It used to be easy.
Just eating whatever the heck you wanted to, because you didn’t know better.
Now you do.
And as a result you have diet goals. Nutrients. Proteins. Carbs.
Sometimes you long back to that time, living in an ‘ignorance is bliss’ world.
Some people think you are taking it a bit too far.
Your friends. Your parents and every now and then even you.
Then you read about a new post. A new diet. A new expert telling you what to do.
So you stop eating X, Y and Z (Which you loved so much).
A week later you read that you have to drop A, B and C too and eventually you discover that you need to drop everything and start living of ‘water’.
And then you read that too much water will kill you too (study).
Then it hits you, you say $!@% this !@$ you call Domino’s and order the biggest pizza you can get.
After looking at that empty pizza box, you hit the ‘what-the-hell-zone’.
You yell “HELLO McDonald’s!!!”, make your way to the only restaurant that can sell plastic food and get away with it, order a supersize menu and take the biggest bite from the biggest Big Mac you could get your hands on.
But once that final bite drops into your stomach, you look at your ‘future to be six pack’
Then you remember. Your goals. The time you put into it. The hours, days, weeks.
Back at square 1.
Things should be different.
Although the word ‘cheat’ is often used when you eat something that falls outside of your diet.
The word itself implies that you are doing something wrong.
And it makes you feel like you took that last cookie out of the cookie jar your mom told you to save until tomorrow, but you just couldn’t resist.
First of all don’t think of your meals outside of your diet as cheat meals.
Look at them as a consicous decision to eat outside of your diet.
Don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of eating what you want.
Just make it as healthy as possible, within reasonable boundaries FOR YOU.
Dieting is more a mental thing than it is a physical thing.
Your body will adapt.
But temptation…it’s EVERYWHERE.
So if that time comes when you want to have a drink with your friends, because you are having an amazing night or if you have a party and there is this nice slice of steaming pizza screaming to be eating by you, make a conscious decision to either take it or not take it, but whatever you do: ‘Own it’.
Don’t decide not to and then end up doing it anyways, because that’s when you start going down a slippery slope.
Until you reach the so called ‘what-the-hell-zone’ (source).
And one slice will become an entire pizza.
The Best Moment To Cheat If You Are Going To
You can have a cheat meal and get away with it in terms of your appearance.
You just need to know when and how.
I’m not recommending anyone to have unhealthy cheat meals due to the immediate negative effects, but if you are going to do it anyways stick to the following three criteria:
1) Be in a low insulin state
For for example at the end of the day if you’ve been undereating (veggies, nuts, seeds, low insulin spiking foods)
Or right after a fast, but take into account that you’ll really spike your sugar levels and consequently insulin and will need to eat lower calorie foods the rest of the day if you want to get away with it.
2) Customize your caloric intake
Save your calories for your cheat meal by using myfitnesspal.
Let’s say you have a 2000 daily calorie intake and your cheat meal is 1000 calories, save up those calories by only eating a 1000 around your cheat meal.
3) Do it when the situation asks for it
For a party, a wedding or another special occasion.
Food also has a social function and if eating a cheat meal with your friends (remembering these criteria) makes you feel better/happy that’s just as important and will even help you in losing fat in the long run.
Research shows that happiness is good for your productivity and that’s what you want to be if you workout (study).
Don’t use this as an excuse however, because not achieving your goals has the opposite effect.
Be thoughtful about this and aware.
Different Cheating Plans
There will be days when you feel like cheating.
There will be days when you will.
And then there will be days where you won’t, you just need to know that if one cheat meal allows you to stick to a clean diet for a longer time.
In the long run, that’s what might even work better than not cheating at all.
So here are 2 plans for a cheat meal (Remember the 3 criteria):
The Single Cheat Meal Plan
By far the easiest way to have a cheat meal plan is by setting one moment every week when you are allowed to have a cheat meal.
It’s easy and practical and allows you to consciously make a decision when to have a cheat meal.
Which might make it easier for you to skip a possible temptation on another moment.
The 80/20 Plan
If sticking to a different diet has been quite difficult for you and you need a bit more time to get adjusted, stick to a 20/80 ratio.
Eat within your diet 80% of the time and have cheat meals 20% of the time.
This holds especially for people who have to detox from diets high in processed foods.
To use this strategy, determine how often a week you have a cheat meal and on what days you will have them.
These example plans are meant to give you a simple idea of what you could do and still get results.
It’s not necessarily what you should do.
Find what works for you, set your goals and go do that.
Dare To Be Creative If It Gives You Better Results
There is one person who can develop the perfect diet plan for you.
Guess who that is? It’s you.
Not a single plan on this website or on this planet will be perfect for you, but there are diets that will help you understand what might work for you.
That’s what you really need to know and then apply in your own creative way.
Building muscle and burning fat requires both a mental and physical effort.
It’s always important for you to adapt your diet to your individual needs and goals.
Getting your type of lean doesn’t mean you have to stop eating everything you want.
Of course there are rules, methods and tricks, but only you can make it work.
Once you achieve the results you have always wanted, you’ll realize it’s not only in the abs you see, in the muscles you gained or in the fat you have lost.
The results are also in feeling good.
In enjoying your food.
In being happy…your way.
Beast Mode ON!