Starting a diet takes commitment and motivation. There are days when you’ll crave a burger or a slice of pizza. Or even the whole pizza. You might be surprised to discover that you can still lose weight while enjoying a cheat meal.
The trick is to apply a little strategy.
A cheat meal is not the same as a cheat day and it’s not a pass to eat whatever you like.
Fortunately, I can help you discover the right strategy to enjoy your cheat meal.
You don’t need to feel guilty and it can even benefit your weight loss plan!
As a child you’re taught that cheating is bad. You may even have heard that ‘cheats never prosper’. You might think that no one will know if you cheat, but you’ll know and it’s you that it really affects.
But, and this is a good but! If you have a cheat meal every week it can actually boost your metabolism, help you stick to your diet and even prevent loss of motivation.
The trick is to have a strategy for your cheat meal. With a little support, you’ll soon discover this is not just possible but actually pleasant.
The Cheat Meal Strategies That Work
Employ one or all of these strategies and you’ll be looking forward to your cheat meal without thinking that you are ruining all your effort and hard work so far.
Strategy 1 – Have A Plan
Start with a diet plan. I recommend the Fit Father’s 1-day meal plan for inspiration.Then plan your meals for the week and prepare them.
Most importantly, add a cheat meal in when you plan. This will incentivize you to eat properly for the rest of the week, knowing you have a free meal to look forward to.
It is a good idea to choose a weekend evening for your cheat meal, when you are most likely to be out with friends or your loved one.
Reduce your calorie intake during the day. You may even want to try fasting, but this isn’t essential.
Strategy 2 – Earn It!
In order to lose weight, you’ll be eating fewer calories than you need.
However, over time this can cause your leptin levels to drop.
Leptin is a hormone; the more you have of it the hungrier you will feel. A calorie deficit will reduce the level of this hormone; helping you to lose weight.
But, if your levels remain low your body will think it is being starved and your metabolism will start to slow.
This builds your fat stores while reducing the energy available to you.
A cheat meal can cause levels of leptin to leap, helping to keep your metabolism rate high and burning efficiently.
This only applies if you’ve stuck to the meal plan. If not the cheat meal will not help you lose weight.
Strategy 3 – Everything in moderation
The saying says ‘Everything in moderation’. This is very apt when attempting to lose weight.
A cheat meal once a week is fine, a cheat day is not.
To make sure you stick to this, take your plan one step further. Book the cheat meal in your diary; it’s a date!
It’s also a good way of thanking the wife and kids for putting up with your eating habits during the week!
Strategy 4 – Empty Glycogen Stores
Glycogen is sugar ready to be used as energy. Of course you’ll have a finite amount of this as it comes from the food you eat.
If you are low on glycogen this will be replenished by your body before it can store fat.
Reduce or empty your glycogen stores before a cheat meal by completing a strength workout. You could try using our 24-min workout for this.
Strategy 5 – Pick Before You Arrive When Eating Out
Going to a restaurant is fun. Especially if you take your children with you! Their excitement is generally infectious and will certainly keep you on your toes.
Unfortunately the atmosphere and range of choice available can make it easy to order more than you should.
Remember moderation is key.
To avoid this, simply look at the menu online and choose your meal before you go.
You’ll have more time to focus on your children and partner while sticking to an appropriate cheat meal. It’s a win, win!
Strategy 6 – Avoid overeating – meal only
Remember, you’re having a cheat meal, not a feast or an excuse to eat all evening.
Choose a meal which rewards you for sticking to your healthy eating plan throughout the week. There are no restrictions!
This will allow you to choose an enjoyable treat but still benefit your body by providing it with energy for your workouts during the week.
A cheeseburger or pasta dish is a good choice; if you like these dishes.
Strategy 7 – Water With Your Meal
Drinking water is an excellent way of keeping the full sensation and reducing the amount of food you eat; even on a cheat meal.
Water will also help to prevent your metabolism from becoming sluggish and keep your digestive system working smoothly and efficiently.
Have a pitcher on the table to ensure you can drink several glasses before and with your meal.
It can also help to drink a couple more glasses before you go to bed. This will help to eliminate excess salt which is generally found in restaurant meals.
Obviously you shouldn’t do this if you’re going to have trouble sleeping through the night.
Adding lemon or lime wedges can also help, citrus fruits are great antioxidants.
Strategy 8 -Eat Slowly
You are probably aware that it can take your brain twenty minutes to acknowledge that your stomach is full. Consuming water helps to make you full quicker.
Eating slowly can also be beneficial. This doesn’t mean eating in slow motion!
Enjoy each mouthful, pause between them and chat to your fellow diners. The experience will be much better.
You should also consider completing your weekly weigh in before your cheat meal day.
Committing to a healthy eating plan can be hard. We understand that you have a huge range of demands on your time. This is why many people eat convenience foods even when you know they are not the healthiest.
Fortunately, with the help of our free 1-day meal plan and the extensive support you can receive from the Fit Father Project you can choose and prepare the right meals throughout the week.
The weekly cheat meal will help you to stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.
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By Stuart Carter, Your new friend & health coach