What is a YOLO Meal? And Why Is It Better Than a Cheat Meal?

I’ve spent the last few days catching up with the huge pile of magazines in the corner of my office – seriously, I don’t feel I’ve read anything on paper for ages and that’s not good when you write magazines for a living. I’ve seen loads of great tips while I’ve been going through everything but one I truly loved was in the Jan/Feb issue of US Health magazine and it came from Blogilates founder Cassey Ho.

Guzmn y Gomez soft taco served on 'newspaper'

The magazine was asking her about various elements of life, health, fitness etc and one of the questions was ‘What’s your cheat meal?’. But instead of naming a dish, she replied with the following.

“Instead of ‘cheat’ which has negative connotation I say YOLO”

Now I know most of you will be up on your internet acronyms but, for my mum and a few others reading this who might be wondering, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once.

Ho’s theory about renaming her meal in this way was that by renaming her meal this it takes away the feeling that you’re breaking whatever eating habits you’re creating to ‘cheat’ and, therefore by definition have to go back on them the next day – which creates a kind of yo-yoing effect in your mind rather than making eating healthily your default position.

By calling it a YOLO meal not only do you avoid this, she says a YOLO meal also ‘feeds your soul.’

This is Genius!

It also echoes a tip I got from another expert once who suggest that before you eat anything you ask what is this meal going to give you by eating it – if the answer was anything positive like fuel, nutrients, energy, time spent with people you love or absolute pleasure/joy then go for it, no matter what’s on the plate.

If, however, the answer to the question was more negative – like feelings of guilt, empty calories, bloating, fatigue or taking you a step away from whatever goal you’re working towards, then maybe you want to reassess the choice you’re about to make.

Sadly I can’t find the article in which I repeated these words of wisdom to give the expert the credit they deserve but the fact that I still remember it tells you how good I thought the tip was.

It’s an idea I love – so now I have to ask, what would be your first choice of YOLO meal? Mine, as most of you can probably guess, would be something of the taco, quesadilla or burrito variety.

Thankfully, The Boyfriend, who does most of the cooking in our house, doesn’t have burritos in his repertoire, I refuse to make quesadilla because it’s a slippery slope into daily consumption, and the town where I live only has one Mexican restaurant and I’m not a fan of it, so at least (holidays notwithstanding) my ultimate YOLO meal really is only once (or twice) a year. If only I didn’t go on quite so many holidays to more burrito friendly destinations!

Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

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