Cheat meals can be good for you if you eat them according to your diet. They can be incorporated in your nutrition in a healthy way.
You must not allow your diet to revolve around strict choices that don’t lead to you improving your lifestyle. You must ensure that you always do what’s best for you and your body.
I will look why it may be a good idea to start adding a cheat meal into your diet, but we must first look at what a cheat meal is.
Cheat Meal Meaning
A cheat meal is a meal in your diet that you schedule during the week that will usually be less nutritious than what you usually eat and more indulgent.
The idea of it being a cheat meal is based off of the fact that it’s the one meal in which you cheat your body of its usual healthy food that it consumes.
It’s nutritional value is decreased by the amount of processing it undergoes like deep-frying or even the use of other chemicals that make it last longer or taste better.
I personally do not believe it should be called a cheat meal, because it is something that I believe it’s good for you, beyond your body’s nutrition intake and like The Rock says “Don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself”.
It should be seen more like a reward meal that you eat for being consistent with training and nutrition during the week.
Cheat Meal Benefits
A cheat meal is food that you usually enjoy but know it’s not as healthy for your body as your daily nutrition. There are benefits that are beyond how good it tastes though:
- It helps develop a good relationship with food because you don’t label any food as bad, but all part of the process of achieving your fitness goals.
- When you see it as a reward for your consistency and hard work, it can ensure that you keep your discipline because of the incentive.
- Trying to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet can be mentally and emotionally tiring. Cheat meals allow you to have a break from this feeling. I truly believe that you do get comfort foods that make you feel better and your cheat meal can be this too.
- When you’re trying to lose fat, you must be in a calorie deficit. Your body can adapt to this lower calorie intake if maintained. A high calorie cheat meal can prevent your body from this adaptation or “plateau” throughthe hormones involved with appetite and metabolism.
Should You Workout on Cheat Day?
Working out on your cheat day is dependent on when you decide to have it. Generally, people like to schedule it on the weekend when they are rewarding the effort that they’ve put in during the week.
If you decide that you want to train after a cheat meal, make sure it is because you actually want to exercise or it is part of routine. You must never feel guilty for indulging in delicious food when you want to.
Working out shouldn’t be punishment for what you eat either. This reduces your chances of progress on your fitness journey, because of the constant arm wrestle between your training and nutrition.
You will burn more calories if you decide to workout on a cheat day and this will increase your chances of losing fat, if that is your goal. Ultimately, it is dependent on your goals and schedule.
How Often Should You Have a Cheat Meal?
I do not know if there is any set amount of how many cheat meals one should have, but there is a lot of word that an 80/20 lifestyle works if you want to live a balanced lifestyle and enjoy life.
This is the idea that 80% of your nutrition should come from healthy and nutritious sources, while 20% can be based on less nutritious food and be more relaxed. This is based on the pareto principle
I know of bodybuilders and fitness models that focus on having one cheat meal per week.
I recommend 90/10, where you focus on having 90% of your meals coming from nutritious food while 10% from less nutritious food. Never just do what everyone else does, always do what works for you and listen to your body.
Cheat Meal Tips
These are a list of tips that I believe will bring the most out of your cheat meals. They are things to think about before having a cheat meal and deciding whether you will actually have one at all:
- Ensure that your mindset is set on the cheat meal being a reward and not cheating yourself.
- Do not feel guilty for having a cheat meal. All meals are part of the process to achieving your fitness goals.
- Like it’s recommended with all meals, plan the cheat meal out for the week.
- Do not overindulge. If you planned to have a cheat meal, don’t overdo it and cheat the whole day.
- Ensure that the cheat meal fits in your calorie and/or macro goals if you’re tracking them.
- Drink fluids while you eat, to get full quicker. Whether it is water or a soda, fluids will help prevent overindulging too.
Cheat Meal Ideas
There are alternatives to nearly all things in the health and fitness industry. Check out these cheat meal recipes that look very delicious and worth a try. I’d definitely try one of them before the end of the year.
Making your own cheat meals can be healthier. You will have a better chance of knowing and tracking the nutritional value of the food. This will also save you some money rather than buying from a shop or restaurant.
Instead of having a large cheat meal on the day, try eating cheat snacks every day of the week. This can prevent overindulging on a large cheat meal and help you enjoy your every day food more.
A cheat meal must be planned and scheduled like all other meals that you eat throughout the week. You will ensure a healthy relationship with all food that you eat. All food will be part of the process to achieving your fitness goals.
Do not feel guilty about cheat meals that you eat. Working out can help you burn more calories, but never use exercise as punishment for the food that you eat. This can result in an unhealthy relationship between your training and nutrition.
There are alternative ways of enjoying your indulgent foods, like having cheat snacks throughout the week instead of cheat meals. You can also do your research in finding delicious recipes that you can make at home. These can be cheaper options and more enjoyable.
It all depends on what works for you.