I think one of the things that trips a lot of dieters up is trying to factor in cheat meals, without going overboard or having a meltdown. Now, if you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know I’m a big proponent for including cheat meals. I simply know from experience that it has a positive impact on the long term efforts for fat loss. What I also notice, time and again among many of my own clients, is that cheat meals get a negative rap. So many folks end up avoiding them completely, or going about them all wrong. Today, I want to discuss with you 5 cheat meal mistakes – and how to avoid them for your own success.
Cheat Meal Mistake #1: Not Planning Ahead
The number one rule for all of my coaching clients is making sure that they PLAN THEIR CHEAT MEALS. In my experience, it’s always best to walk into the situation knowing exactly what it is you want to eat. So that can mean knowing what meal you wish to have, and even down to where you want to have it. My best advice is to plan for having your cheat meal towards the end of the week, or even on the weekend. So it feels kind of like a reward for a job well done.
Decide what it is you wish to eat, and order or prepare ONLY ENOUGH TO HAVE A SATISFYING SERVING. This is crucial to keeping things under control. In fact, I even like to advise clients to get out and go to a favorite restaurant, or order out. This way once the meal is done – it’s done. Keep that meal for the final meal of the day as well. This way you can enjoy it, be merry and full, then the next day – be ready to get right back on plan.
Having a game plan before you head into your cheat meal can definitely mean the major difference between success, or failure at applying this strategy.Have a Cheat Meal Game Plan. It can mean the difference between failure or success when going for your cheat. Click To Tweet
Cheat Meal Mistake #2: Having Full Cheat Days – Not a Single Meal
Let’s look at the word itself… The word is CHEAT MEAL. Meal! Not a full day. It so much easier to eat way too many calories throughout the day if you don’t relegate your cheat to a single meal. In fact, you can undo an entire week’s worth of progress by simply overeating!
The purpose of your cheat meal is to allow for you to raise calories closer to maintenance for a single day.
And in that way, you also boost metabolism, which can help to move you off of (or prevent) plateaus. The other great thing about cheat meals is that they allow for better dietary compliance by allowing more freedom in your diet. You’ll be able to stay on plan a lot better, and in essence – have your cake and eat it too.
But in order for that to work, you must exhibit some self control and make sure you aren’t turning your cheat meal into an all you can eat fest. Again, keep it to a single meal, preferably the final meal of your day, and you’ll be good to go.The word is CHEAT MEAL. Meal! Not a full day. Plan ahead & know what you want. Stay in control to rev up your metabolism the right way. Click To Tweet
Cheat Meal Mistake #3: Binging and Overindulging
One of the things you need to be careful of, when going into your cheat meal, is this notion of scarcity. Or that basically, this is going to be the LAST TIME you’ll ever enjoy a meal like this. When you do that, you have a tendency to eat way too much.
For those who may also be dealing with underlying food issues, you might fall into this trap as well. You eat one thing you may not have planned for, then you get the case of the “fuck-its” as I call it, and you then eat everything in sight. That’s the absolutely wrong way to go about this whole thing.
In fact, I think the word “cheat” gives this important dieting tactic a negative connotation.
And that’s why I call them “free meals” in my coaching practice. Knowing that it is OK to cheat, and that it is actually an important part of your overall plan removes some of the associated guilt.
Keep your eyes focused on the fact that this simple and quick (albeit yummy) moment of increasing calories actually boosts your metabolism. Realizing that this isn’t the last time that you will have this meal, or anything else off plan, will indeed keep you in greater control of the situation. And keeping in control of things will help you to get closer to your goals FAR quicker – and that’s exactly what we want.
Cheat Meal Mistake #4: Too Much Alcohol
It is possible to drink your calories away, and do a little too much when you don’t consider alcohol. Now, I love me a glass of wine or 2, and sometimes even a chocolate martini when I enjoy a cheat meal. But knowing that these drinks can greatly increase calories (particularly something as rich as a chocolate martini) keeps me from drinking too much.
A lot of folks think that they have to completely stop enjoy adult beverages once the decide to diet. And that is true to a degree.
You can’t drink daily, but, having a glass of wine (or beer) or so during your cheat meal is fine – as long as you keep it under control.
You have to think, alcohol carries about 7 calories per gram (or mL). Now, let’s say you have a glass of red wine (5oz), that will be 125 calories. Think about how many times you fill that baby up during a meal if you’re not careful…
And keep in mind, that you might actually be drinking more if you have a larger glass or a hearty pour. It can add up. Same if you have beer, one can has about 154 calories.
So just be mindful of how much you are drinking, and be sure not to drink your entire cheat meal away.
Cheat Meal Mistake #5: Not Having Cheat Meals at All
The final cheat meal mistake that you could be making is not having them at all.
People have come to this conclusion to think that one cannot possilby reach your goals by eating off plan. We’ve been led to believe that in order to lose fat, you have to be strict to your diet, no deviation allowed.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As you know, fat loss takes time. And it’s the kind of thing where you have to allow yourself some degree of freedom to be able to stick to things in the long term. And that doesn’t just mean in a dietary sense, but in a mental aspect as well.
Having a cheat meal does wonders for the metabolism, but it also does wonders in the area of compliance. Knowing you have that one meal each week to satisfy your cravings, and just eat something other than what’s clean and on your plan, can take you further than you may realize. So stop fearing this tactic and embrace it.
Then watch how much your body will change – all while enjoying your favorite foods in the process.
Found My Tips to Avoid These 5 Cheat Meal Mistakes Helpful?
My main goal and objective is to simply help you to understand the why’s behind the why when it comes to this fitness game.
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Tell Me YOUR Thoughts on Cheat Meals…
How often do you apply this tactic to your own approach to dieting? What’s your favorite cheat meal? What advice would you share with others that you feel has helped you out with the fat loss process? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.