REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
Treat vs Cheat
A lot of people refer to a weekly “free meal” as a “cheat meal.” I never liked that term. I think it is misleading in meaning. Cheating is bad. If you ever got caught cheating in school, you probably got in trouble. Nobody wants to be a cheater, so let’s get rid of that term. However, let’s not ditch the “free meal,” which I actually consider to be a treat, and therefore, I will refer to it as a “treat meal” from here on out. After all, to me, if you “cheat” on your healthy lifestyle, you are telling me you slipped up. If you tell me you had a “treat meal,” my understanding is that you are doing an awesome job and you allowed yourself to enjoy something special.
Is A Weekly Treat A Good Idea?
I’ve read view points going both ways on this. I think the overall, most agreed upon verdict is that they are really great for some people and not for others. What it comes down to is whether or not you are the type of person who can enjoy a nice “treat meal” and not turn it into a “treat day” or even “treat weekend.” It should be one meal, and one meal only. Now, if you choose lunch for example, you don’t indulge all afternoon. Seriously. How long does it normally take you to eat lunch. Maybe 30 minutes? The point is, keep it within reason. It is one meal that is a treat you can give yourself for doing well all week long.
Treat Meals Can Help You Reach Your Goals
For me, my treat meals help me stay on track all week long. Because I know that my treat meal is coming at the end of the week, I see no reason to slip up during the week. If I want something special, I don’t feel deprived because I know I can have it in just a matter of days. It really takes away the temptation to deviate from my clean eating. Also, because the treat meal is planned all week long, there’s no guilt for enjoying whatever special meal I end up choosing. In fact, cheat meals can actually boost the metabolism. Just make sure you keep up your fitness routine and get right back to clean eating after your treat meal. After all, wouldn’t you hate undoing all of your hard work?
Don’t Treat Yourself To Things Your Body Doesn’t Tolerate Unless You Want To Feel Miserable
So, I’ve explained my diet in past posts. It’s a very clean, whole foods, plant-based, paleo-influenced diet with a little oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and the occasional rice and hard cheese. A lot of the paleo-influence is based on dietary intolerances I have. I don’t do well with legumes. They are notorious for irritating my tummy. They are probably the worst. If my tummy is feeling good going into the weekend, they are the primary thing I avoid with my treat meal. If I’m having stomach problems going into the weekend, I don’t treat myself as freely because I know gluten and dairy can irritate my belly, as well. I approach my treat meal with an intuitive eating mindset. I don’t want my treat meal to leave me feeling ill. It’s supposed to be a treat. Lucky for me, I’ve gotten pretty good at making clean, paleo-compliant treats. Also, lucky for me, I tolerate chocolate just fine.
Give Treat Meals A Try
My recommendation is, if you’re not already enjoying a weekly treat meal, give it a try. Have something that you’ve been wanting, that you know you’re body will tolerate. Treat yourself because you’ve been doing a great job. You’ll find that if you do, you wont have as many cravings during the week. One of my treats was actually just a salad, but I loved that I didn’t have to make it myself, and the pecans in it were candied. Doesn’t sound like a treat? Hmm… maybe, but it was exactly what I wanted at the time. Sometimes my cheats are very clean, or if my tummy is up for it, I splurge and have things like and omelet and pancakes. It’s all about what I want for me, and what I know my body can handle. Make you’re treat meal all about you, what you want, and what your body can handle.