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The beauty of cheat meals

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Cheat Meal. PHOTO: www.muscleandfitness.com

PHOTO: www.muscleandfitness.com

Although many nutritionists and dietitians don’t seem to like the word “cheat,” a well-designed and well-executed cheat meal might very well save your sanity. It might even help you overcome a weight-loss plateau.

If you are anything like me, your cheat meals are the highlight of your week. I break out in a happy dance when Sunday comes. I usually have a cheat meal for lunch every Sunday, once I have had whichever meal I desire and the feeling of satisfaction sets in, all is well with the world again. Cheat meals will neither prevent you from getting ripped nor losing fat! In fact, most weight loss experts have advocated what’s known as the 90%-10% rule. I am 100% sold on this idea.

The 90/10 rule means that 90% of the time you should eat according to your specific goal-based nutrition plan, and 10% of time you can indulge in something that is not on the diet. If you consume cheat meals this way, you won’t derail your fat loss or fitness goals. As long as you are following 90 percent of your diet plan, you can include 1-2 cheat meals per week to stay sane.

A cheat meal is exactly that: a meal. A cheat meal does not constitute a whole day of cheating. Cheat meals are meant to satisfy your taste buds, not to fill your belly at some all-you-can-eat buffet. The simplest way to cheat is the single-cheat meal strategy. Once a week, plan a meal you love and crave. Eat reasonably, and don’t go back for seconds. A single cheat meal is practical and easy for anyone with focus and self-control.

If you follow the 90/10 rule, then the 10 percent spent cheating will never derail you from losing fat and getting ripped. However, while indulging here are some things to look out for;

Don’t cheat too frequently.
Having a nightly binge on suya or sharwama doesn’t necessarily qualify as a cheat meal so much as a bad habit. Although cheat meals can be beneficial, make sure they are just once a week or 2-3 times a month depending on you. The frequency of splurges can change depending on where you are in relation to your goal. Someone closer to their maintenance weight may be able to splurge more often than someone just starting a diet.

Plan around special occasions:
Sunday is family day for me, the temptation to cheat is very high hence why I chose Sunday afternoon for my cheats. You can plan your cheats around a wedding or birthday you are attending where you know it would be difficult watch what you eat. The high levels of excitement are often matched by high-calorie food and drinks. For this reason, I advise individuals to plan cheat meals during special events. For example, if you find yourself at a wedding, it’s OK to allow yourself to eat whatever is being served. However, limit yourself to one plate rather than adopting an all-you-can-eat mind set. It is all about allowing some freedom without going overboard.

If possible, cheat on a big training day:
Make an attempt to prelude a cheat meal with a big workout. “If you’re going to cheat, go for it and go big. The only recommendation I make is that you do it on a big training day. After your workout I suggest a meal that is high in protein, but no limit on carbs. After that, there are no rules,”

Don’t succumb to guilt: Once you slip up and overindulge, it’s easy to completely fall off the wagon. However, one little hiccup isn’t indicative of failure. Pick yourself up and continue.


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Bunmi GeorgeCheat meals
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