Ever just feel like munching down on that chicken sandwich at Wendy’s or Burger King, or whoever it is that you get your chicken sammich from? Unfortunately for you and I, we’re on diets. So how can we even consider eating something so tasty, when we’re trying to lose body fat? There’s no way that eating that meal, would benefit us when it comes to cutting. Maybe if we’re bulking, but how can we eat this sandwich and still lose weight?
Well, people eating that sandwich is what is called a cheat meal. I am going to talk about some of the benefits and some of the disadvantages, of including a cheat meal into your overall diet.
Cheat meals are basically, meals that you would eat that doesn’t follow a clean diet. My example before was the chicken sandwich at one of those fast food restaurants, but a cheat meal can be anything. It could be semi-clean as in a sandwich from subway or it could be a dirty meal, like a pizza from Pizza Hut, or a hotdog, or a burger from Burger King. Basically, think of any meal that you wouldn’t have included into your diet for losing weight, and that is a cheat meal.
Now there are obviously advantages and disadvantages to cheat meals. But, there’s tricks around the disadvantages and making them into advantages.
Some of the advantages of cheat meals, is that it keeps you sane. Generally, people go too clean when they are dieting, eating whole wheat bread or whole grain, eating whole wheat pasta or brown rice, along with only chicken breast, and fish, purchasing and consuming fat free products, eating cottage cheese, etc. Basically, eating very CLEAN foods, that some may call bland. Yes, this is an excellent way to lose body fat but it’s another way also for someone to go insane and come off the dieting wagon. Imagine eating all of these clean foods and not enjoying foods that you used to enjoy the most. Unless you’re training and dieting for a bodybuilding tournament, there’s no reason for you not to include something, that you like into your diet.
But, the disadvantage is people may choose a meal that will kick their calories over the amount they’re suppose to consume and have their macros off of whack. The best way to benefit from a cheat meal, is to make sure it’s included into your overall diet. This way, you are still on track and can enjoy the cheat meal and still lose weight.
Remember, losing body fat or weight, is calories in vs. calories out. If you still consume below your maintenance calories, at about 500 to 1000 calories, then you will lose weight no matter what.
Another disadvantage of cheat meals, is that people assume that they can include this cheat meal, every single day. Yes, this could be true but you wouldn’t want to be eating a cheese burger, every single day, when you’re on a diet. Regardless of if it fits your macros and calorie deficit, imagine the continuous consumption of these bad fats, will not go too well with your saturated fat and trans fat intake, for the day. Not only that, but some people may start off with just the one cheese burger, and then crave the fries along with the soda, then this moves onto about 2 cheat meals a day or more cheat meals than they should have. When they’ve done this and realize they are definitely not keeping to their diet anymore, they become discouraged and just cease to follow the diet all together. Best suggestion is if this happens, is to jump right back on the diet wagon.
A cheat meal should be consumed, at least once a week. You can include it every now and then but the key is to not be too consistent with this. Maybe reward yourself with the meal, after you’ve realized you’ve had a good week. Or, plan ahead and make sure to consume very clean for the whole week and then indulge in that meal.
Next time, I will talk about a cheat day. Although I don’t really encourage a cheat day, it’s something one can do and still keep below their calorie intake. You may not be able to meet your macros, but it’s a good way to relax and enjoy a diet, while still being on track.Read More »