Okay, so here’s a little secret about dieting which you may or may not already know: Even though there are at least 7 cheat meal mistakes that can destroy your diet, a cheat meal can also help you lose weight.
Yes, you heard that right. If you would like your diet to be as effective as possible, you need to enjoy a cheat meal—or even a cheat day—in which you ignore your calorie count and dietary limitations, dig into the high-calorie foods you love, and enjoy yourself!
However, cheating needs to be done right, and mistakes which can put you right back into the painful grind of suffering through an ineffective diet need to be avoided.
Here is what you need to know about cheat meals, how they can help you lose weight, and the 7 cheat meal mistakes which can destroy your diet.
What is a Cheat Meal?
Simply put, a cheat meal is an indulgence which takes you away from the tedium that is most diets. Basically, you set aside a particular day of the week for a cheat day, or a favorite mealtime for a cheat meal, and eat what you would like rather than sticking to your diet.
For example, even though you may spend most of the week limiting your calories to say, 1500 per day, you may now choose a day to just “go for it,” and indulge in perhaps twice that amount—although with some limits.
Or, you can single out a meal, and rather than the carb-free ketogenic diet you are on most of the time, you can enjoy a carbo-fest pizza—yay!
This helps your diet in a few ways.
First, when you only consume a limited number of calories each day, your body adjusts its metabolism to compensate, which means in addition to receiving fewer calories, it also burns fewer calories.
By essentially “letting it rip” on a certain day of the week, your body goes, “Wow, perhaps all this conserving of energy isn’t so necessary—look at all this fuel to burn!” and it allows your metabolism to remain high, which keeps your diet effective.
Second, it benefits you by not making your diet a complete chore, and instead, gives you a reward day to look forward to. This discourages you from straying from your diet out of food boredom, and instead, keeps things structured and working.
What a Cheat Meal is Not?
While indulgence may be what a cheat meal is all about, what it isn’t about is throwing all caution to the wind. You are, after all, still on a diet, and your health is of primary concern.
For instance, you need to limit your cheat meal or cheat day to once per week, and no, you can’t spread a cheat day out through the course of the week in the form of multiple cheat meals!
And, there are some key mistakes Anot to make when scheduling your cheat meals or cheat days:
1.Don’t Continue Eating Even After You Are Full
Overeating is overeating, and it only leads to more overeating. Plus, calories which cannot be burned are stored and you can nullify your entire week of dieting by adding so many calories on your cheat day that it takes an entire week of dieting to burn them off. Plus, overeating makes you feel bloated and crummy—yuck! If you do fear all out binging on a cheat day, try taking a weight loss supplement that can suppress your appetite like Ultra Omega Burn.
2. Not Scheduling Cheat Meals To Coincide With Special Occasions
When you know an event with food and drink is coming up, schedule it as your cheat day. After all, who wants to try to be disciplined at a fun event?
3. Don’t Merely Indulge In Unhealthy Junk Food
Cheat days should not be “all the desert you can eat day,” or “all the sodium and trans fat you can eat day.” For one, a good diet teaches you lifestyle change, part of which is eating healthier on a regular basis, and not just while dieting.
4. Don’t Cheat On An Unscheduled Day
Either make it a cheat day or make it a diet day, and there is only one cheat day per week—no exceptions. Don’t go cheating on an unscheduled day thinking that you can make up for it down the road.
5. Don’t Be Too Disciplined And Not Allow Yourself To Genuinely Cheat
Part of cheating is providing your body with enough calories to maintain its metabolism. If you are too disciplined, this may not happen. Plus, it’s your day—live it up and enjoy!
6. Don’t Cheat On Your Exercise As Well As Your Diet
While it is important to have rest and recovery days from your exercise routine, it is not the same as a dietary cheat day. In fact, it is recommended that you rev your metabolism up with a good workout on your cheat day, which not only helps you keep up with your calorie burn, but also makes sitting down to a huge dinner that much more enjoyable!
7. Don’t Indulge In A Cheat Meal Which You Haven’t Earned
Did you have a mid-week slip on your diet just because there happened to be donuts in the breakroom at work? No cheat meal for you! Remember, cheating is your reward, and it should only be done on a planned day. Outside of that, you are just developing bad habits which will keep the pounds on.
So, your diet started out great, you lost some pounds, and you were ready to take on the world.
However, everything seemed to stall, and now your weight seems to just hover there while you have one miserably-boring, low calorie meal after another, which makes you want to crawl in a hole.
The answer? Cheat!
Not only will doing so help your metabolism wake up and get to work, it will also help keep you from saying “Screw this diet, this isn’t living!”
So, give it a try—it works! Just be sure you do it right.