I am definitely a BIG proponent of clean eating and nutritional discipline.
But don’t get me wrong, CoachWoot has cheat meals TOO!!!
Why? Because I NEED them!!!
Here are 3 reasons why you need cheat meals:
- Cheat meals keep you sane.
- Cheat meals keep your body guessing.
- Cheat meals help you keep your nutritional discipline.
Keeping You Sane
Psychologically, a cheat meal gives relief. Always counting calories, balancing macronutrient profiles and finding healthy alternatives can be stressful. Over the years, I have developed a card system to make things easier. Writing out ALL the healthy foods the family likes to eat, creating meals from those foods, putting the meals on index cards and then shopping, cooking and eating from those cards. Still it is work and having a cheat meal relieves that pressure momentarily.
Keeping Your Body Guessing
Physiologically, a cheat meal keeps your body adjusting to what you are doing. Our bodies are fascinating machines. They quickly adapt to what we are doing and adjust accordingly to make it easier to function. Sometimes, those adjustments are NOT what we want. Keeping the body on it’s “toes” makes sure we don’t get stuck in a rut or a plateau.
Keeping Your Nutritional Discipline
Being disciplined nutritionally is NOT easy. It is work, hard work. So we want to make it as easy for us as possible. Besides, 100% nutritional discipline is NOT required for optimal results. The difference between 90% adherence to my diet and 100% adherence is negligible.
Scheduling Cheat Meals
Who doesn’t look forward to a scheduled vacation or some upcoming big event. That is exactly what we need to do with our cheat meals, schedule them! It will be the “event” that you look forward to, your motivation, your prize, it is what will make all week worth it, AND, it makes it a little easier because there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Cheat Meals In Practice
As mentioned above, 100% adherence is NOT needed, 90% adherence still gives great results. 90% of what? Well, if we are eating 5 meals a day (following the guidelines on the Diet and Meals pages) 7 days a week, that is 35 meals per week. 90% of 35 would be about 3 meals. So, during the week, we could have a total of 3 meals that aren’t perfect. Now that doesn’t give us a “license to kill” our diet! But, it does allow for us to have a second helping of something we like OR a small “goodie” that we wouldn’t normally eat. It does NOT mean skipping a meal. NEVER skip a meal.
Many go from an undisciplined diet to a very strict diet for a few weeks and then fall off the wagon. It is not impossible to be disciplined in your nutrition. But it isn’t exactly easy either. Having a cheat meal makes the rest of the meals easier, keeps you from going crazy and keeps you from plateauing.A cheat meal is NEEDED, so reward yourself, you deserve it!!!