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Cheat Meals Gone Wild: How Strategic Cheat Meals Can Benefit Your Long-Term Fat Loss Results

  Mar 24th, 2012

Hot Girl Stuffing Her FaceIf you have read my book, Ripped Out, or have been a follower of this site for any length of time, I trust you are well aware that nutrition is an aspect of physical fitness I don’t compromise on.


Because nutrition is the one area that people understand the least, while also being the aspect that has the greatest impact on our results, it wouldn’t be fair for me to minimize the importance of eating for muscle building and fat loss success.


Nevertheless, as I was eating a plate of grilled shrimp and tilapia tonight as a strategic “cheat meal”, it occurred to me that I have yet to share an article on the concept of cheat meals.


Well, here you go…


What is a Cheat Meal

Structured nutrition plans come in many forms:


• Counting calories


• Timing the consumption of carbohydrates


• Limiting carbohydrates


• Eating low amounts of fat


Carb cycling


Regardless of the nutritional strategy you are using, a cheat meal simply refers to a meal which falls outside of the dietary restrictions you are placing on yourself at that time.


My stance is the fewer cheat meals you partake in, the better, regardless of the diet you are following. However, even the super-dedicated will naturally have an occasional cheat meal, so knowing how to use them to your advantage can pay dividends in terms of your long-term fat loss results.


The Benefits of Cheat Meals

There are 3 benefits I experience from a properly timed cheat meal:


• Providing timely mental rejuvenation during this brief period of relaxing from my diet plan


• Helping to mitigate my feelings of hunger


• Serves as a reward for my commitment and dedication each week


Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these…


Cheat Meals for Mental Rejuvenation

Let’s face it. Following a nutrition plan isn’t easy! It takes planning, commitment, continuous self-motivation and a sincere desire to succeed. Even with these things in place, following any kind of structured diet plan can become mentally draining over time.


When you start to feel mentally exhausted from following your nutrition plan day after day, a nice, relaxing cheat meal is a great way to take a brief break from your diet and mentally reset yourself.


Cheat meals are never ideal for short term results, but can be beneficial in the long run by keeping you from getting burned out and giving up on the ever-important aspect of nutrition.


Cheat Meals to Reduce Hunger

When cutting fat, hunger is unfortunately something we have to deal with for a period of time as the body adjusts to receiving fewer calories.


Hunger is never a valid reason to cheat on your diet plan. If it were, we would be justified in cheating on our fat loss diet plan just about every day!


Although, when first getting started with a fat loss diet plan your hunger will be especially intense, especially if you are now eating significantly less than you were before. Therefore, when starting out with a lower-calorie diet plan, I recommend scheduling a single cheat meal at some time during the week to allow yourself to put more food in your stomach than normal.


I have found this to help not only with mitigating my feelings of hunger at the moment, but for as long as a day or two afterward as well.


I don’t make eating cheat meals for reducing my hunger a regular practice. Not just for the obvious reason of the negative impact it will have on my results, but also because enduring through feelings of hunger actually makes dealing with feeling hungry easier over time as my body adjusts to its new daily caloric intake.


However, for the first few weeks, eating a cheat meal to fill up your tank once a week can still be useful for easing your hunger for several more days while you are getting used to a more stringent nutrition plan than you’re currently used to.


Periodically Reward Yourself with a Cheat Meal

We all like to be rewarded when we do something well. Building muscle, burning fat and getting fit is no exception!


Following a structured diet plan for a full week is something that few people seem to be able to summon the motivation to accomplish. As such, accomplishing this feat warrants a reward for all of your hard work and dedication.


A planned cheat meal can be a great motivator through the week as you look forward to eating some pizza, fried chicken or any other food that your diet plan doesn’t allow you to eat during the week.


It is important to note that this system of rewarding yourself only works if you are true to yourself and don’t still have a cheat meal even if you don’t follow your nutrition plan as intended during the week.


Undeservedly rewarding yourself will only sub-consciously reinforce that your nutrition plan really isn’t that important.


When done the right way, rewarding yourself with a cheat meal will motivate you and aid in your ability to remain committed to your nutrition plan throughout the week.


Keeping Cheat Meals in Proper Perspective

In closing, I have to reiterate that cheat meals shouldn’t be the norm, unless you use a cheat meal to reward yourself each week, which is perfectly acceptable. Otherwise, the goal should be to eat on point for each and every meal.


This isn’t always a realistic goal, but it is always better to aim for perfection than to concede defeat from the start.


Nevertheless, one or two timely cheat meals each week won’t kill your results – as long as you don’t overdo it and gorge yourself when you do decide to cheat!


When used correctly, cheat meals can be beneficial by enhancing your ability to stick with your diet plan for an extended period of time, enhancing your long-term results.



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