Cheat meals are stupid.
When most people use the term “cheat meal,” they mean an off-plan, calorie-dense, hyper-palatable meal.
And when most people have these “cheat meals,” they just have them on top of their regular diet.
For example, let’s you’re trying to lose body fat, and you need to eat 2,000 calories per day to maintain a 350 calorie per day deficit.
So the day of your cheat meal, you eat your regular diet, then you have a 2,500 calorie cheat meal.
If we break this down into your weekly calorie balance, that 2,500 calorie cheat meal undid your calorie deficit, but it put you into a calorie surplus
Calorie deficit: 350 per day X 7 days - 2,450.
2,500 calorie cheat meal - 2,450 calorie deficit = +50 calories.
Does this mean you should never enjoy off-plan, calorie-dense, hyper-palatable meals?
Nope, you absolutely can.
The key is to simply not cheat.
Budget your calories!
Here’s the strategy my clients and I use to enjoy weekly “cheat meals” without the cheating.
I call it protein fasting.
Take your regular “on-plan” diet.
Consume ONLY the protein sources and veggies in each of your regular meals.
Leave out the carb and fat sources.
This way, you’re consuming 80-100% of your total daily protein.
And you are budgeting your carbs and fats.
So when you go and have that 2,500 calories “cheat meal.”
It’s not cheating.
And here’s another hack to add to the strategy.
Let’s say you’ll eat your cheat meal at 5 pm.
Have your last protein and veggie-only meal at 4:30 pm.
It will fill you up just enough to be less likely to go super overboard with your off-plan meal.
So that off-plan meal is now 1,500 calories instead of 2,500.
And if you banked 1,000-1,500 calories before the off-plan meal
Now you’re either only going over your total weekly calorie budget by 500, or maybe even not at all.
Amazing what a little bit of strategy can do.