CHEAT MEALS AND HOW I USE THEM TO BENEFIT MY FAT LOSS
– By MISS K
Cheat meals – Do I eat them? I get asked this question quite often.
And this simple answer is yes! I do have cheat meals!
Cheat meals, free meals, off track meals… whatever you want to call them. I have them. I love food and I don’t think restricting your diet allows for healthy relationship with food. And it is not sustainable.
I have gone through many periods of my life where dieting to me meant NOT indulging in my favorite foods. This very quickly led to me wanting those foods more and more… which is one of the reason I started baking and making healthier desserts! Because desserts are my weakness.
But over the years I have learnt that cheat meals actually can be beneficial-
- Giving you something to look forward to when you are on a diet,
- Not having to worry about tracking calories or macros,
- They can prevent catabolism and provide a temporary boost in metabolism,
- They can refill glycogen in the muscles… just to name a few.
Just to clarify a cheat meal for the purpose of this article, it is usually a meal that is higher in calories likely coming from fats and carbs, which put your calorie intake for the day over what you are normally having. I think, however, that many people over use them either too often or at the wrong time and this ends up stalling them from progressing with their fat loss.
In this blog I am going to outline how I use cheat meals to benefit my fat loss goals. This advice is based on both my learning’s from some of the top professionals in the business as well as through my own experiences.
When to have a cheat meal
- You have been losing weight at a fast rate due to low calorie intake then a regular cheat meal may be of benefit to prevent your metabolic rate from slowing down too much
- If your workouts are constantly low energy and your not getting a good pump in the muscle, this could be a sign that a cheat meal could be of temporary benefit.
- If you are at the point where lowering calories further has not resulted in any progress and have stuck to your diet, having a cheat meal or two may help “jumpstart” your metabolism.
- If you are ahead of schedule as far as your rate of fat loss is concerned then by all means have a cheat meal
When not to have a cheat meal
- You have just started a diet and have not made any fat loss progress yet, then you do not need a cheat meal.
- If you’re not progressing at your desired rate or are behind schedule with your fat loss goals then a cheat meal may likely stall your progress even more.
- If your not sticking to your plan/macros and are going over your calorie levels you have set, then a cheat meal will only make things worse.
Having a cheat meal but factoring it in
So your probably wondering,, if I fall into the category of ‘when not to have a cheat meal’ but really want one anyway then this is what to do. It is known as ‘IIFYM’, which stands for If It Fits Your Macros. I like to use this in this situation by either using nutritional information that is available or using a close estimate if that is not available.
Many are misinformed when it comes to this dieting method and think it is just a walk in the park of eating what ever you want. This couldn’t be further from the truth and does take some sacrifice if you want to fit in some “dirty” foods from time to time.
Hooters (I don’t go often… But I do like their buffalo wings!)
- ½ serve fries
- ½ plate fried pickles
- 5 Buffalo wings
- 2/3 of a Buffalo chicken burger
- 2 coke zeros
- 2L of water (drinking a lot of water around cheat meals helps a lot with digestion)
THIS ENDING UP TOTALING……… 1300 calories (using nutritional information available).
I knew I was planning on having this for dinner so with a total daily intake of 1600-1800 calories when I am trying to lose fat, I knew I only had 300 calories to eat earlier in the day so I filled this with pretty much all protein so I still hit my protein requirements for the day (mainly protein shake split up over the day).
Now is this the best and healthiest day of eating? No it isn’t. But it is a way to have a cheat meal while still sticking to your daily calories and sometimes even macro goals (if nutritional information is available). I don’t recommend doing this often but it is an option for when you want to use it and not completely deviate from your plan. If I am doing this and where I am eating doesn’t have the calorie information then I will estimate it the best I can or use the information from another restaurant of similar meal, which can found on apps such as myfitnesspal.
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