Cheat meals can do the body and the mind a world of good if they are used appropriately and in moderation. I am a believer in the occassional cheat meal. But you need to know how to cheat on a diet, to avoid a diet disaster melt-down and still keep your body on track to lean muscle building and fat burning! I am the first one to admit, me and dieting never do well together! But I know that dedication, devotion and consistency to your diet will only result in success! With that in my mind, not to mention thoughts of being anywhere in public whether on-stage in a bikini or a beach always keeps me in-line and away from temptations, like the peanut butter devil!
However, from my biochemistry brain, the cheat meal actually makes a lot of sense! For one, it keeps the body guessing. Just think of the training plateaus your body goes through. Well, dieting plateaus are the same. After being on the same diet week after week, eating the same foods and taking in the same calories, guess what, the body adapts! By occassionally jolting up the calories, we can stoke the metabolism and get the fire burning again.
And from a psychological stand point, the cheat meal can help set goals to stay on track with your diet and give you that extra motivation to get through those tough dieting days, especially if you know a little bit of enjoyment is soon to come your way. So, here’s how to cheat on a diet! Try using the following rules:
Rule #1: Timing is Everything
If you are going to add a cheat meal, make sure to have it either immediately before or after a workout. This will ensure the body uses that extra energy consumed, either during the workout or during the recovery process. You may find that when you consume a cheat meal your weight may fluctuate by a few pounds the next day. If you have been on a low carb diet for an extended period of time and opt for a sugary carb loaded cheat meal, this weight change is most likely the result of water retention because as the body restores glycogen levels water is drawn into muscles. A few good cardio sessions and intense workouts, and you will be back down to where you were before you had the cheat meal.
Rule #2: Decisions, Decisions
When choosing what your cheat meal will be, avoid heavy fats and opt for sugary carbs that are easier to digest and utilize by the body. Also, avoid processed foods as they can contain additives and other ingredients that could wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. Remember, if you have been following a strict diet for a long time, eating a cheat meal should shock the body instead of just spiking the metabolism. This can lead to increases in not only hormones that stimulate fat burning but also those that provide mood-boosting satisfaction. Some good cheat meal options are whole wheat pasta with a tomato-based sauce, pastries or my two faves – sushi and or steak. Avoid dairy cheats like ice cream, cheesecake or pretty much anything with cheese, especially if you have been avoiding these foods in the past. Dairy foods can cause inflammation, bloating and gastrointestinal distress if you’re not accustom to eating them.
Rule #3: Caloric Intake
There are no set guidelines when it comes to how many calories your cheat meal should be as everyone’s caloric needs are different based on their daily expenditure, but a good rule of thumb is to not over do it. Limit the calories to 10 to 20 percent over and above a regular meal. Remember this is a cheat meal, so avoid trying to stuff a whole day’s worth of calories into one sitting. You should feel full and satisfied, not like a stuffed potato!
Try those tips the next time you want to devour a ‘cheat meal’! If you have your own ‘cheat meal’ tips you would like to share, please add them in the comments below. And if you you like this post, do me a favour and hit that ‘like’ button and share this article with your friends! Until next time…
Be Fierce and Rule the World,