Updated: Sep 3
The infamous cheat meal! You've been dieting hard all week, so you deserve one right? No. You do not. Right let me get this straight, that's not just me being a dick. But you don't deserve to be a cheater is what I'm trying to get at. Just because you've been loyal to your other half this week doesn't mean you can just cheat on them this weekend does it?
Let me continue.. Just because you fancy a pizza this Friday, it doesn't mean you're a cheat. This slight wording might not sound like a big deal, but mentally it's a huge deal.
The second you've told yourself you're going to cheat, you've told yourself you're not on a diet for this day/meal & you can go all in on a extra large dominos with some cookie dough, because, well, you're cheating.. You might as well do it properly.
It's important to understand a cheat meal can & often does ruin an entire weeks progress...
Check out this Instagram post I made on this subject here
The Power Of The Word 'Cheat'
If I asked you right now, "what's your favourite meal", it's more likely to be something like... steak, spag bol, lasagne, roast dinner, fajitas & so on..
But if I asked you "what is your favourite cheat meal", you'd probably answer something along the lines of... Pizza, Chinese, Indian, burgers, Cookies, Cake (maybe a combo) etc...
What was the difference between the 2 questions? Literally just the word cheat. The word cheat instantly makes us think "it needs to be naughty"
Hopefully you're starting to understand that such a simple word can have an impact on the food choices we make
Negativity Is Your True Enemy
The goal is to remove negative words from your life such as cheating. You're not cheating.. You're not failing.. You're just enjoying some food! This is not a bad thing. Food is for enjoying, not feeling guilty about afterwards.
"Cheat" = Negative = Guilt
Guilt only leads to two places
1) The 'F it attitude' - eating everything in sight, because the damage is already done, right?
2) Punishing yourself & overly restricting/exercising
The problem with...
1) Is that you probably didn't cause any damage in the first place, but continuing to do so through guilt is when the damage begins
2) By punishing yourself with overly restricting/exercising you're only going to lead into the exact same position this time next week and the entire cheat = negative = guilt cycle starts all over again
Relationship with food
We all have a 'relationship with food', whether you know it or not. The majority of people who are overweight have a poor relationship with food and slimmer people tend to have a better relationship with food
I bet you have one of those friends who eats half a chocolate bar & saves the rest for later? I agree, they're not normal. But they have a hell of a good relationship with food because they don't feel the need to have it now
I'll be honest, as a PT you'd think I have a fantastic relationship with food, but in reality I'd say it's okay at best. It's especially tested when I'm dieting, so I get it! But as soon as you start to work on your relationship, the better things become
Stop Labelling The Foods You Love Negatively
From now on, if you fancy a pizza on Friday because you've worked your arse off all week? Have a damn pizza. Just don't call it a cheat meal. Call it what it is, a pizza.
If you're tracking calories (recommended), this becomes even easier. You can easily fit your favourite meal into your weekly calories
How? A few different ways...
1) If your calorie target is 2000/day, try having 1800 Mon-Fri (5 days), this will leave you with 1000 extra calories to enjoy over the weekend
2) Skip breakfast if you know you're likely to overly indulge in the evening (but don't starve yourself, make sure you eat lunch or you'll risk being ravenous)
3) Make a few sensible choices, you can eat very similar meals but hugely decrease the calories.. Swap your ben & Jerry's for some halo top ice cream to save about 900 calories on your ice cream fix for example...
For me personally when I'm dieting, I just stick to the 80:20 rule. Aim for 80% nutritious foods that compliment my goal, and then get 20% of foods that I just want to eat, because, well, they're delicious & I enjoy them
If you do this throughout the week, and make your life seem less restrictive, you'll suddenly not seem to need to be 'naughty', or if you do.. It'll be a respectable meal, not quite everything in sight like it used to beneedto be 'naughty', or if you do.. It'll be a respectable meal, not quite everything in sight like it used to be
Take home message
Stop calling it a cheat meal! Just enjoy your food & get back on track
Don't overly restrict yourself all week
You've not ruined your diet by eating 1 meal slightly out of plan, you've just enjoyed yourself
Don't ruin an entire weeks progress by 'cheating' & falling into the cheat = negative = guilty cycle
Enjoy your favourite foods & make progress, it's much more fun than punishing yourself & feeling guilty.....
If you'd like to know your calorie goal so that you can still enjoy the foods you love and make progress, check out my free calorie calculator here
Do you work your arse off all week just to ruin it over the weekend? Drop me a message, let's have a chat about it & see if I can help you out