The word planned is key to this post as the circumstances change slightly if the cheat meal is un-planned.
Everyone has a cheat meal once in a while but that doesn’t mean that it needs to hurt your results. There are many ways to limit the impact of a cheat meal or even eliminate it all together. Through a combination of a few tricks it is possible to make that cheat meal not even matter at the end the day.
Here’s what I suggest and what I personally do if I know I'll be going out for a special occasion or indulging in something that’s not on the healthy foods list.
1) Depending on how big the cheat is you - exercise harder and longer the day of, before, or after the cheat meal. If you want to ( and I suggest this ) don’t just do one, but do two of those options to significantly compensate for that meal. Another similar option is to work out 1-2 more times that week than you normally would.
2) Change what you eat the day of, before, or after the cheat meal. Once again, depending on the size of the cheat meal you will want to just do one or a combination of the 3 ( a piece of cake would call for a one day change where as a plate of fettuccini alfredo and breadsticks from olive garden would call for 2 days ). Consciously eat lighter on these days. Try to keep an eye on what you eat and eat mainly vegetables and lean protein. This will be both very filling and very low in calories and will reward you when you step on the scale at the end of the week.
With these two tips I have successfully been able to enjoy my favorite foods from time to time and maintain or even lose weight at the end of the week.
My most recent cheat as a reference of what to do- My birthday was March 4 and I knew I was going to be allowing myself to enjoy some food. Since I am already in a substantial caloric deficit for the week, as I am trying to again lose a little weight, I felt it was only necessary to do a small 2 day compensation. I ate my normal breakfast and went to work out about an hour before I started eating my lunchtime cheat meal.
(I worked out on a Sunday which I usually do not) I did high intensity cardio to make my body really need nutrients so when I ate sushi (my cheat meal) 20 minutes after my workout, my body was able to utilize the fast acting carbs instead of getting stored as fat.
3 hours later I had a piece of chicken. About 2 hours after that I ate my cake ( this was the first piece of cake I had had since my previous birthday. ) I ate easily 10 oz of vanilla cake with butter cream frosting and vanilla mousse in the middle ( most likely 800-1000 calories).
Then for the rest of the night I ate only lean protein. The next day my abs were gone and I was bloated from the carbs. I ate 350 calories less than I normally would have ( from carbs ) and that’s the only change I made for day 2. I stepped on the scale 2 days later and I lost over 1 pound that week.
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what to do. Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.
Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him. He lists general guidelines and suggestions only. He is NOT a professional.