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Treat yourself: The importance of cheat meals, in moderation

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China Garden is a long-established business.

China Garden is a long-established business.

Everybody likes chocolate now and then

Everybody likes chocolate now and then

Yvonne Hogan and Siobhan Byrne

Yvonne Hogan and Siobhan Byrne

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China Garden is a long-established business.

It's always good to have a routine for your diet on weekdays as it can help you stick to a stricter meal plan, perhaps, during the week if you have something to look forward to at the weekend.

It is in a way easier to be good Monday to Saturday when you're already planning a barbecue, or romantic dinner in a restaurant, or out socialising with friends. That is all fine, we all deserve a treat (aka cheat meal) after being 'good'.

However, lots of us 'sin' during the week - have a little snack one day, a glass of wine with dinner the next day, a biscuit with tea the third day, too big a portion or seconds the fourth day and a Chinese on Friday or more other treats, that's just one of the examples. You may not even be aware of these extra cheats unless you are documenting exactly what you are eating.

This may seem strange but often I get clients to document their food if they are struggling and it's amazing the extras that creep in: a few slices of cheese while making the children's lunch, that sneaky piece of chocolate you forgot about - it all adds up.

If you are not sticking rigidly to the eating plan during the week and allowing yourself your cheat meal at weekends, you may find you are not heading towards your goal.

It's amazing how quickly calories can add up. Simple things like ordering a Chinese after a night's drinking can easily amount to upwards of 1,000 calories, adding drinks on top of this could average a total of 2,000-3,000 calories depending on what you order, and that's just one day with one bad meal. Add the rest of the food for that one day and you will quickly, without noticing, clock-up 4,500 calories.

So if your weekend is three days, i.e. Friday to Sunday, three days of 4,500 calories would almost add up to the calorie amount you need for the whole week, meaning spending the next three to four days catching up before your weekend food feast begins again.

Granted, some of us may be 'bad' only one or two days a week, but that's still bad, especially considering most of us have small 'slips' during the week too, so its really not ok to treat yourself all weekend to anything you wish. Remember the saying: abs are made in the kitchen.

So when the next weekend comes around, think of what you really want, whether it's a big bar of chocolate with a frothy cappuccino, a dinner out, ordering a Chinese, having a pizza (a slice is enough for a treat, share it with friends instead of gulping down all 12 inches), or meet with friends for drinks or have your mommy's Sunday dinner roast followed by her most amazing apple crumble - but not all of the above, it's just too much for your body to cope with in one weekend.

@MRSBODYBYRNE

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Yvonne Hogan, left, and Siobhan Byrne. Photo: El Keegan

Yvonne Hogan, left, and Siobhan Byrne. Photo: El Keegan

Yvonne Hogan, left, and Siobhan Byrne. Photo: El Keegan

 

Health & Living