The Benefits Of A Cheat Meal

The Benefits Of A Cheat Meal

Some advice and a recipe for those days you want to cheat on your summer diet plan.
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With summer already here for a lot of us, many people are starting their crash diets and cutting back on everything good in the world like doughnuts and burgers. While I'm an advocate for conscience eating, I think it's important to give your mind and willpower a break every once in a while and have a good cheat meal.

There are a lot of different ways to look at a diet, from the IIFYM “system," to carb cycling, to carb back loading, to ketogenic. Whatever method you choose, it's always good to follow an 80/20 or even 90/10 rule. 80% of the time you stick to your preplanned diet and meals, and the other 20% you can cheat a little bit. This 10%-20% is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth or cravings, but not a large enough deviation from your diet to cause any major derailments.

Losing weight by cutting your calorie intake always comes at a cost. The leaner you get the more severe you have to cut back on your food intake, particularly carbohydrates which are in almost everything. There is a difference between trying to see some abs for watershed and depriving your body of the nutrients it needs. It's important to systematically decrease your caloric intake as your body adapts, and also cheat occasionally to refuel your body and mind.

A high carb cheat meal can help raise leptin levels in the body and lower ghrelin levels. By balancing these hormones you can help normalize your metabolism, hunger and energy. This metabolic increase from a cheat meal can last for days which will help the overall fat loss during a diet.

The most important thing about cheat meals is that it's not an excuse to go crazy and eat a dozen doughnuts and a cake. The worst thing you can eat to ruin all the progress from the previous week before the cheat meal is foods high in sugar. A proper cheat meal should be balanced in calories and carbs. Pizza, burgers, or pasta are great options for a cheat meal that is high in carbs but also contains some fats and protein.

Cheat meals should be scheduled into your diet plan weekly or bi-weekly just like the rest of your meals. It should be planned in such a way that you feel like you have deserved it and won't feel guilty about breaking from your normal diet plan. If you have cheated here and there on your diet all week, you don't get a cheat meal; those little deviations here and there were your cheat meal. Weekends are usually the best time to plan a cheat meal, just make sure your cheat meal doesn't turn into a cheat day.

Here is an example of a great cheat meal:

Protein Pancakes

  • ¼ cup raw oats
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ scoop protein powder
  • ½ cup egg whites

Mix it all together, pour it in a pan, and you've got pancakes with 3 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, and 35g of protein with less than 300 calories.

There are a lot of great ways to keep yourself going during a diet and strive for the body that you want. Simple, planned, and healthy (somewhat) cheat meals are the best way to keep your body and mind strong during a cut. With the internet you are only a few clicks away from endless recipes and resources that you can use to your advantage to become the best version of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_meijftcNTc1qg1vd7.jpg

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It's OK To Be Your Family's "Emily" This Christmas

Your greatest accomplishment may be learning how to cook something other than ramen noodles and oatmeal and that's okay.
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We all know the feeling, one sibling is getting married, another landed their dream job, someone got a promotion, someone bought a house, and another one has a baby on the way.

Everyone has exciting news to share or something to brag to the relatives about, and then there's you.

You’re just a typical college student with absolutely no idea what you want to do in life.

You didn't make a 4.0 this semester or land an internship at some big name company. You aren't dating anyone, expecting a ring, or having a baby anytime soon.

You may not have anything special for your mom to brag about on this years Christmas card, yet you are still content. Your greatest accomplishment may be learning how to cook something other than ramen noodles and oatmeal and that’s okay.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things That Matter Way More Than Having A Boyfriend This Winter

There are years of simply just finding yourself. Years of figuring out what it is you want out of life or searching for something that will finally “fuel your fire.”

Everyone’s path is different, some have more bumps, roadblocks, and flat tires than others, yet despite all of that, we all still get there.

As one of my favorite quotes states, “Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon, they shine when it’s their time”

So, no matter how old you are or what stage of life you are in, it is okay to be your family’s Emily this year.

Embrace it, throw your excitement at everyone else’s accomplishments, and be thankful for where you are at.

Your time will come.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter

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Lessons Learned From Writing

What's better way to show my love for writing than by writing about it?

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I fell in love with writing like you fall in love with a really good dream. You want to replay the dream over and over in your head. You try your best not to move out of your position. You lay your head on your pillow at the exact angle it was in when you woke up. You try to remember details, a valiant effort to recreate the image in your head, but the lingering joy dissipates and you are once again left in reality.

Writing is the same way. Sometimes you sit down to work, and you feel stuck. You have set up your environment: water, snacks, your laptop or pen and paper, but the inspiration you seek escapes you. You have the ideas in your head and you struggle to form the perfect sentence to express them. Or you have no ideas, just fragments of potentially strong sentences. It's frustrating. Sometimes, you find your flow. The words appear on the paper describing the scene or explaining a concept in the way it looks in your mind. Sometimes, brilliance strikes at 3 am when you can't sleep. Just like a dream, you hurry to grab it and trap on paper. Ideas are wild animals and words tame them.

I can't imagine what my life would be like if I did not have words to articulate what was going on in my mind. To not be able to write and save your thoughts and look at them, is amazing. Before writing, oral tradition transferred stories and ideas from generation to generation. I love hearing a good story, but reading one over and over is a different experience. You can read it on your own time, at your own pace, rather than wait for another person to say it. Being able to hold a book and see the words between your fingers is better than replaying a sentence in your head.

Writing has taught me patience and perseverance. Like anything involving the creation, it requires time and effort. At one point, I rarely reread my writing. I did not want to view it as a draft. Once it was down on paper, it would largely stay the same way. Editing and revising helped me accept that I could always improve. Good could become great, great could become better, and better would hopefully become best. Writing cannot always be forced out, you need the patient to coax out the right words. You need the patience to reread the same awkward sentence repeatedly to finally find what word is making the sentence get stuck in your throat. You need patience to not give up after getting writer's block after one sentence.

As I write this, I am glad I never gave up on writing when I was younger. Some people are dedicated to practicing instruments. Some commit to a sport. I decided to continue writing, even when it feels like I have no time.

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