A term which is used in the world of health, fitness and nutrition where (normally at the end of a week) somebody will “reward” themselves with a meal or day where they do not track their calories, or where they give themselves an open licence to consume however many calories that they desire during that meal or day.
You will also find some coaches in the industry advising cheat meals/days to their clients.
So, what is my opinion on the whole cheat meal situation?
First and foremost, I absolutely do not agree with cheat meals/days and I also do not like the terminology used for them, I think that it can potentially cause a huge issue with people’s relationships with food and can potentially be hugely damaging. In my opinion, any coach or nutritional adviser who recommend cheat meals/days, probably need to review the way that they are approaching the subject of nutrition with their client(s)
Why do I disagree with cheat meals/days?
As stated earlier, I believe that cheat meals/days can potentially cause harm with regards to people’s relationships and mindsets with food. Giving somebody, or yourself, a free licence to eat whatever you/they want on a particular time or day of the week can very easily undo all of their weeks hard work that they have been doing. From being in an energy balance or energy deficit, they can easily plunge themselves into an energy surplus without even realising it. If I had a pound for every person who has ever said to me “well I eat really well during the week and only have a Saturday where I have what I fancy” when they have put on body fat, then I would genuinely be a very wealthy man!!
The problem is, they can easily pack away 3-4000 calories a day on these occasions (potentially more!) and then end up losing no body fat that week and end up back to square one or, in lots of cases, even further from where they originally started. This can all be the result of just one cheat meal or day!!
Think outside of the box when it comes to cheat meals/days. Set up your daily/weekly calorie targets so that they include a little bit of something that you would class as “off plan” and add them into your daily calorie targets. You should not be feeling like you are depriving yourself, which ultimately leads to a “blowout” at a weekend. It amounts to an unhealthy relationship with food and you will never ever get a full grip on your diet in the long-run. Trust me on that.
A sustainable diet is not about living like a saint for as long as you can stand it, restricting food and social occasions and then having a “blowout” when you cannot take the restrictive measures anymore. A healthy diet is about being in optimal health all of the time and enjoying the food that you eat while developing a good relationship with it.
I may also add in some further context on this subject in the future from personal experience that I have had back in my professional boxing days making 9st 4lb! It is certainly an eye opener and well worth touching on, but I will leave that for another blog.
We here at the private PHFitness personal training and sports massage studio in Derby work hard with our 1-1 clients to incorporate a healthy lifestyle, not just from the exercise side of things, but from the nutritional angle too. Nutrition is so much more than just giving a diet plan.
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