Maintaining a fit & healthy lifestyle requires consistency in following a nutrition plan appropriate to your body type. Although following a strict dieting regimen allows you to shed unwanted bodyfat and build a great physique, it is still important to enjoy your favorite foods and social activities. Having cheat meals can actually help you stick to your diet plan longer. With the holiday season approaching, there are many more temptations. This doesn’t mean you cannot participate in these events or enjoy your favorite foods. There are ways to enjoy a “cheat” meal or as I like to call it, a “treat” meal, weekly.
5 Tips For a Successful Cheat Meal
1. Plan Ahead
If you know of an upcoming event, plan this as your weekly cheat meal. Choosing raw food items, vegetables unseasoned, salad without dressing, chicken, or fish are the best options. If you are going to a restaurant you can look at the menu ahead of time to make the best selection. The more healthier options you choose, the less guilty you’ll feel the next morning.
2. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking alcohol in general decreases fat burn potential and provides excess calories. If having a drink is important to you, stick to a clear alcohol and use pure lime juice as a mixer. To learn more about liquid calories read this article.
3. Cheat Meal not Cheat Day
The most controversy is “cheat day” vs “cheat meal”. Many people confuse the two or think that they’re the same thing. When participating in a cheat day you are automatically increasing your day’s caloric intake to at least triple. Remember that moderation is key to success in enjoying a cheat meal without regret.
4. Dessert Options
Desserts can add at least 500 calories to your meal. Avoiding desserts, having smaller portions, or making your own reduces this affect. If you’re going out with friends try sharing a dessert to reduce your caloric intake.
5. Post Cheat Meal – prevention and recovery
- Workout the day of your cheat meal. Increase your cardio by 15 minutes!
- Increase your water intake the day of and 1-2 days post cheat meal. This helps to flush any excess sodium and sugars that you have consumed, providing a de-bloating effect.
- Reduce intake of sodium and sugars post cheat meal (i.e. condiments, egg whites)
- Return to your meal plan post cheat meal (including the day of, if it’s earlier in the day)
- Do not step on the scale for at least 3 days. This will give you a false number due to water retention!