Cheat meals are NOT a green light for a free-for-all, let’s scrap the view of CHEAT meal, cheating isn’t what we are doing.
We are ENJOYING time with friends and family, so let’s not associate this meal with ‘cheating’.
Let’s start calling it a TREAT meal. You are TREATING yourself to some downtime with your friends/family/partner. Do not eat in a search for ‘satisfaction’ find your satisfaction from the company, or the event you are at. Remember how you will feel if you over-eat! It’s not worth it!
FACT: Cheat (treat) meals are not beneficial to your body – they’re for sanity purposes ONLY. The only time a cheat meal / refeed will benefit your metabolism is when you are on contest prep which does not apply to this group.
Recommended treat meals;
Steak and chips / Fajitas / Nandos / Harvester (places where they grill the majority of their meat) / Any steak restaurant / Home-made cheat meals.
Stay away from high saturated fat and high gluten meals for example,
Bread / Pizza/ White pasta / Chinese / Indian/ Fish shop food / Cream sauces
Alcohol with treat meals: ok this is something I get asked very often, if you are dieting for a holiday or event or a deadline, I do recommend skipping alcohol. It serves no purpose to the body, it will dehydrate your body, and is the most catabolic thing you can put in your body (it dehydrates the muscle and will hinder your progress!) Do not drink alcohol in addition to food – this must be substituted. Calorie for calorie. I recommend around 800-1000kcal per treat meal. For example, 1 x medium pizza is 1200-1500 kcal! 1 glass of wine roughly 160+ calories and 114 for a glass of gin and slimline tonic.
But something I must stress – don’t miss out on things in life, to weigh half a pound less!!
TOP TIPS FOR CHEAT MEALS:
· Base your cheat meals on a protein dish, this will fill you and satisfy you more than a carb based meal such as pasta/pizza/chocolate/sweets.
· Skip starter – you are likely to tell yourself ‘I will have a starter and a main’ soon as that dessert menu comes and your favourite desserts on there – game over!
· Do not see cheat meals as a “reward” that’s the slippery slope of over-indulging because you’ve worked hard this week, or had a stressful week, or you missed a meal earlier etc, don’t give yourself excuses. A cheat meal is for you to enjoy life and time with your friends/family.
· Do not eat alone. There is no actual satisfaction in this, the purpose of a cheat meal is to be able to relax, if you’re in a situation where you do not have plans or no one is around or you’re working late on a Saturday night for example – skip the cheat meal and save it for a time when you will actually enjoy the company. This allows your mind set to associate cheat meals with satisfaction from COMPANY not food.
· Plan your cheat meal!! Check the menu before you go out and stick to your options.
· Ensure you plan your cheat meal with a social event, if you’re invited out with friends use it as your cheat meal. If this event happens to fall on your non cheat meal day – don’t neglect time with friends, go out to the meal with friends and use it as cheat meal OR be smart, follow your nutrition plan, if your nutrition plan says chicken/fish then order chicken/fish – ensuring it’s grilled not battered for example. If they do not have a clean side order, then order vegetables or salad. Ask the waiter/waitress for no oil/butters on your food.
· Drink water before and during your cheat meal. Keep fluids high all day! · Stop eating if you are full, there’s no need to eat it just because it’s on your plate.
· Don’t over-eat because it’s your ‘only opportunity’ to eat this food. You can eat again next week, don’t binge because you feel you have to go another 7 days without it.
· Fasted cardio the day after your cheat meal. · Do not eat your cheat meal early in the day – for example, if you have a cheat at lunch you are likely to continue cheating later in the day.
· Train on your cheat meal days and keep rest periods low – even add in some plyometric work between sets to elevate heart rate and burn more calories.
· DO NOT weigh the day after cheat meal – your weight will more than likely be higher due to the more volumous food in your stomach – it is not a reflection of fat gain!