Cheat meal, reward meal or free meal – they all ultimately mean the same thing, eat what you want! Almost every client I work with wants to know ‘’when can I have a cheat meal’’ – each time I give the same response, ‘’we shall see.’’ The thing is, I was brought up in the industry by die hard bodybuilders who love the ‘’hardcore’’ nature of eating food you hate 8 times a day and pride themselves on being able to stare their favourite foods in the face and never cave. With that said it took me a while to change my ways – now a little wiser and a little more open minded I look at that dogmatic approach as a bit unnecessary. Here are my thoughts on ‘’cheat meals’’ and perhaps more than that a good way to structure your diet on the whole for fat loss and long term prosperity.
The first thing I would say is, don’t create a diet whereby a ‘’cheat meal’’ is the only thing you have to look forward to – that’s criminal these days in my view. We ALL have foods we love which are healthy and nutritious so use them to your advantage. Every day you should look forward to the foods you eat rather than dread them. As an example, I love oats, berries, yogurt, sweet potato, baked potato and various meats in home-made veg sauces. Guess what, my diet is loaded with them every day within the correct parameters for my diet. Rule number one, ensure you can enjoy your diet.
Secondly I would like to point out that you need to avoid a rigid plan whereby you have no flexibility – it works for people like me but for most it will just drive you to the point of self-combustion!! As an example, if you are due to eat sweet potato, chicken and veg but you are at a restaurant and they have baked potato, home-made chilli and salad don’t be afraid to make a ‘’like for like’’ swap. Sure it isn’t exact but you need to live the lifestyle, not a time-phased restrictive diet which makes you hate every minute of the day.
Finally, reward meals should be just that – a reward. This means that they aren’t always applicable, not because you don’t deserve it but maybe because you can’t afford it right now. However, I think this is where being creative with healthy ingredients is great. Having a Sunday roast with sweet potato, white potato, chicken, fresh veg served with gravy made from a stock cube. It’s not ‘’full fat’’ but it sure gives you a treat.
Hopefully the ideology here gives you a better insight into food eating, long term.