When on a restrictive meal plan, there must always be room for the occasional cheat meal. I can train and train all day and not have a care in the world, but for me the most difficult part of preparing for a fitness show is the diet. It is not about restricting calories and starving oneself, but rather making healthy food choices. For example, don’t add salt to your food, cook with coconut oil instead of butter, drink water instead of calorie filled drinks. It doesn’t sound too difficult but when you have been spending the better part of a year in this strict state, it can become mentally taxing.
Cheat meals can help ease the burden of these self inflicted obnoxious restrictions. That being said, having a cheat meal everyday is not appropriate if you are seriously considering changing your lifestyle. My struggle is that I simply cannot get away from the pizza. I have tried and failed too many times to count so I must just embrace the fact that I need to have it in my diet. Perhaps it is an addiction or perhaps just a very strong craving but at the end of the day it just pains me too much to give it up. However, not all pizza is created equal. What if you could find a way to make that favourite cheat meal into something that was less guilt inducing. Well it is definitely possible and it is all about substitutions.
Yesterday I did indeed indulge. I planned out my cheat meal and enjoyed it immensely but this time I managed to avoid a severe wave of guilt that customarily follows the pizza consumption. How, you ask? Through substitution and the addition of healthy ingredients. Instead of traditional pizza dough, I used whole wheat pita bread, I applied minimal sauce and minimal cheese and then I loaded that sucker up with chicken, green peppers and mushrooms. It was exceptionally delicious and full of quality ingredients. You can also use Ezekiel bread as pizza dough. I have not tried this yet but I have heard very positive things about Ezekiel bread. Another possibility is making your own pizza dough with cauliflower. I know that sounds like a bizarre idea but apparently it is quite tasty and an excellent gluten free and very healthy alternative. When I feel adventurous, I will make it for myself and report back to you.
As we approach the 6 week mark until the next show, I must really focus my energy on limiting my food indulgences. I have been pretty good about staying away from sugar but I have my moments. I do enjoy spending time with friends and sometimes those friends do enjoy taking part in the occasional drinky drink. What I typically do in these situations is that I stick with the red wine. Red wine has fewer calories than white and obviously less than sugary cocktails. Red wine also has powerful antioxidants but there I go again trying to rationalize my indulgences. Perhaps as long as you haven’t emptied the whole bottle by the end of the night, you can call it a win…What can I say? I am human and I battle with the same temptations that everyone else does, fit or not.