If you’ve ever been on a diet, or just tried to eat healthier (however you want to define this), you’ve almost definitely had ‘cheat’ meals or days. I’d like to focus on them in this blog and share some of my thoughts on cheating with food. What exactly are cheat meals? They’re meals that you shouldn’t eat on your dietary regime, but you can reward yourself with them once in a while. You can have a cheat day as well, which is one day per week during which you either won’t count your macros or won’t stick to your diet as strictly as usual. For example, if you’re following a low-calorie diet, a cheat meal could include some fatty foods or fries instead of a salad as a side. On keto, I guess cheat meals would be carbs and sugar, so basically cake. As I’ve written sometime before, I don’t like the term cheat meal, because I think it has a negative connotation and it makes me feel like I’m doing something bad, which could impact the relationship I have with food in the long run. Cheat meals are just meals, slightly different than those you would eat on your diet.
Before I get into cheating on your diet, I think it’s important to remember that if you want to start a diet or change your eating habits, you need to find a regime that works for you. And this doesn’t only concern weight loss or how you look. You need to find the food that makes you feel good and that is sustainable in the long run. If you are constantly hungry, change it. If you are in a bad mood longer than you should be (on keto this lasts for the first couple of weeks), change it. If you feel miserable when you look at your plate, change it. Eating doesn’t only impact our physical appearance, it has an effect on our mood and mental health, so finding a diet that ticks all the boxes will make it easier to maintain, and it will make you happier. Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s get back to cheating on your diet. If you are eating what works for you, I think there is no need to cheat. The meals I cook make me happy, and by now I have a bunch of recipes for keto versions of sweets and snacks, something I miss the most. If you love your diet, you’ll probably have your own alternatives as well, and the need to cheat will become almost non-existent.
But what if you do cheat? You’ve been maintaining your diet for a couple of days or weeks, or even months, and you binge on some forbidden fruit one day. This happened to me the other day. After carefully watching that I stay keto during my visit home, I went to a wedding and indulged in some cake. The next day I woke up looking like I was at least 6 months pregnant, but let me tell you, it was worth it! The worst thing that can happen when you have a cheat meal is that it’s not worth it, and you feel like you ruined your diet for nothing (I still remember every bad piece of cake I had as a cheat meal). But these cakes were so heavenly that I felt zero regrets. Even though I woke up not feeling very well (carb overdose), I decided to take it easy and go back to my regular eating pattern. No starving or ‘detox’ just because I had some cake, just your regular scrambled eggs for breakfast, followed with lots of veggies and meat for lunch and dinner. I recently started doing intermittent fasting a couple of days a week, so I included that into getting back to my routine. I’m still a beginner in fasting, but once I have a bit more experience, I’ll share some tips with you guys. Bottom line, absolutely nothing will happen if you have a cheat meal. The sun will shine, you will be ok, and your body will be fine. Don’t push yourself afterwards, just go back to your normal dieting regime and all will be well.
I’m posting two photos here to show you what happens when I eat carbs. The first photo was taken after a workout session, and the second the morning after the above-mentioned wedding. Looking at them reminds me why I stuck to keto. I came for the weight loss, but stayed for the wonderful relief of the uncomfortable feeling after eating bread, pasta, or any other carby food. With a diet that leaves me feeling amazing after every meal, I don’t feel the need to cheat, but when a cheat meal happens, either because I want it to, or because there is literally no other option, I keep calm and keto on.
Thanks for reading!