Published on February 20th, 2013 | by George Conte0
The need for a cheat meal in modern diets – myth or fact?
The cheat meal is a term that is commonly used by people that are following a strict diet. The cheat meal is method they devised just to keep themselves sane while they are on such a nutritional plan. The usual frequency of a cheat meal is once per week or twice, any more than that and the diet could end to the opposite result than the one indented.
The three basic types of cheat meals
1. Cheat meals where you eat unhealthy versions of foods you usually wouldn’t eat.
For example, eating junk food like a pizza containing 700 calories instead of eating lean white chicken, salad and fruits (700 calories again).
For such types of cheat meals there is no reason to ever do them because you can just make yourself a healthy and tasty 700 calorie pizza with the appropriate healthy basic materials. An example could be olive oil (instead of other unhealthy vegetable oils), oats (instead of white processed flour) and chicken breast slices of meat (instead of pork, ham or bacon).
2. Cheat meals where you cheat the amount of calories
For example you usually eat 500 calories per meal and you cheat one or two meals per week and go for 800 or 1000 calories. The only problem to this cheat meal is that you are set back in weight loss because if you do this 2 times per week then you end up with 4000 more calories per month. So the difference is 0.5kg of fat per month.
3. Cheat meals where you cheat the amount of calories and the healthy type of the foods.
For example instead of eating the usual 500 calorie fish and salad meal you are eating a 1000 calorie meal of junk food like chocolates or ice-cream.
My opinion on cheat meals
Cheat meals are in my opinion useless if you know how to create a good diet plan. Such a plan could be fundamentally designed to avoid sugar carvings and control hunger, to lose steadily mainly fat in the long run, so you won’t have to quit it. It should be composed of your already favorite foods (or healthy versions of them like a healthy low calorie pizza) so you don’t have the sense that you are missing out something you love.
Also, it is important to be prepared emotionally and psychologically, before starting any kind of nutritional plan so you can stick through it. This can be done with the stages of change theory.
Finally you should prepare your personal space where you live and work so there are no distractions. For example you can’t expect to stop eating chocolates when there are tons of them just lying around your home, on open space, where you can stare at them all day. Unhealthy and hight calorie food distractions are the worst thing it can happen to you when you follow a diet plan.
Think about the reason why people “need” a cheat meal. The answer is because they have a “strict diet” in the first place. This is a recipe for disaster. Whenever someone feels he is restricted or forbidden to do something all his thought and desires focus on how to overcome this situation.
What would you prefer to do? Start a strict diet plan and then spend all day fighting sugar cravings and your hunger or follow a more relaxed plan with many options that is based on your personal needs and desires?