Is it really possible to eat junk and still lose fat? Most fitness and nutrition experts will agree that nutrition is accountable for 80% of your results. So, how is it that you can eat Oreos, ice-cream, and pizza yet still lose fat? I’ve got it all laid out in this article! If you’ve ever attempted a weight loss regimen you know first hand that it can be tough. Especially if you go all out, swear off all junk food, and decide that you’re only going to eat 100% clean. When we do this, we begin to cultivate a very restrictive mindset. We’re holding ourselves to an unrealistic standard. We’re basically setting ourselves up to fail. In this day and age with fast food restaurants situated at every corner and our schedules busier than ever (not to mention the junky but delicious foods that line the shelves at the grocery store), it’s nearly impossible to eat a 100% clean, whole-foods diet. Why even bother? None of us are making it out of here alive. That’s why I suggest the implementation of Cheat Meals. A cheat meal is basically when you schedule one meal a week (or every 2 weeks), where you allow yourself to just let loose. For example, I like to have a cheat meal every 2 weeks. I’ll eat my normal healthy foods like brown rice, beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and a heaps of fruits & veggies BUT, In addition to my healthy foods I’ll have a generous serving of soy or coconut-based ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie. So how does it all work? Won’t cheat meals ruin my progress? No. Absolutely not. In order to lose fat we must put ourselves into a caloric deficit. This means that we’re consuming less calories than we burn in a day. We often don’t give our bodies enough credit for how intelligent they are- check this out: when we’re in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time our hormones (leptin and ghrelin) can get out of balance, causing your fat-loss to slow down or stop altogether. This explains why it’s so hard to lose the “last ten pounds”. Your body is wise. On a calorically restricted diet, introducing a higher calorie cheat meal can raise leptin levels and lower ghrelin levels. Which is exactly how we want them to be. Allowing your hormones to return to normal after a cheat meal prevents and reverses any negative effects on metabolism and the hunger drive. Also, cheat meals help boost thyroid function and in turn boosts your metabolism. Cheat meals are not only a mental break, but are important- no, they’re essential– for successful fat loss, biologically speaking. Remember that one “bad” meal isn’t going to wreck your progress just like one “good” meal won’t make you fit & healthy. Your habitual eating patterns will ultimately determine your results. Have fun with your cheat meals, but do keep health in mind. Make smart choices and enjoy yourself!
Haylie Grayson in a banana peel: Certified fitness professional, motivating health coach, meatless athlete, animal/human rights activist, & lover/fighter. Specializes in My Fight Gym’s Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition classes & is the author of My Fight Gym’s series of nutrition guides. Use code HAYLIE15 at checkout to start a free 2 week trial membership at My Fight Gym!