We’ve all been there. We start a fitness program like P90X, Insanity or Turbo Fire and coinciding nutrition plan and while we start of great, the dreaded “cheat meal” comes back and haunts us, all the while laughing in our faces telling us “you can’t do this”, “you don’t have the will power, “just give up”, this diet is pointless.” Have you heard that voice in your head? I know I have. Well today I am going to give you 6 rules for having a cheat meal that won’t push you off the deep end.
Cheat Meal Rule #1 – Make A Plan
When creating your meal plan in the beginning of the week, schedule in your cheat meal. Doing this will provide “structured cheating” and help you stick to your over all plan. Schedule a cheat meal for once every 7 to 10 days. Going too long may lead you to caving in but satisfying that craving every once in a while will help you stay on track.
Cheat Meal Rule #2 – Don’t Overdo It
When you plan your cheat meal, make sure you are planning a SINGLE cheat meal, not a cheat day! One cheat meal here and there – good. An entire day of cheating – bad. The problem with having a cheat day is that you might end up taking in so many extra calories that it could take you days to recover from! When having your cheat meal, eat until you’re satisfied – not sick! A burger is good. 3 Double Quarter Pounders – C’mon Man!! Say this with me, Self- Control. 🙂
Cheat Meal Rule #3 – DO Include “Forbidden” Foods
The point of a cheat meal is to break all the rules. If you’re on a low-carb diet, a 16oz steak is NOT cheating. Don’t worry about protein to carb ratios, sugar amount and other nutrition rules during your cheat meal. Just go for it. If you’re on a low-carb diet, have a slice (or two) of deep-dish pizza. Or maybe indulge yourself with some pasta or some cereal. Just shut off your brain for that one meal and enjoy it!
Cheat Meal Rule #4 – Play The Clock
If you’re worried about a cheat meal ruining your progress, plan them after a tough workout. This post workout time is when the body is primed to take in a number of different nutrients for recovery. Some sugarty carbs after a workout will spike insulin levels which forces nutrients into your muscles. Cutting calories? Try a post workout meal to indulge a bit.
Cheat Meal Rule #5 – Cheat Foods Don’t Have to Be Junk Foods
Just because you are planning your cheat meals doesn’t mean you have to make them terribly unhealthy. There are plenty of options out there that can satisfy your craving for sugars, sweets and fats while also giving you some good nutrients to your body. For example, try some tortilla chips and guacamole instead of ketchup and fries.
Cheat Meal Rule #6 – Hit the Gym
If you think you may have gone a little overboard with your cheat meal, you can offset some of the damage by burning some extra calories in your next workout. An extra 15 min of cardio or some extra sets of weight training should do the trick when trying to burn those extra calories from your cheat meal.
I truly hope these rules help you stay on track with your current nutrition plan. I know they have helped me a ton. Being able to eat clean for most of the week can be tough and having that little indulgence once a week can definitely help you keep your sanity.
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