I have been reading a fair bit on mindful eating over the last few months as I am trying to encourage healthy eating habits to my clients and followers. Being in the industry has meant that I have met people with "food issues" that make them feel really unhappy. I know how it feels because I have been on a roller coaster too. These issues include social anxiety around food, excessive calorie counting, unnecessary stress about skipping meals, binge eating, not eating at all.
Food is an important "supplement" for athletes. Athletes’ bodies demand more food for energy, for muscle growth recovery, and to get a range of vitamins and minerals. Many of these are lost during excess sweating and exercise, so athletes could be at higher risk of being low in them.
With any eating disorder comes some sort of mental damage too. To this day I have never met someone who is happy with a "disorder". Everyone’s balance is different. It is a little close-minded to assume someone who avoids rice has a disorder or someone who only eats raw has one.  There are different ways to identify disorders.
What is commonly classified as a cheat meal?

Having whatever you like once a week during competition prep or a restricted diet. I discovered cheat meals while "dieting/prepping", the people I knew would either go out with friends and family and enjoy a meal OR stay home and eat whatever they wanted. Some coaches suggest sticking to a 4 hour gap to consume naughty foods. Others suggest to not go "too crazy" as it many still affect end result. I personally know "athletes" who wait till they lean up to introduce them. 
I "cheated" for my competition in 2010 and found that it did not matter whether or not I went "crazy". Each week I got leaner and leaner. Throughout my prep I did not cheat on my meal plans or training regime. So obviously I needed the reefed and the calories consumed all clean. NOT to say that had a positive effect on my body, mentally or physically. 

*I only ate Natural Nutrient dense foods. I did not "cheat" and eat "junk" as suggested to "speed up metabolism". I see no logic in how eating rubbish will assist one.
That epic cheat meal?
Whether they work or not will depend on many things. I have used that "epic" cheat meal before and yes, I did get results. It did keep me motivated to eat well all week, knowing I could have that treat or reefed. I only used "clean" cheats. 
The problem I had was that I always took on a maintainable plan. So if I felt like having treats, I would eat them in moderation. I had a good idea of serving size and never felt deprived or binged as I was getting a balance of foods each day. The day I was told to eat a "cheat" I was in shock. Eat an entire pizza? I do not even really eat that! Carb up. I stopped eating large portions of pasta years ago. So I guess for the first time in ages it was difficult for me to actually eat a cheat! 

Soon it became something I am more comfortable with. I guess I learned over time. I remember sitting there before a cheat eating small amounts. I was somewhat shaking in horror to have to eat that much. Now I learned that a massive cheat may have actually helped me sustain energy throughout the week.
Over time I have worked more on my "mind". I believe that if I had these tools back then my thoughts would have contributed to a happier and balanced me. For that reason I am always looking to grow. This year, I even completed a certificate in hypnosis. I learned that hypnosis methods seem to be helping people with food issues.
The Bad
You see these images of people eating "epic" cheats. They post them via social media like they are proud. But they start feeling sick the next day and become more "motivated" to smash the gym. This is when, in my opinion, food is being abused. Food should be enjoyed, not eaten in crazy binges in private to the point one feels sick. Your poor body is trying to digest all that food. Then the next day, you back to your hard core diet without enough nutrients and nutrition to keep you satisfied or healthy on a daily basis. There lies the PROBLEM. Motivation and adrenalin can do crazy things to anyone. Sometimes you got to be somewhat crazy to be able to achieve a goal that requires fighting the body. When it’s all over you do not have that motivation. 

I hear about binges a lot. What was once a binge once a week, turns into two a week, then the vicious cycle starts.
Come on, I eat a lot though
Then there are the others. The ones who do not binge on shit food. Believe it or not you can actually eat mass amounts and be under weight and still have an eating disorder. Abusing laxatives, using fiber, eating REALLY crazy amounts of veggies as a binder and doing off things that require most of your time and focus. One may call this habit a sort of an obsession. I am no professional in eating disorders or psychology but you might find this interesting.
Natural Naughties suggested method
  •  Eat a range of food groups that provide your body with nutrition needed.
  • Have set meal times but do not be "attached" to them.
  • If you feel like a treat, natural or not, have it in small amounts to avoid feeling deprived and binging.
  • Practice mindful eating habits to get you on track. Great article here: 
If you want to get started on a more balanced plan because your sick of "yo yo diets" or just want assistance with a meal plan that will work for you mention “NaturalPlan one” to redeem 50 percent off Natural Naughties Personal Plans. Just click here to purchase.

Kayla Thompson