Skip to content
May 5, 2023

The Rules Of A Cheat Meal

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness, Nutrition

Taking one meal off from healthy eating and eating the food you crave sounds unbelievable to some people, but it is a viable diet strategy. Research regarding cheat meals comes to very different conclusions. Some research says it works, while others say it slows progress. Giving yourself permission to stray from a strict diet and indulge in a burger or junk food can help you learn to eat healthier without persecuting yourself when you don’t eat that way. There are other reasons cheat meals can aid in weight loss, but only if you follow the rules.

If you’ve eaten a cheat meal, don’t worry, but don’t stretch it out to a cheat week.

Indulging yourself occasionally when you crave something or on special occasions with family and friends provides a pleasant break from dieting and creates a healthier attitude towards food. One problem dieters often have is breaking their diet then giving up forever. Eating “forbidden” food at one meal, especially if it was something you truly craved, is not a problem. Just avoid extending it beyond that meal. Eating multiple days of cheat meals can set you back several weeks.

If you have a craving for a specific food, identify it and give yourself permission to indulge.

Ignoring a craving can cause it to become an obsession. It can even cause you to continue to overeat food you don’t enjoy since it’s not satisfying. If you’ve been craving something, but aren’t sure what it is, pinpoint it before you begin a cheat meal. Ask yourself whether it’s a creamy, crunchy, or soft texture you crave. Is it something sweet, salty, or deliciously rich? Once you pinpoint it, go ahead and cheat. It satisfies your craving, causing you to eat less.

Don’t feel guilty.

Feeling guilty feeds into the “bad food/good food” myth surrounding dieting and eating disorders. That can transfer to you feeling bad or good if you eat it or don’t strictly stick to the diet. If you’ve ever eaten a slice of cake or scoop of ice cream while you’re trying to lose weight, you often have that little voice in your head telling you that you should be ashamed. That’s not true. Sometimes, you do deserve a treat…just not a big portion daily.

  • If you have a favorite food, you constantly crave, get a portion size of it and eat a little every day for a week or more. You’ll fulfill the craving, and enjoy the taste and texture, without all the excess calories.
  • Some theories say that cheat meals can keep your metabolism at peak performance and your calorie-burning fires higher. Short-term studies show a cheat meal can boost calorie burning by 10% for 24 hours.
  • You can feel like you’re cheating and fulfill those cravings when you find ways to make your favorite food healthier. Using cottage cheese instead of sour cream in dip can cut a few calories.
  • Schedule your cheat meal around special occasions or nights out with friends. Don’t count calories or carbs, just enjoy. Make your meal later in the day and only eat until you’re full. Don’t stuff yourself.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio