Cheating. What comes to mind when you think of that word? Perhaps fraud, deceitful, misleading, or dishonesty? I can go on and on but the type of cheating I am referring to is in the health context. In the health context, I believe this word represents satisfaction and quenching of happiness after staying committed to eating healthy for a period of time. Especially when you have spent time prepping your meals, following a strict diet, and committed to giving up all the bad foods consistently. Cheating, more specifically a cheat meal, represents hope. Hopefully (no pun intended), by the time you finish reading this post you can see “cheating” in a more positive way when it comes to your diet.
So how can you have cheat correctly? Well I don’t know if there is an exact science or art to cheat correctly but there is a difference between cheating and continuously making a bad habit. Below is my take and opinion on how you can successfully cheat and not feel guilty about it.
First, it all comes down to your fitness and health goals. What someone might consider as a cheat meal someone else might consider as a bad eating habit. For example, someone might see a slice a pizza as a cheat meal while someone else might consider that strictly as an ordinary meal. This ultimately comes down to what you consider as “healthy.” Until you determine this there is going to be a ton of gray area. My suggestion is create boundaries for yourself so you know what they are.
Secondly, cheating is not cheating if it’s done everyday. This is a bad eating habit. There is a very fine line between the two. A good example is choosing to have a piece of candy everyday. It seems like it’s a harmless way of cheating however I would consider this as a bad habit. The reason is because you haven’t given up the habit of consuming your daily candy. In my opinion, for anything to be considered a cheat meal, it must be done infrequently. This leads to the next point in how I believe you can cheat correctly.
3. So you might be wondering how often should you cheat? Should you cheat daily, weekly, or should you go longer until you have a cheat meal? Personally, I am not in favor of cheating everyday. Again as I mentioned this before, if you are cheating daily I would regard this as a bad eating habit and wouldn’t consider it to be a cheat meal. Instead, its rationalizing something seem healthier than what it really is and eating it frequently. Personally, I strive to have a cheat meal every 5-7 days. When I go longer stretches of not having a cheat meal I participate in a Faturday. I have found this cheat meal or Faturday acts as a restart button for my brain. Its a way of mentally getting refreshed.
4. Identify what your cheat meal or Faturday foods will consist of when you do cheat. This is important because not everyone cheats the same. Someone might be craving sweets while someone else will crave and cheat for the most calorie packed double bacon cheeseburger known to mankind. This is where your personal palette comes into play. If you have this in mind if will make you feel less guilty and make you feel less like my friend, Fat Bastard (shown above) after a cheat meal. Plus, it will help avoid binge eating and overeating if you map out what your cheat meals will be.
5. Not all cheating is the same. Cheat meals can mean eating junk food for the day, or it can be splurging on more food, or perhaps its both. I strongly advise picking between either eating the junk food or eating more food but definitely not both. After all a cheat meal isn’t suppose to take you back to square one.
Remember, a cheat meal acts as a reward for the sacrifice of giving up a bad eating habit. So don’t throw away all the hard work you have put in because you couldn’t cheat correctly. I would love to hear your opinion on how often you incorporate cheat meals or Faturdays? Or simply share your favorite cheat meal.