How Do I Get Fit - P90X, Insanity and Beachbody fitness Coaching. You can change your body. This is the place to start.

Cheat Meals– Taboo or “Yahooooo”?

Cheat meals are a hot topic. You’ve got one side that equates a cheat meals with kicking the dog or drowning kittens and you’ve got the other who prop it up as a point of sanity and keeping your body in check to avoid your metabolism and hypothalamus “normalizing”.

Thing is, they’re both well intentioned. Well, excluding the whole hurting cute animals equivalent thing.

See, your body is a pretty fantastic. When you take a calorie deficit (which is a crucial key to losing fat), your body will eventually adapt to operate at that deficit and the weight loss you experienced at first cutting will become slower. This is why many constant dieters doing the same thing they’ve always done have trouble losing “that last little bit”.

As briefly referenced above, cheat meal advocates use the “cheat” theory as a kind of “shock to the system” so your body never gets too used to operating at a set caloric level, which isn’t entirely true (one meal/day of crazy eating will reset your metabolism? Uh, no).

Cheat meal opponents argue “cheating” will lead to a slippery slope of justification– one that soon leads to every other meal becoming a cheat and BAM– before you know it, you’re back to downing whole pizzas and tubs of Ben and Jerry’s just for the fun of it. Their motto is “You’ll never fall off the cliff if you don’t skirt the edge.” I tend to agree with this but here’s a more “nuanced” approach to:

My Take On Cheat Meals

This is touchy as I don’t like to mention “cheat meals” in any form to anyone until they’ve reached their goals. I’m a cautious, situational cheerleader.. so DO NOT take my skittish “Well, it depends on…” as my thumbs up for making fatsuck a regular occurrence. First off, it’s called a cheat MEAL. Not a cheat day. That said, “cheat” is loaded and negative word. I like “Great job for living well” or “Treat Yourself Meal” better. After all, what’s the point of working out and eating clean if you can’t treat yourself to a favorite burger, slice of pizza or dessert every once in a while. P90X, Insanity and any other nutrition based program is made to be SUSTAINABLE. It’s about CAN, not CAN’T.

The Cheat Meal BUT…

Here’s the “but”… and you knew there’d be one, right? Remember this: You ARE shortchanging yourself and your goals if you “cheat” while trying to hit your weight loss goals. Those first 90 days are in place to keep you focused on the goal at hand- to understand nutrition, how it affects your body and how to use and control it. After that, your nutrition should become habit and lifestyle.

Once you master your way of life thanks to P90X, the general rule of thumb– once you reach the desired body you’d like to maintain— is this: eating clean 90% of the time will do the trick without packing on all the pounds you worked so hard to lose. In a one month cycle of 30 days, that’s eating clean 27 days and “cheating” on three. Still, cheat doesn’t translate to BINGE, IE– devouring all “naughty” foods on site until you puke or pass out with one hand in the Doritos bag and the other gently cradling a box of Papa John’s. Moderation (IE- eating PORTION sizes– not every last drop of meat sauce that covered your head-sized plate of spaghetti) is the key.

Ultimately, you know yourself. If you know “indulging–aka cheating” will lead to a burning guilt complex, more justification than a DC politician and a downward slide back into your fat pants, DON’T DO IT… EVER. If you know you can enjoy a food you wouldn’t normally eat, then immediately press unpause to get back on the nutrition train again the next day– or even next meal– go for it… but ALWAYS remember moderation and caution AFTER you’ve reached your fitness goals. In other words, for those in their first 90 days, don’t even think about it. 

Tags: ,

4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. Armond says:

    Lol, man you are hilarious. True down-home advice. I think folks who are truly looking to change their lives can take heed to this. Indeed, it is much better and more motivating than the guy that looks like Hulk Hogan telling you that the minute you put that burger in your mouth you will pass out of a heart-attack. Great work, Dan!

  2. Liliana Sanches says:

    Excellent article! First of all, let me congratulate you, yet again, for your writing skills. Your very own, down to earth, relatable language is something out of this world. You know exactly what we need to hear/ read when we’re in this weight loss journey and you don’t sugar coat it just to please everyone. I love it! But about this article in particular I completely agree with you: I think each person should always “treat”themselves, the more food you put off limits, the more you will crave it and you’ll be compromising your sanity along the way. Whenever a person is ready and confident that it won’t derrail them, it’s when they should start enjoying these occasional cheats. Any time before that will be their demise because it will soon turn into a cheat DAY, then WEEK. Thank you for this! :]

Leave a Reply