Cheat Day vs Cheat Meal

Cheat Day vs Cheat Meal

To cheat or not to cheat. That is the question! Depending on what type of diet you are, I think cheating here and there is crucial. Not only to satisfy your food cravings but also to calm down the severity of your cravings. Now most people choose to have a full day of eating whatever it is they want and then there are those who choose to eat one meal that is thought to be unhealthy. But how often should you have a cheat day or cheat meal?

 

Which is better?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question but in my opinion, I prefer to have a cheat meal versus a cheat day. The reason why I have cheat meals opposed to cheat days is simply because I will lose less progress. If I had an entire day where I could eat whatever I wanted, I could easily put down 5,000 calories. On an extreme day, I could probably eat 8,000 calories. You have to remember that there are roughly 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat. So in one cheat day, I could gain 1.5 lbs or more! By having a cheat meal, you satisfy your craving when it is small and your likelihood of overeating or failing at your diet is lower. You might go over your daily calories by 200-500 versus going over by 1000’s. Having that being said, I am not saying cheat days are all bad. If you enjoy a lot of unhealthy food, maybe you should start off having cheat days and slowly weening off into cheat meals. Eventually getting rid of cheating altogether. You must be disciplined and your cheat days should be pre-planned. Meaning that you choose an exact day and an exact meal on that certain day to cheat.

 

When to cheat?

The answer to this question isn’t exact but there is a good rule of thumb to follow when you should cheat. Personally, I use cheat meals as a reward. What I mean by this is once you hit a certain goal then you allow yourself to cheat. Normally I would cheat every 2 weeks or once a month. Now this may not sound very often and I’m not saying that this is the only time you should cheat. I have been dieting for years and I work my way up. Pushing the cheat meal further and further. My recommendation for anyone who is either new to a diet or who is a few months in is to have a cheat meal once a week for a month. Then the next month push that out to twice a month. Then once a month and so on. The important thing to remember when cheating is that in the initial stage of your diet, your body will crave more ‘bad’ food. You need to slowly ween off unhealthy food. That way you are less likely to fail on your diet and you are still able to keep your sanity. Eventually you may not need cheat meals or cheat days at all. That is when you have made a lifestyle change!

 

Which is best for me?

This is a question you’ll have to ask yourself. If you are an individual who has a few pounds to lose, cheat days would be fine. If you are someone who has a lot of pounds to lose, then cheat meals would be for you. Please remember that cheating isn’t an excuse to overeat. The whole purpose of cheating is to satisfy a craving and to keep your sanity. Take these cheat meals or cheat days and enjoy them but do not overdo it. You must remember that the more often you cheat, the further from your goal you will be. Having that being said, I’m not saying that you should restrict yourself to the extreme where you go insane and eat everything in sight. If you have been strict for a few days and maybe there is a get together, holiday, or event, go ahead and eat that food you like. Just do not overdo it.

Another recommendation I have is to eat a small portion of that food. For example, if you like cinnamon rolls, instead of having the entire roll, eat half or a quarter. That way you get the taste of it and satisfy your craving without ingesting all the calories associated with it. Be disciplined the majority of the week or month and then here and there have some of the foods you enjoy. When training my clients, I allow them to follow a gradual decrease in cheat days/meals depending on how much fat they need to lose.

 

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