First of all, if you’ve been reading my posts for a while now, you know I don’t believe in long term restrictive dieting. Not only is it hard to maintain long term, but you could also be depriving your body from some vital nutrients (some people who go low carb and keto for a long time lose out on B vitamins and serotonin for example).
Also, isn’t life just too short? Aren’t there going to be moments where you want a highly palatable meal? For my big foodie tribe, I’m sure the resounding answer is YES.
When I was in darkest depths of my SIBO healing phase, I still craved burgers and fried chicken and ice cream…all of the good stuff. But I actually COULDN’T cheat. Setting a foot wrong at that stage would instantly send me back to the very start of my journey.
This isn’t common for people with gut issues, most of the time we are working in ‘remission’ mode. Relapses occur all the time, unless you’re some of the lucky few who go on to make a full recovery. So if you’re in the thick of it right now, hang in there and don’t cheat – yet. Support your body’s healing process, and when it’s done its thing, you can tentatively dip your toe in the cheating waters.
If you aren’t dealing with any particular health issues at the moment and just want to have your cake and eat it, that’s fine. Here are my tips for cheating ‘cleanly’ for those who don’t want to fall off the wagon and still maintain fat loss results:
1) Do not buy ready-made/processed/preserved foods. But if you do, buy something with the least amount of ingredients, and make sure you know what those ingredients are.
2) If ‘sugar’ or one of the many euphemistic terms for it (sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, agave nectar, etc) are one of the first listed ingredients in whatever you’re eating, then just know that is going to send your blood sugar through the roof. By all means, if you really for it, go for it, but then be good with the rest of your meal/s. Remember, going for a brisk walk post meal can help bring down blood sugar levels.
3) Make your own cheat meals at home, from scratch. That’s right. Get acquainted with your kitchen. Nowadays, you don’t even need to be Gordon Ramsay. Online recipes for real deal cheat meals and healthy alternatives are available in abundance. There’s actually nothing wrong with making an unadulterated cheat meal at home, and it will be significantly better on your heath and metabolism. Simply because YOU won’t be adding in all those weird chemicals and additives which cause the majority of the metabolic damage and fat storage associated with cheat meals. Yes, it’s more effort, (and risk, potentially) but your body will thank you for it. Want some french fries? What’s wrong with chopping up some organic potatoes, coating them in some organic coconut oil and oven frying them? Virtually the same taste, with no trans fats and way less calories..you’ll also still grab more of the potato’s nutrients too!
4) Make sure your cheat meal is just that – a meal. Not the whole weekend. A one off every couple of weeks or occasionally isn’t going to affect your fat loss progress, in fact you might even be pleasantly surprised the next day 😃. A series of cheat meals though? That’s a different kettle of fish. Really want that burger with fries and coke? Skip dessert. Make sure the rest of your meals are nutritionally balanced so that you don’t regress in your journey.
5) Leave 5 hours in between your cheat meal and the next or previous meal. Give your digestive system and liver lots of time to process the big task you have given it.
6) Keep drinking plenty of water to keep your lymphatic system moving, as this is where the rubbish from your blood circulation goes.
7) Read my post on how to recover from a binge in case you suspect you over did it 🙃😂
8) But seriously, if you find yourself craving junk on a regular basis, or feel like you’re losing control, firstly, take a deep breath. Secondly, take a moment and consider why this might be happening. I’ve written a post that might help you find some answers here.
I hope I’ve helped those who want to eat palatable meals but still maintain their fat loss navigate their way through the tricky valley of fat loss death.
What are your favourite tips for cheating while you’re on a fat loss budget?
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