An important component of overall health and well-being is maintaining a healthy weight and eating habits. If a person is working toward a health goal, weight loss might be included in their care plan.
Implementing a meal, oftentimes referred to as a “cheat meal,” can help many people trying to lose weight stay motivated and treat their taste buds throughout the week.
“I recommend the 80/20 rule all week long,” explained Lori Knapp, a Registered Dietician with ThedaCare. “When you think of cheat day, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but then people tend to go over calories and it can take away from the whole week. Instead, I would recommend to try to eat 80% of your meals healthy, and then have that 20% where you’re maybe not as healthy. Even during that time, it would recommend maintaining the correct portion sizes.”
The idea is that evening out your eating habits can prevent binge eating on the weekends and overdoing it, which can hinder your weight-loss progress. When it comes to enjoying the weekend with friends, family and good food, Knapp said it’s important to plan ahead as much as you can.
“While it is important to go out and have a good time, you still want to be aware of what you’re consuming and how much,” she said. “Restaurants tend to have meals that have more calories. Most places have their menu online with the nutrition, so you can plan what would be the best thing for you to order.”
When it comes to staying on track of your diet, Knapp offered a couple of tips to help stay consistent with eating habits.
Make a Plan
Planning out what you will eat can help set yourself up for success. When vegetables and fruit are cut and prepared, it’s easier to reach for them in the fridge. Keep lots of fresh, healthy foods in your home and if you really struggle with overeating a specific sweet, don’t keep it in the house.
This goes with making your plan. Once you decide what works for your dietary needs, start planning out meals during the week and weekend to help stay consistent and on track for your goals.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Every day may not be the same. There could be cake at work for a birthday or an after-work celebration with lots of treats. It’s okay to indulge a little and get back on track for the rest of the day.
Keep a Food Diary
Journaling your food throughout the day can help hold yourself accountable. Knapp added that there are also several apps available on your phone that can be helpful with keeping track of how many calories, carbohydrates and sugars you take in.
A couple other of ways to stay consistent with your diet is by focusing on eating slow during your cheat day or meal.
“I like to focus on mindful eating,” she said. “If you’re having a cheat day and decide to have a piece of cheesecake, perhaps you take a smaller piece and savor it. Eat it slow and enjoy it, so you’re still having your day, and you’re not taking away from your hard work through the week.”
Eating intuitively and enjoying smaller portions rather than eating large portions quickly can help keep your taste buds satisfied.
“You’re more satisfied with less if you pay attention to what you’re eating,” said Knapp. “Then you can enjoy your cheat day or meal more and you don’t feel guilty. You don’t want to feel guilt when it’s your day to indulge.”
During the summer months at barbeques or family gatherings with lots of food, Knapp recommends to first take a look at what’s on the table, then plan what foods you’ll want to put on your plate. She added to focus on filling your plate with more nutritious food and take smaller portions of a treat.
There are going to be days or maybe a weekend that just doesn’t quite go as planned. Knapp said it’s important to remain positive.
“Use the experience as a learning tool,” said Knapp. “Give yourself a bit of grace, try your best to stay positive and celebrate your success.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.