There is one problem with this heading that I’d like to point out. “Cheating” on your everyday diet, does not consist of “cheat days” rather, they are “cheat meals.” Sorry to disappoint you with that one. I definitely would not recommend you spend a full day of binge eating or sabotaging your diet with endless amounts of junk food that you can fit into one day!There is too much at stake if you do this, and you will definitely undo all the goodness you have accumulated during the week, with healthy, balanced and clean eating. Not everyone’s body responds effectively to cheat meals, although they are vital to dieting (when it comes to staying sane!). Let me get into a lot more detail regarding this. When we restrict our eating 90% of the time, our bodies tend to get stuck in a plateau mode. We no longer respond to the initial caloric reduction, change of our dietary food plan, or the exercise. That’s because our bodies have now pivoted to a specific metabolic “set point” which is determined by your genetics etc. We can add a little more “fuel to the fire” called our metabolism, indulging in a “cheat meal” once or twice a week. This gives our metabolism an added boost, and it’s something I’ve been familiar with since back in my bodybuilding days. When I did a bit more research regarding this bodybuilding theory, I was greatly disappointed. There is no real evidence to suggest this is the case when it comes to creating meals. In writing this, I can assure you that not a lot of research has been done in this area, and it’s based on the experience of many people who do comp prep every year and those of us that have had to endure vigorous diets. Cheat meals really helped me feel normal again because as you may appreciate, being on a diet for years and years does take its toll. Sometimes we too want to indulge in something sweet and inviting. That’s where the cheat meal comes into play. It allows a sense of normality and helps us feel human again. This cheat meal never caused any harm with weight loss, but it does create some water retention and a bit of bloating for a few days. To offset this, A lot of people do ask me how many cheat meals they should have per week. My suggestions over time never change:
3 cheat meal variations
- One cheat meal once per week, only after you have a nourishing meal
- Two cheat meals per week, only after a nourishing meal. Make sure these meals are at least two days apart.
- No cheat meal at all to prepare yourself for something special, or perhaps using the alternative of eating more during a particular meal (an extra serving of carbs, protein or fat)
The choice is yours really, and you can decide on either one that serves you best. I have gone without cheat meals for 40 days or more because I wanted to lean down or indulge on a particular day (like Christmas or NY). It works really well, either way. You are probably wondering, will I go crazy without a cheat meal? Well, the answer is no, and not everyone has a sweet tooth, and those that don’t can always eat more calories (option 3). Pick and choose whatever you prefer according to your goals.
3 cheat meal tips to stop a weight rebound
- Get back to your normal diet as soon as possible, without the feeling of guilt and anxiety about your cheat meal. One bad meal will not undo all of your hard work. Just make sure it is in fact, one meal and not 10!
- ALWAYS, eat your meal before you have a cheat indulgence. This is so important because if you have a cheat meal when you are hungry, there is bound to be an unstoppable hungry monster at that moment, who won’t stop eating until they feel like a stuffed potato! Please don’t do it, at any cost!
- Don’t stuff yourself. It’s so important to actually enjoy what you are eating, whilst not stuffing yourself to the point of no return. That kind of cheat eating will cause many digestive issues and make you feel uncomfortable. Do enjoy that one slice, and don’t go back for seconds.
One last point is that it’s really important not to feel guilty about a cheat meal. I used to get hung up on it all the time, and then I decided that one out of the ordinary snack or meal isn’t going to cause any harm. The harm caused is the endless guilt for something that makes us feel good and puts a smile on our faces. Go ahead and indulge once per week, guilt free and appreciate each mouthful. I hope you found this article useful and I would love you to upvote it if you did. Please also join me on my various social platforms and do go ahead and download your new year’s resolution pack – which has 7 days of free nourishing recipes. I’m also on Instagram