5 ways to treat yourself without wrecking your diet
There’s a thin line between treating yourself and going overboard, but it is possible to reward yourself with the foods you love without leading to weight gain.
If you have a cheat day for every day of eating healthy, for example, you’re not going to get anywhere fast. But a cheat day every week - a planned lapse with self-control - can help you stick to your health and fitness goals in the long run.
Everything is about balance and moderation - not deprivation. Strict dieting simply isn’t sustainable, so we’ve shared some secrets on how to splurge but stay sleek:
Allow yourself two treats a week that really get your mouth watering. Whether it’s a scoop of your favourite ice cream or a hotdog slathered in fried onions, the key is to really focus on the quality of the food. Think about how it smells; how it tastes on your lips and tongue; how it feels as you swallow. Eat about 300 calories worth of the treat - if you’re truly mindful you’ll appreciate every bite and won’t be tempted to binge.
Get thorough rest
We crave calorific snacks when we haven’t had enough sleep, which is why getting a good night’s rest is one of the most crucial (and overlooked) factors when it comes to getting in shape. To create a healthy sleeping pattern, put any electronic devices away at least half an hour before bed and try to doze off at the same time every night.
Plenty of people work out simply so they can eat more of the foods they love without putting on weight. While torching calories definitely helps, make sure you don’t shovel down the ‘cheat’ foods straight after a sweat session. Post-workout, you want to replenish your body - repairing muscle tissues and getting your glycogen stores back up. To do this, snack smart: protein shakes, peanut butter and banana on rice cakes, lean turkey with sliced apple. If you refuel the right way, you won’t get the urge to binge later.
Don’t give up
You’re invited to a party. You have a few glasses of wine, fill up on the buffet, then get home and demolish a pizza. Nights like these will happen, but it doesn’t mean you have to get discouraged and eat junk food again the next day because you’ve “already failed”. You haven’t fallen off the wagon, you’ve just had an unplanned cheat night - so don’t plan another in for the rest of the week. And definitely don’t let a mistake defeat you and go back to old ways.
Make your favourite foods healthy
Love pizza? Make your own using cauliflower for the crust and cut the calories in half. Obsessed with brownies? Try a healthy dessert recipe that uses vegetables, maple syrup and cacao powder instead of a million artificial flavourings and mountains of sugar. There are countless ways to make foods you love healthier, by sneaking in fruit and vegetables or using sweeteners free from refined sugar.