There are so many different opinions about cheat meals, and whether they should have a place in a healthy diet. With all the different advice out in the universe, there are even more questions, like ‘can you eat a cheat meal and still lose weight?’, ‘What if you’re trying to bulk up?’ or ‘how often should I have a cheat meal?’ I know it can be confusing whether to have a cheat meal or not, so today I’m going to talk about whether they can affect your progress. I know a lot of you are still adjusting to changes in your diet from the 12-Week Challenge, so this might answer some questions!
What is a ‘cheat meal’?
While the name implies something naughty or taboo, cheat meals can be helpful. I refer to cheat meals as an indulgence in food or drink, something you may enjoy once a week. Cheat meals aren’t something that is needed in a healthy diet, but they can be used to help you adjust to a new healthy eating plan.
How do cheat meals work?
For some people, particularly those who have just started a new eating plan, it can be difficult to adjust to a healthier diet. I’ve found that having a cheat meal once a week has helped many of my clients to progress, they can have something small to satisfy cravings without feeling as though they are undoing all their hard work.
I don’t necessarily mean a cheat meal is also a license to go all out and binge. It’s a small indulgence so you don’t feel as though you are depriving yourself, or missing out on anything. BUT — it’s all about moderation. If you want to indulge a craving for ice cream, maybe choose to have a small bowl. Try not to go overboard and eat more than one serve. OR, if you’re going out to dinner with friends, you might choose to make that your cheat meal.
Cheat meals and a healthy lifestyle
As long as they are done properly, cheat meals can actually be an effective tool in your healthy lifestyle ‘toolkit.’ By incorporating an occasional cheat meal into their eating plan each week, some BBG girls have found it easier to stick to their healthy eating habits in the long term.
I’m a big believer that cheat meals aren’t essential for everyone. It’s about finding what works for you. If you’re having trouble adjusting to a healthier diet or dealing with cravings, then a cheat meal might help you by reducing stress and allowing for a little bit of flexibility.
Remember — it’s a cheat meal, not a cheat day! It’s not a go-ahead to eat anything and everything. Cheat meals tend to be most effective when you use them every now and then, while still being mindful of your health goals.