Cheat Meals – What, When & Why?

Samantha Olivier is back with another fitness & health inspired blog post. See her last one here. Dieting in my eye is a load of toff. It’s really about making sure you eat a good balance of healthy food and to watch portion sizes and snacking. Team this up with some regular exercise and there shouldn’t be a need to cut back on the food you love. Samantha is dishing out a little advice on cheat meals and how these can be implemented into our routines. She’s currently generating hype before her blog goes live. You can find her on Twitter here.


When people decide to start eating healthy and follow a proper meal plan, there is probably one thing that bothers them, and they often ask themselves: will I ever be allowed to eat junk food, sweets and other things that are not so good for me? Luckily, the answer is yes and it’s called a cheat meal!

What’s a cheat meal?

A cheat meal aka reward meal aka free meal means eating one meal that contains some foods that you shouldn’t normally eat while on a specific diet. Judging by the name, some people use these meals as an excuse to “cheat” on a diet, some see it as a “reward”, and some just appreciate the temporary freedom to eat what they want to eat. No matter how you choose to call it, the principle is the same. When starting a diet, you have to set realistic goals and that means an occasional cheat meal. 

Why do you have cheat meals?

The most common reason people give up on getting in shape is because they can’t stick to the diet. They crave and crave certain foods until they break and go back to eating as before. This is where cheat meals come into play. To prevent reaching that breaking point, you can occasionally have a meal that will satisfy your cravings. It’s good to plan cheat meals, so you never actually eat anything you’re not supposed to eat. 

You will not feel guilty, because it’s right there in your diet plan. By allowing yourself an occasional cheat meal, the chances of sticking to your plan in the long run are much greater. Another thing is that dieting can lower your energy levels and your appetite. A cheat meal is just the calorie boost your body needs to keep that energy high and give you the power to push hard in the gym. In addition, switching your calorie intake from low to high and vice versa has proven in practice to be a good way to boost your metabolism and lose some extra weight by not letting your body get adjusted to one regimen.


How to properly incorporate cheat meals into your diet?

There are only two important rules when it comes to cheat meals: don’t eat too much and don’t eat it too often. A good and beneficial cheat meal is prepared with control and some common sense. You can eat whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself until you can’t move. There is no rule about the frequency of cheat meals either, but once again, be moderate. Experts recommend 1 to 2 cheat meals per week, and that should be the maximum. Some choose to “cheat” only when there’s a special occasion, like a party or a family reunion, and that’s fine too. 

On the other hand, if you think 1 or 2 cheat meals a week is too little, try taking some supplements to get you going until your next cheat meal. One other thing you need to know is that you shouldn’t have cheat meals before you hit the gym or before bed, because you can get sick to your stomach. Probably the best time to eat cheat meals is after a workout, when your body is ready to burn everything bad. 

What should I have as a cheat meal?

There are no rules about what you should eat as a cheat meal and that’s the whole idea of it. You should take a break from your plan and have something you love without the bitter aftertaste or remorse. Think about what you’ve been craving lately and indulge. 


Will a cheat meal ruin my progress?

If you don’t do it too often and don’t eat too much, cheat meals will not in any way set you back with your diet. They will only help you stick to your plan and not reach the breaking point. There is no way that one junky meal can undo what ten clean meals and regular physical activity have done, so don’t worry.

Thank you for reading Samantha’s blog post and be sure to check out her social media that I mentioned at the beginning of the blog post!

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