You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Does a ‘cheat meal’ make sense?

When it comes to dieting, there are many different opinions as to what is “best.”

Cutting out certain foods, limiting portions and counting calories are all good ways to lose weight, but what about watching your diet through the week and allowing a “cheat meal” or “cheat day” on weekends?

Tom Nikkola, director of nutrition and weight management at Life Time Fitness ( gives his take on the subject:

“For some, limiting addictive, processed foods to once a week can make cravings stronger and all consuming. They find themselves developing an abnormal focus on their cheat meal, which can easily turn into more of a binge than a meal,” says Nikkola. “If that sounds like you, cheating is probably not a good idea.”

“Cheat foods” often have excessive amounts of gluten, sugar, salt, fat, preservatives, artificial flavors, MSG and other undesirable additives. Although we know excesses aren’t healthy, its can be easy to justify eating these types of foods because we tell ourselves it’s just once a week. But taking a step back before your binge meal could be an eye-opener. For example, is it really in your best interest to eat 52 pizzas in a year or 52 pints of ice cream? Whatever your cheat food is, if it’s on a weekly basis, taking a closer look may help you to choose more wisely, or even better, decide to eat healthy every day.

When we pig out, we often try to make up for overeating by skipping meals or cutting calories drastically to try to compensate. This form of yo-yo eating can wreak havoc on the body.

“Give yourself a break and get back on course to living a healthy way of life,” says Nikkola.

The bottom line is that we each must decide what benefits us when it comes to what and how we eat. If your diet has resulted in long-term weight loss, your energy is good, and you have healthy cholesterol and blood pressure, it’s a pretty safe bet you are on the right track. On the other hand, if you always seem to be on one diet or another without seeing results, it’s definitely time to get to the root of the problem and find out why. Along with diet of course, there must be a reasonable amount of daily activity to go along with it. Most experts recommend at least one hour of physical activity most days of the week if weight loss is needed, which can be broken down into small segments. It doesn’t take a lot, but it does take consistency in thought and action.

Ideally, consuming a great diet and getting some exercise should be a “want to,” not a “have to.” It’s not about being fanatical, it’s about behaving according to how healthy you want to be.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Health

D.L. Stewart web exclusive: Politics shouldn’t happen to a dog
D.L. Stewart web exclusive: Politics shouldn’t happen to a dog

The American political picture just keeps getting uglier. A mock-up of a severed head of the president of the United States displayed by a comedian. A Donald Trump look-alike slain, Julius Caesar-style, in an updated Shakespeare play. An aging pop singer suggesting the White House should be blown up. And now, comparing political figures to the world&rsquo...
6 ways to reduce the risk of muscle cramps
6 ways to reduce the risk of muscle cramps

That sudden, sharp muscle spasm that has the power to wake you up in the middle of the night may be a sign that your body is lacking something. Muscle cramps can happen at any time of day and in nearly every area of the body, but perhaps the most commonly experienced muscle cramp is a charley horse. A charley horse is an involuntary contraction of...
Avoiding bites and stings this summer
Avoiding bites and stings this summer

Kids can hardly be contained indoors this time of year, when the days are long and the sun is warm. But other creatures also love the summer weather — so how can you keep your kids from being bitten and stung by insects? Dayton Children’s has a few tips for managing the most familiar summer stingers. Mosquitoes Mosquitoes are the most prevalent...
Fireworks: Let the experts handle them
Fireworks: Let the experts handle them

When it comes to fireworks, here’s advice that could spare you, or a loved one, a devastating injury: Leave the shows to the pros. Every year in the U.S., fireworks cause thousands of injuries, including severe burns and eye injuries. Many of these injuries are serious enough to require treatment in hospital emergency departments. Some are deadly...
FITNESS: 4 simple ways to stay fit during busy summer months
FITNESS: 4 simple ways to stay fit during busy summer months

During summer months it can be more difficult to keep a consistent schedule at the gym. With kids out of school, vacations, and heat and humidity zapping your energy, its nice to have an alternative workout plan. Options for home workouts require little to no maintenance, take up very little space and are far less expensive than a gym membership. These...
More Stories