Sian Toal - Is Cheating OK?

So did October's random reprisal of summer confuse you??! Were your shape goals starting to take a back seat with the thought of chunky knits, winter coats and ‘’cosying’’ up with the Starbucks gingerbread latte in the red cup...? Well..... SURPRISE! Let's have a bit more flesh on show with some spontaneous summer sunshine! Other than death and taxes being the only sure things in life, you can always count on British weather to throw a spanner in the works.

Let's have a chat about cheating. Cheating is bad right? In all senses of the word. Well, in our world of fitness you can actually be given licence to do just that! Could it be that in a world of 'don'ts' (don't eat that/drink that/be lazy/fall off the wagon/have a life....) there is an almighty 'DO' in terms of cheating on your diet...? AND it keeps you on track AND increases your fat loss potential? Well strike me down and order the cheesecake....

Let's have a look at the details.....naturally there are rules....

1) Psychologically there are benefits. The more you tell yourself you can't have something, suddenly that's all you want. By scheduling a meal of the week that is technically a 'cheat' and part of your ongoing plan, you don't need to beat yourself up over it. You eat it, enjoy it, get over it and move on! Socially you don't feel like a leper and you can maintain control of your goals. Food is a wonderful part of life. There is food for the body and food for the soul....

2) Physiologically there are benefits. The body when being put through a reduced calorie diet can slump and metabolic rates can slow. An injection of high calories can fire up your system and get it functioning properly again. Like filling your car with petrol.

3) Cheat day or cheat meal? Know yourself. This concept does not give licence to eat a weeks worth if calories in one day and go around like a person possessed, hovering up anything in sight that slightly resembles food. This is not about bingeing. Are you the sort of person who can manage a day eased off the planning and structure and enjoy good food without being the human Hoover? Or do you work best at picking a meal (any time of the day) and that's your moment? 3 course dinner and that's you done? Find out. As we've covered before, different things work for different people. So experiment and find your way.

4) Weekly? Bi-monthly? Kinda depends what stage you're in. Weekly is a good one to have the cheat meal (not Hoover day) I had three weeks on my meticulous pre comp diet before a cheat meal. But for me I was in an intense phase of getting show ready. Not day to day normality diet. Again learn what works best for you.

I believe it's important to not become obsessed with food and with what you can and can't have. Long term changes need long term plans. Do you seriously plan to avoid every restaurant/wedding/birthday/bar for the rest of your life? Your physical achievements are so much more better represented with a healthy balanced approach. Be in control and you'll have the power!

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