Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rules For a Cheat Meal

So serious!  This is me

Over the past couple months I've learned a few things about cheat meals.  

What is a cheat meal?

"cheat meal n. By setting aside one day a week to eat junk food or whatever you want you take control of your cravings and eat on your terms. This is often referred to as a cheat meal” because you are deliberately cheating on you diet. This is a method of rewarding yourself for eating well during the rest of the week and provides a much needed psychological boost."

Another definition is:
"The ‘cheat meal’ is a meal where foods not normally part of your diet are consumed in quantities that would exceed your normal caloric meal intake at a time. A modest cheat meal can be of benefit for some – but should not be a blatant excuse for a food binge. Cheat meals are appropriate when you are in a mass gaining phase. Used weekly, or once a fortnight, cheat meals can be employed as part of your mass gaining strategy, as long as this fits with your training aims. As a general rule, the leaner you are, the more frequently you can cheat, considering the above guidelines. A cheat meal is also an important psychological strategy to ensure that cravings experienced during times of strict dieting can be met but not compromise your entire food plan."

I have a cheat meal built in to my meal plan on Saturdays.  Until I was allowed a cheat meal did I realize the contemplation that went into it.  There are SO MANY options!  Which one do you choose???  Well, the past few weeks I think I have overdone mine.  I've ended up so sick.  I've realized I need to rethink my cheating.  

Cheating has some rules and guidelines.  You seriously don't want to go into a cheat meal with no plan.  That just leads to stomachaches and diet destruction.  {I actually read somewhere that eating sauerkraut will help you from getting an upset stomach}  

  1. Plan your cheat meal.  Decide exactly what your cheat is going to be.  Pizza?  Fajitas?  Macaroni and cheese?
  2. Eat your cheat at the end of the day.  My cheat is always the meal I eat with my family.  This is normally meal 4 or 5.  
  3. Don't plan your cheat meal for the same day as your rest day.  This is just a bad thing.  Your cheat meal needs to be on a day when you burn some calories
  4. Don't skip other meals.  Your cheat meal should be in addition to your normal diet not as a replacement.
  5. It should only last 1 meal.  Don't make it an all day thing!
  6. Don't feel guilty.  This is good for your body.  It will actually help boost your metabolism and keep your body fueled. 
  7. Focus on complex carbs.  I have found that my body responds best when I cheat with complex carbs.  Bread, tortillas, sweet poatoes, things like this.  

Do you have a cheat meal?  What's your go-to cheat meal or do you just eat whatever you feel like?


  1. I completely agree with everything you listed. I've been trying to tell John that cheat meals are ok. I am telling my challenge group that too. But like you said it's one meal, don't make it an all day affair. I need to get better about meal planning in general.

    1. I think the catch is that you have to have a handle on your selfcontrol before you can consider a cheat day. I'm going to tell you my secret. I honestly plan my meals a month(ish) in advance. My august menu is 95% done. My husband and mom used to call me crazy but, it really helps. I don't spend as much on groceries and I can shop in advance if something is on sale that I'm going to need. It works great! And it's not set in stone so if I don't feel like pasta on the day I have that planned I can switch it with something else.

    2. This is a really good tip. I'm sure my eating would be cleaner and my life would be easier.