How glorious does cheese, greasy slice of pizza taste after consuming a steady diet of kale and spinach? Or tasting ice cream for the first time in way too long? Dietary indulgences feel heavenly— especially when you are on a diet or if you are a healthy eater.
Ultimately, one meal or day of bad eating isn't going to tack five pounds onto your stomach and ruin your good habits. If you are consistently eating the correct amount of calories, getting the right macros and micros, and drinking plenty of water, a cheeseburger or two won't kill you. But if it becomes a habit then that's when you're in trouble.
So, first stop thinking about as cheating. Cheating is bad. Enjoying life or food isn't bad. Understanding how your body uses food can make eating out or indulging feel less guilt ridden.
Weight is gained when the weekly caloric intake surpasses what it takes to maintain current weight. To make the math easy, let's say a person needs 2,000 calories a day or 14,000 calories a week to keep their current weight. A person needs to burn or eat an additional 3,500 calories a week to affect their weight. If a person eats 2,500 calories a day, they are going to gain a pound that week. Eating 500 calories less or burning 500 calories each day means you lose one pound a week. A neutral way to eat on your splurge meal is by taking advantage of all 2,000 calories on the day. You are neither gaining nor losing fat weight. If you want to really minimize any caloric gain, a high intensity work out in the morning will kick start your metabolism and burn a few extra hundred calories.
So you have decided you're eating 2,000 or more calories in one day. If you know you are eating two donuts as your indulgence, then balance it out with vegetables, fruits and lean protein during the rest of the day. If you plan on having a rich dessert or a fatty and carb heavy dinner try to eat healthy for the majority of the day. Making your dessert, pizza, cheeseburger or whatever at home is a great option since home cooked meals tend to be lower in calories, fat and carbs. But if no one makes caprese pizza like your favorite pizza spot, then go for it.
To minimize the inevitable bloating drink water before, during and after you consume your indulgent meal. The water aids digestion and flushes toxins out. In addition to water, eating anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon and berries can help minimize bloating and add micronutrients that help your body recover. If your indulgence is alcohol, bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes replenishes your body with potassium.
Follow up by returning to your healthy regime immediately and don't feel guilty for whatever you ate. It's been consumed and will probably burnt off soon enough. Incorporating indulgences every now and then won't turn into a free for all.