Check out the latest tips and tricks on fitness, training and nutrition from Stay Decided Fitness!
One of the most common things I come across in the dieting world is the subject of “cheat” meals. It’s usually the first thing people want to know when you start talking about a nutrition plan, everyone wants to know do they get a “cheat meal”. Firstly, let’s address the wording here. In my opinion, by calling it a “cheat” meal, you are implying it is food you aren’t supposed to have. A good nutrition plan that you can stick to should have that accounted for (hence the importance of tracking food) and very little, if any, regression in progress should happen.
Let’s get this out of the way first, NOBODY (and I mean nobody) sticks to a plan all the time. We all have times where we allow ourselves some slack and have a treat here and there. Where the issue usually stems from is an overly restrictive plan. When you force yourself to hammer into a diet with foods you probably don’t even like, there is bound to be a rebound. Your plan should be flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle so that you don’t feel the “need” to cheat. That’s why every time I work with a client I am sure to help them understand that no food is “off limits”, but some foods may have to be limited to stick within their calorie range.
However, there are a few ways to go about fitting indulgent meals in periodically without derailing progress. If you’ve been 95-100% compliant with your plan that week, pick 1-2 meals on a certain day or 1 meal one day and 1 meal the next to loosen up the compliance slightly. Understand, this is not a license to stuff your face, you still need to practice moderation. I like to use the meal to connect with those I’m eating with (date night for example) and enjoy it together. Another strategy that helps me quite a bit is having the meal later in the day, this makes it less likely for one meal to slide into a whole weekend.
Hypothetically, let’s say you totally blew it out of the water and ate yourself sick at a meal on purpose, your diet is screwed, right? Absolutely not, the first thing you need to do is own that choice and be aware that you made it. Now the next choice you make needs to be a solid one that is more in line with your goals because we want to get the momentum going again as soon as possible. Lastly, use that extra fuel for a killer workout! The next few days, add extra sets to your training and let it keep you feeling strong.
Remember, at the end of the day it’s about consistency over perfection. If you stick to the plan 80% of the time, 20% isn’t going to make a significant impact on your progress. The point of a nutrition plan is to create habits in your lifestyle that allow you live how you want AND eat how you enjoy. On some level, all changes in diet will require some self regulation, meaning you’re going to have to cut back on some things and increase others. The best “diet” for you is the one you can see yourself sticking to for 6-12 months and can easily be adjusted to fit your dynamic lifestyle. If you need help with your nutrition, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we can work together to develop a plan that works for you!