakfast foods! I love pancake stacks, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns...all the things! The biggest challenge I have is to leave it there. Have my splurge and then not have the mentality of "well I can just eat better tomorrow to make up for it". No, it is a splurge "meal" not "day". Try to finish the day on a great note.
- DRINK more water - I am a crazy water drinker. As a runner, I really have to be though. Hydration is life! But seriously...hydration can help you have an awesome run or send you into a horrible bout of dehydration. I have been on both sides of that table. With the cheat meals, you will want to maintain your water intake. Sometimes your body may not react well to the food so flush it all out!!!
- Get moving - I try to always plan a splurge after a workout. It does not have to be that way. I just want to enjoy the fact of the workout metabolism afterburn!
- Curb the morning carbs - This is something I try to do because almost all of my splurge meals are carbtastic. I love pizza, tacos with rice & beans and burgers with fries. I love love love them all so, in order to not go crazy on the day as a whole, I curb my morning carbs.
- Don't give in! - Keep the eye on the prize. That splurge meal is a motivation. Don't allow yourself to give into the emotional eating or spur of the moment cravings. That glorious meal that you really want is waiting for you. You just need to get there!
I do not know it all in the ways of the nutrition world by any means. These are just my personal practices that have kept me strong on my weight loss journey. 100% healthy eating has never worked for me. I need to know that there are moderation and balance.