So you have began eating healthy, and you are doing great! But, there are those random days (mine are Saturdays), where you really just want what we consider a "treat meal." My go to is a burger and fries, sometimes a shake if I'm feeling it. Or pizza! This will be something I always crave. But then the guilty thoughts start to set in, you feel like if you have that meal you will throw away everything, you will regress, you will let yourself down.
If you are thinking these things I'm here to say STOP! One treat meal a week really is not the end of the world or detrimental to your journey. In fact there are scientific facts that prove why a treat meal is actually good for you. Yes, you heard me right... GOOD FOR YOU! Let's get into it.
Here is the first key to treat meals. It is a treat MEAL, not a treat DAY. There is a big difference in one meal and three. The second key is that throughout the week you are still following your healthy eating and lifestyle. Treat meals aren't an every night or afternoon endeavor, but more of one night or afternoon meal. Thirdly choose a day where you normally crave these fattier foods, like I mentioned mine above it is the weekends. Fourthly, the following day make sure you drink extra water to help regulate and hydrate the body. Fifthly, DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF FOR 2-3 DAYS AFTER. If you ate a heavy meal the night before, of course your body is going to weigh more the following morning. Just, don't do it for your mental state. We aren't trying to create a guilty mindset, just trying to live our life.
So, what are the benefits of a treat meal?
1) Psychological- By allowing yourself to have this treat meal during your week, you are more likely to achieve your health goals because you aren't depriving yourself of EVERYTHING. Some people try to go "cold turkey" and it creates an even larger desire to eat the food they gave up completely. It also teaches you a life of balance. It doesn't have to be one way or the other, there is such thing as a healthy balance.
2) Hormones- "Treat meals can help to reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy and keep calories burning and fat torching mechanisms high" (Lifestyle Fitness, 2018).
3) Metabolism- Treat meals help to boost your metabolism. When you eat a treat meal it increases your levels of "leptin" which is the "anti-starvation" hormone that ends hunger messages to your brain.
4) Motivation- When you know that on Saturday you are planning to have a treat meal, you are more likely to stick with your healthy lifestyle during the week. Treat meals are a great motivator for many people (I know they are for me).
So, why am I referencing it as a "treat meal," instead of a "cheat meal?"
The word treat has a naturally negative and guilty connotation to it. So psychologically, even if we are using it as motivation, or we worked for that meal, we still feel guilty because we called it a "cheat meal."
When you think of the word treat, you think of enjoyable, occasionally, something to look forward too. So, when we eat a "treat meal" we psychologically feel better afterwards!
With all this being said I have one more thing to say...
TREAT YO SELF!