How Many Cheat Meals Should You Have Per Week?

 There’s no satisfaction like a few bites of greasy pizza when you’ve been sticking to your healthy diet for the past month-until those few bites lead to a few slices, and that one bad meal leads to an entire day of bad eating. Suddenly, you’ve had a whole weekend of cheat meals-and potentially the pounds to show for it. Giving yourself just three cheat meals a week is enough to impact your gut health as badly as a consistent diet of junk food. Okay, let’s be honest: Packing on a pound or two is really not that big of a deal. But it’s easy to let one or two turn into five or 10, putting your motivation and health at risk. It is easier to gain weight than it is to lose-and it’s certainly a lot more fun to gain than to lose it. Even with willpower of steel we’re all going to splurge on something sooner or later. So how do you keep one cheat meal from turning into a cheat week, and then a cheat month? By slowing down and following these 10 tips: 1.Consistency matters-if you are eating out much more than you used to, you will likely see some significant weight gain. Eat more meals made from home. 2.Stop thinking of it as literally “cheating”-Eliminate the guilt from enjoying your meal, the more guilt we feel about eating something decadent, the more likely we are to overeat. 3. Put calories in content– gaining a pound is worth if for the enjoyment even if it means you may have go for a good hike afterwards. 4. Limit yourself to one meal– Eating foods that make you feel the best for most of your meals and then splurging on one is a great way to control the cravings without feeling like you missed out. Balanced meals throughout the day followed by a more indulgent meal is sufficient. 5. Avoid throwing in the towel-When you set yourself up for the traditional cheat day, there’s an all-or-nothing mentality. “If I’ve already ordered nachos, what difference is a hot fudge sundae going to make?” Obviously, calling the whole day a wash is going to do a lot more damage than one bad meal would. 6. Stick to the same guilty pleasure-It’s not just about weight gain or psychological spiral of indulging in unhealthy fare. Junk food messes with your gut health, which can affect how well you process food and how your body gains weight. Rather then indulging in a large brownie as a cheat meal, you’re better off including a tbsp. of dark chocolate chips or cacoa nibs as part of your regular meal for better gut health and to help ease cravings.  7.Re-frame why you should eat healthy-Instead of feeling like you need to punish yourself with eating healthy after a cheat meal, I like to brink it back to what healthy foods make me feel good. 8. Follow splurges with detoxifying foods– Unfortunately, after a cheat meal there’s nothing you can do to undo the damage. But you can make a positive, healthy step to the future by focusing of foods you know are healthy. Bottom line, don’t stress and just get back on track. 9. Hit the gym– That cycle of bad cravings is hard to break. Returning to a healthy diet can help, but so can getting your heart rate up. Exercise is a powerful tool for more than just a calorie burn. 10. Monitor your weight-If you’re away from that scale for any length of time your could easily gain a significant amount of weight in as little as one week so monitor your weight frequently and stay in control.