If you’ve ever gone on a diet or you are one who watches your weight regularly, then having a cheat meal during the week may be something you really look forward too. After all, you work hard on your physique and having one meal outside of your norm won’t hurt your gains. So that what I am saying isn’t exaggerated, a cheat meal isn’t giving you permission to go on an all-out food binge. It’s simply a “meal” you can use during the week to let go for a bit and not be so strict on yourself if you’re following a balanced diet.
For myself, I eat clean on a regular basis and it’s rare that I ever cheat. Not because I’m too good for a cheat meal, but because I have a laser-focus on my gains and where I want to be. You should have this same level of focus and not let a cheat meal disturb your focus even if you enjoy cheat meals in your weekly routine.
In the last 4 months, I can count on two fingers how many times I have had a cheat meal and the last one was so I could have some pictures to go with this article! Don’t let food destroy the body you are trying to build! Food is a source of energy and should be used in this manner. It’s not to be used to stuff our faces with to make us feel better. Remember this the next time you sit down to eat. It will hopefully change the way you look at eating.
ARE CHEAT MEALS RIGHT FOR ME?
If you’re wanting to know whether or not you should have a cheat meal in your diet, you should first ask yourself two questions.
- How long have I been on a conservative meal plan?
Notice I said meal plan and not diet. You should be on a “diet” that is sustainable in the long run. I have found by using the term diet that it is more of a short-term way of thinking. You need to get yourself out of this mindset and think of it more as of a lifestyle change.
If you haven’t been eating healthy for very long and you’re already contemplating a cheat meal, don’t do it. You do not want a cheat meal to become a distraction to the body you are trying too build. Stay true to your healthy way of eating for at least 30 days before even considering a cheat meal. It’s going to take this long to let those healthy habits sink in.
- How much weight do I have to lose?
This one is simple. If you are trying to lose a lot of weight, you should not be worrying with cheat meals. Food has become a crutch in life and you have to get away from it. The answer is “No!” to someone who has a lot of pounds to go. When I dropped from 11% to 5% body fat, I let not one cheat meal get in the way of my goal. You shouldn’t either.
HOW SHOULD I PLAN MY CHEAT MEAL?
If you’re going to cheat, plan accordingly. Don’t just wing it and hope for the best and reason with yourself after the fact to avoid feeling guilty. If you’ve been working hard on your nutrition, trust me, you will feel guilty. However, if you plan your meal and know exactly what you are going to eat and when, you won’t feel the guilt because you’ve done the proper planning. So, how do you plan a cheat meal? Here are three ways you can do it.
- Have A Cheat Day – I do not recommend this and don’t know why you would want to do this but instead of just eating one cheat meal, allow yourself to cheat the whole day. Do not do this blindly or your whole week will go in the crapper. I suggest using the day before your binge to fast which will allow you extra calories on binge day. If your cheat day falls on Saturday, use Friday as your day of fast. I would eat a good breakfast Friday morning and a lite lunch Friday afternoon. Use the remainder of your time to fast and get ready for your splurge on Saturday.
- Hold Your Calories After A Cheat Meal – The way this works is to eat as you normally would in a day and then enjoy a cheat meal at your leisure. However, once your cheat is over, so is your eating, for the time being. You will fast and let your body return to your normal weight.
- Hold Your Calories Before A Cheat Meal – The way I do it and the opposite of holding calories after a cheat meal is to fast before your cheat meal. This way, I know I’ve put in the work and I feel like I can reward myself. Usually I go 5 to 6 hours without eating and then indulge.
Should you choose any one of these cheat methods, remember it is always best to plan your cheat meal post workout. Your body is in a catabolic state at this point and can best absorb all those filthy carbs you’re about to take in.
Do you have a cheat meal ritual? Do you save your cheat for the weekend? Let us know your thoughts. Until next time. Stay Jacked, Stay Strong!