Just like Katie Price’s singing career- I’ve never thought that cheat meals were a good idea.
The very idea that foods can be reduced to being labelled good/bad/banned frustrates the hell out of me. We need to eat to live obviously- what kind of message do we send to ourselves when a basic, essential survival instinct can be referred to as ‘cheating’?
The concept of a cheat meal does thing except that remind you that for most of your life you are restricting yourself, by being ‘on a diet’. Across Instagram (quite literally, the social media account where logic, sense and self-esteem come to die) Cheat meals are making regular restriction, hard dieting and strict macro adherence a completely acceptable ‘norm’, just like how clean eating was able to parade itself as not being a diet.
Cheat meals acerbate the myth that beautifully delicious foods that can satisfy our souls are “bad” for us. Yes, a slice of amazing cake is not something that is nutritionally necessary for us. But how good is it though? The thing is, I fully believe that we need foods that are not required by the body to function for us to LIVE our fullest life. Who wants to a birthday party and just eat the cucumber sticks at the buffet? NAH. A celebration should not be considered a ‘cheat’.
In my daily life, I don’t have good days/bad days food wise anymore- I just have days. Im certainly not the most ripped PT out there but most of the time I do eat nutritionally well, as my work as a PT and cycle instructor means that I need to be fuelling my body well to perform well in my job- I need energy! I’ve learnt a lot from my younger days that making foods off limits makes me only crave them more, and I am very likely to overeat if I have been restricting- whereas I likely would have been satisfied with a lot less if I hadn’t made such a big deal of it in the first place.
My real worry is that if someone has been on a strict diet for a prolonged period, cheat meals can often turn into binges, leaving a person feeling like they have failed (the reality is that it was their diet plan that failed THEM not the other way around) This in turn leads to low self-esteem, low self-worth and potentially sending them on a dangerous downward spiral.
Essentially- aim to just live your life. Sometimes people like to just tighten up on our nutrition for whatever reason (I am about to start working with my amazing friend Kate who is registered nutritionist and has a brilliant attitude to eating- check out her website here!) and that’s perfectly fine- but never remove your own personal permission to eat what you like/fancy because the second foods become banned” within your lifestyle- because the second you ban anything, that’s the only thing you are going to crave.