You’ve stayed true to your meal plan for over a month. Now you may be wondering, how often should I have a cheat day? Or should it just be a cheat meal?
Or, maybe cheat days make you nervous altogether. Maybe it feels like having cheat meals is taking a step backwards? This is not the case.
There are a lot of advantages to having a cheat meal.
Here are a few reasons you want to indulge from time to time. I’ll clear up how often you should be cheating to get the best results too.
What are the Benefits Of Cheat Meals?
1. You can finally give in to what you’re craving.
Obvious, right? But, did you know that people who feel restricted on their diets rarely see long-term success?
The reason? Because eventually they cave in and eat the foods they want. Not just one meal either. They often end up eating just about everything in sight for days.
A cheat meal gives you the chance to eat something you love so that you don’t feel deprived. This will make it easier to stick with a healthier lifestyle, long term.
2. Cheat meals helps you keep a healthier relationship with food.
Some people who start eating healthy begin seeing food as black and white – good and bad. Soon, they become scared to eat foods not on their good food list.
They firmly believe that if they eat those foods at all, they’ll pack on pounds of body weight. This can set them up for an eating disorder.
By adding that cheat meal, you’ll see that you can eat unhealthy foods, in moderation, and it won’t send you backsliding.
3. A cheat meal can help you see faster results!
Wait, what?! You read that right.
Any time you go on a meal plan for a period of time, your body will begin to adapt. As it does, your metabolic rate will soon slow down thanks to a hormone called leptin. Before you know it, you’ll be stuck in a dreaded fat loss plateau.
By temporarily eating rich foods with a cheat meal, you send the message to your body that it no longer needs to conserve fat for fuel. This can increase your resting metabolic rate.
Studies show that leptin levels will return to normal levels after eating indulgent meals. This means faster progress.
Often the best way out of a sticking point where you just can’t lose any more weight is to do the opposite of what you think you should do – eat a cheat meal or two.
How Often Should You Cheat?
Try and follow the 80/20 rule if you aren’t trying to lose weight or the 90/10 rule if you are.
This means you should be eating right 80-90% of the time, then the other 10-20%, you can relax and have a little fun.
If you’re eating 6 times a day that boils down to about 2 meals and 2 snacks each week where you can splurge a bit.
You don’t want to get crazy with portions and I’m not saying to go eat an entire pizza. What you should do is indulge a bit on a Friday night or have that gooey dessert you love at Sunday Brunch.
I take my own advice and have cheat meals too. They can make me feel a bit more sluggish than I like so I always do this little trick after I enjoy a cheat meal.
If you stick with this rule and cheat once or twice per week, you shouldn’t find that the cheat meals slow your progress in any way. In fact, they may actually help you see better long term results.
Before you think about cheat meals, make sure you’ve been eating healthy foods 100% of the time for 30 days. This builds good habits that make it easier to get right back on track after the cheat meal is over.
Yours in health,
P.S. Please share this info. with your friends and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.