Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Cheat Meals

Last weekend, I hit up a local pub with some friends for a cheat meal. I was ready for something more decadent than protein shakes. I decided on a grilled cheese sandwich with yam fries. It was delicious, but not as good as I thought it would be.

I have mixed feelings about cheat meals. I eat super clean during the week and then sometime on the weekend I'll have one cheat meal with dessert. This is a huge change for me, prior to starting the contest prep, I was having a lot more things that would be considered cheats. It's so easy to justify eating what you want, isn't it? When you really want something, it's easy to make excuses on why you should have it. For me, I would think "I will work this off", "I never have this" (conveniently forgetting I may never have "this" but I do have "that, that, and that" ALL the time) or "It's a special occasion" (What, a Tuesday?)

How to keep a handle on cheats? This is something I really want to figure out for after the competition is over because although it is normal and a little necessary to put a bit of weight back on, I don't want to undo all my hard work. This is what I've learned so far:

1. Keep cheats to ONE meal. For me, I've had meals at the Keg with bread, and whatever I was eating with dessert after and as long as I got back on track first thing the next morning, my progress kept right on track.

2. Only eat what you REALLY love. Don't waste cheats on something that is so/so. Plan out a special meal ahead of time, whether you go to your favourite restaurant or make your fave mac and cheese, just make sure it's something that you really love and will satisfy you. People bug me about this, but I only get one cheat a week so you can bet your ass it's going to be something good!!

3. Always keep your cheat meal in the evening as your last meal. My diet has been so clean that when I have my cheat meal, I usually am SO TIRED after. One time, I'm not even joking, I fell asleep in the parking lot leaving Olive Garden. So this part is fairly easy for me.

4. Friday, Saturday, Sunday is best for cheat meals. If you have a hard time getting back on track after a cheat meal (which is normal, because your body might crave more carbs ect) save it until Sunday night, then have it in your mind that Monday is back to your regular routine.

5. Make your clean food taste GOOD! If you are competing, this does become a little limited. However, you will find certain things you really enjoy that are on your meal plan. When I feel like I need a cheat, I make extra lean ground turkey or beef with homemade taco seasoning (no sodium) and have it over a big bowl of lettuce with salsa! It makes me feel like I am having tacos even though it's keeping me on track. I will be posting recipes that help me stay on track.

I read once that if you did your cheat meal right, you should feel satisfied and ready to get back to healthy food after. Every one I've had has made me feel that way. Eat what you love, enjoy every bite, and move on! :-)


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