Should I have cheat meals?
May 21st 2018
What you should do about cheat meals?
You are training hard, eating well but something is missing. You want a cheat meal. Pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream, whatever your heart desires.
Fried chicken, chocolate, pancakes, popcorn, the list can go on and on.
But should you ruin all your hard work by having a cheat meal or two? Will cheat meals set you back further?
You may have read about bodybuilders having cheat meals, indulging once a week or once in a blue moon. You see how big they are and wonder if there is any science behind their diet to achieve similar results.
Let me tell you a little secret - there is no easy way out. And cheat meals will NOT help you. Here is why:
1) Three steps forward, three steps back
Old habits die hard.
One reason why cheat meals are not recommended is because of habit. Bad habits.
Many lifters reward themselves with cheat meals after "accomplishing" a workout or week. Some just "feel like" eating something bad for them. For others, it could be an emotional response, built from years and years of discipline.
There are many potential reasons for why someone wants to pamper themselves with a cheat meal but one thing is certain - bad habits are tough break. They are tough to change.
So, in order to prevent the slippery slope effect of bad decision making, we need to prevent it in the first place. And how do we do that? By holding ourselves accountable to the food choices selected and our execution of the plan.
Dream of having a good looking figure but can not stop going to Starbucks five times a week? Ran over 10 miles in the week and need to treat yourself to your favorite restaurant? Easy to see what is wrong, but difficult to break some habits?
We all have differences in lifestyle and food perks. However, no matter the circumstance, hard work is needed. Dedication is needed. Execution is needed.
What Can I Do Then?
There is a reason why professionals have cheat meals. They push their bodies to an extreme limit. Physically, they are training their body to maximize performance, and strength. And to even get to that point, these athletes are training long hours, for decades. They are fueling their bodies with wholesome foods and allowing their bodies to utilize all the nutrients digested.
With that said, they put in the work first. A lot of hard work before they actually enjoy any cheat meals.
What about the average Joe?
However, this does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself. There is a big difference between moderation and a lack of control. A big feast with the dinner on Christmas? Sure, go ahead. A BBQ on July 4th? Knock yourself out! But are you monitoring your eating habits every other day? Are you making a conscientious effort to eat good foods?
Taking a break here and there from your diet for special circumstances is a great way of enjoying life, time with your family and comforting food. Probably more importantly, it helps keep you mentally sane.
Again, moderation is the important takeaway.
Moderation. Moderation. Moderation.
Will you get fat if you continue to eat anything you want? Yes, probably. Will you lose progress if you have a cheat meal once a week or once every two weeks? Maybe, but it depends on how you take care of your body on a daily basis.
If you are asking about when you can have cheat meals, you are asking the wrong question. Are you disciplined enough to make excellent food selections every day without any thought of "cheating" on your eating habits?
Overall, "cheat meals" are okay in moderation but many people lack the self-control to make good eating decisions. Only you can make changes in your life and it starts at the dinner table, one meal at a time.