Why do cheat meals have such a bad rep? Well for starters the name “cheat” does not exactly make you think of something good. So let’s start off with giving them the new label: Treat Meal.
If you are stuck in that mind set that treat meals are just downright bad no matter what, then it is time you give your head a shake. Everything in life is about balance. If you treat yourself to a tasty meal within the right parameters a treat meal is not going to harm you in the long term one bit. Why? There are a few reasons:
Ok, so we are telling you to treat yourself within parameters, but what exactly are these “parameters” we speak of? Keep reading...
Parameter #1) Learn when to cheat. Why? Because in order for it to have a positive benefit on your goals you need to strategize and plan your cheat meal. When you plan your treat meal you can make sure you adjust the rest of your meals that day to be lower in calories that way the extra calories from your treat will not push you too far over board. We highly recommend using things like special occasions to have cheat meals on, that way you will not feel like you are missing out.
Parameter #2) When not to cheat: You have to earn your treats. You heard that right. Only treat yourself if you have earned it to avoid weight gain from a treat meal. Have you been training hard and eating clean for several weeks? Treat meal earned. Did you have pizza 3 days ago and have not trained since? You definitely have not earned another treat. If you treat yourself too often without burning off anything extra you will definitely gain weight from this. Treat meals boost the metabolism only when you have been in a deficit for a long time. Otherwise, constant 'treats's just become regular junk food.
Parameter #3) Pick your poison: If you know you are having a treat meal on sunday than pick what it is you are desiring most that day and only treat yourself to that one thing. In other words don’t have the pizza, the fries, the cheesecake and the beer. Pick what you are craving most and roll with that one thing. There will be other treat meal days so don’t feel like you need to have everything all at once. That will lead to overeating and that is when damage is done.
So now you've earned the cheat, you've had that pizza and your week-long craving is finally fulfilled. Now what?
Well this is simple, go right back to your pre-treat meal nutrition plan. Do not feel like you need to cut calories and do days worth of cardio because then you get back into that unhealthy mind set around food. If you treated yourself within your parameters, there is no need for this type of behaviour because as we mentioned before, that treat is doing your body good, not bad. So just hop right back into your old routine and do not feel guilty.