I see this a lot on facebook and instagram. People who promote themselves as living a healthy lifestyle, yet they still rock this "cheat meal" thing. Isn't that from the 1990s?
There's a huge difference between being physically fit and being healthy. Some people are both. Some are not.
What does all that calorie-counting and body-building and mirror-gazing really mean when you spend so much of your life focused on building up a physical form or image that you're not even feeding properly?
I don't do cheat meals. The word "cheat" doesn't fit with my integrity of living a healthy lifestyle.
I eat what my body and mind need and want on a daily basis so I feel content and balanced every day, inside and out.
That wasn't always the case for me, so it's a really big deal that I do it today. Cheat meals, for me, represent my past of deprivation and dieting--YEARS spent obsessing over counting calories and, ironically, never considering the true impact of what I was and was NOT putting into my body. It was a time of fearing food and eating too much of the wrong stuff and not enough of the right stuff and, quite frankly, not even knowing that I didn't know the difference. It was also a time where I was so concerned about my body because there were other things wrong in my life. I never made the connection.
Many people don't know that I had an eating disorder in high school and much of college. What I ate made absolutely no sense for someone who was supposedly trying to lose weight and be skinny and "healthy". I did lose pounds because I was starving myself but I ended up losing a lot of lean muscle and possibly ruining my metabolism for life.
It's great to want to feel confident and physically strong. I LOVE feeling confident and strong. I find that the more real nutrition I eat, the better I feel about my body--no matter what I actually look like. It means more to me to be to truly healthy, inside and out, than to merely look "good" and still have the obsessive thoughts about food that set up things like cheat days.
I may not be a contestant for the next Mr. Olympia, of whatever the heck it's called, but my relationship to food is far more balanced and truly healthy.
I've come to believe that real, true health doesn't come from super-processed protein powders, which may or may not even be absorbed properly by my body. It also isn't going to come from eating the same thing over and over again 5 or 7 times a week. This one guy on instagram posts 7 Gladware containers of chicken, white rice (white rice = sugar) and steamed broccoli. White rice is just like sugar--how is that healthy? There's another guy who was eating four scoops of ice cream on a cone on his "cheat day".
I want to ask, "what are you cheating on? What do you REALLY need, nutritionally or otherwise, that would remove the need for cheat meals?"
In the past 20 years, I have eaten, chewed or drank almost every single "health" bar, supplement or shake on the market. None of them compare to the daily nutrition and overall, total health of mind, body and spirit that I experience from doing what I love and my lifestyle of eating real, whole foods every single day and whatever else I want, whenever I want it. No cheat meals are required when that much love goes into how I feed myself.
What's your opinion on this? Have cheat meals worked for you?
Do you prefer that method over eating balanced nutrition every day?