TGIF!! To Cheat or NOT to Cheat?
Cheat meals are a nice way to keep your sanity and that is about it. The theory behind a cheat meal a week is to keep your metabolism from dropping due to consuming low calories all week. Well that one meal isn’t going to change a thing in that regard. It may not do a lot of harm either so what’s the concern?
The thing is that most people who have a cheat meal do one of two things. They either eat an insanely massive dirty meal or they have a cheat day. When you do this, you will generally have a negative effect, but if it is a clean(ish) meal that is off your diet you should be ok. The cheat meal is exactly that, a cheat, and why are you cheating? To reward yourself for sticking to your healthy diet? Hmmmmmmmmmm Good thing we don’t look at marriage this way isn’t it. Guess what, we shouldn’t look at our diet this way either. That one cheat can ruin everything you accomplished over the last week, is it worth it? Not as far as I am concerned. Saying that…
People often assume that I have a will of steel when it comes to watching what I eat. In order for me to maintain low body fat levels throughout the year, my diet is somewhat strict as a rule; HOWEVER, I am not an angel. From time to time, I have to cheat on my diet, either for my sanity or because I can’t say no to the occasional dinner out. Ok, you got me, I don’t HAVE to cheat, I CHOOSE to, but I do it as safely as possible. When it becomes a choice & not a privilege you certainly gain more control of yourself don’t you think?
However here are MY little secrets for cheating and getting away with it (for the most part). Ideally you will not need this information, hmmmmmm, but it will at least help reduce the risk of falling too far off track if you “must” cheat.
Tips from Diet Diva REVEALED: The first part, and most difficult is to get your metabolism fired up. You will need to be eating at least 6 small healthy meals a day for a month or two, ideally with no cheat meals for that period of time. This will get your body accustom to processing your food in an efficient scheduled manner. Once your body stops storing calories as fat from meal to meal and starts using them as energy and muscle repair, you are on your way to becoming a human furnace that burns through calories.
You need to train with weights at least 3 times a week, this will ensure you maintain and or build muscle while restricting calories. Basically, you require calories for your bodily functions and to feed your working muscles. The more muscle you have the more calories your body will burn, even when you sleep. For every pound of muscle you gain you require up to 100 additional calories a day to maintain.
Now, let’s assume you have been resistance training 3 days a week and have been eating 6 small meals a day for the last couple months. You have been losing fat and have gained a few new pounds of muscle. You have now elevated your metabolism about as far as you are going to on your own. It’s time to take it to the next level; here is where you look to supplements. By adding a fat burning supplement, you can kick your metabolic rate even higher. Choosing a fat burning supplement that addresses many areas such as thermogenisis, elevating thyroid output, shutting down fat receptors and increasing insulin sensitivity is the best approach. And yes I have my recommendations on the ones that are safe, don’t stress out your adrenal glands or make you jittery.
Okay, so now you are dropping body fat even faster and maintaining your lean body mass. At this stage, you usually feel your bodytemperature rise shortly after eating as your internal furnace burns through the calories. You are now ready to approach cheating and get away with it, but we need a couple more tools first. I have great faith in the new Fat Blockers, Insulin Mimickers and Carbohydrate Inhibitors on the market. Trust me on that one, I study it all; remember I am a vitamin addict & well Aka Narcissistic Nutritionist! Her Trade Secret: My personal combat for all my meals to keep insulin managed & not spiked is ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar 500mg caps) I take 1-2 prior to eating. With the aid of these supplements, you can block up to 20 grams of fat, 500 grams of starch and shuttle the sugars into your muscles or burn them as energy more effectively. Taking these supplements 15-60 minutes before your OCCASIONAL dirty meal will help you get away with diet murder and ease the conscience.
This is the “meat and potatoes” of it; however, there are a few more little rules to follow. Make sure you eat your regularly scheduled meals before and after your cheat meal. Don’t try to starve all day thinking you can use the calories when you cheat later in the day. This will only make you store the calories more readily. Also, don’t fast for the rest of the day because of the extra calories you just consumed. Continue to eat every 3 hours after your cheat meal, but you might want to cut these meals down a little, especially if you are not that hungry. The main thing is we want to keep your body in a fat burning zone by eating every 2.5 to 3 hours, going any longer will just cause you to store calories.
**Diet Diva Tip: Another way to ensure your cheat meal has the least impact on you is to work out before your cheat meal. I suggest always a bigger muscle group such as legs or back training. After you work out with weights, your metabolic rate is very high, this will help you burn through the excess calories that you consume.
These rules if followed should help you cheat as safely as possible, however everyone is different. People that are really lean are going to be able to get away with more than someone with a higher body fat level. Obviously, if you have been able to get your body fat levels really low your metabolism is fast, if you are having a hard time getting your body fat levels lower than your metabolism still isn’t up to par so be careful.
At the end of the day, the best way to stay on track and not let a cheat meal affect your diet or progress is to not have that cheat meal. Sometimes one cheat meal leads to another and another until you are no longer eating the way you should. For most people one cheat meal a week is fine, for others maybe more or less.
I hope this helps you and by the way try not to feel guilty after your cheat meal. Make up your mind before you eat and justify it then, if you can live with possible negative outcome then dig in and enjoy. If not, then don’t have it and regret it for days after, it’s not worth it.
To summarize the smart way to cheat on your diet:
- Get your metabolism fired up by eating 6 or more small meals a day every 2-3 hours
- Start taking a fat burner on a regular basis to increase your metabolism even further
- One and a half hours prior to your cheat meal workout with weights to jack up your metabolism. A one hour workout should leave you with a half hour before you eat.
- Thirty minutes before your cheat meal you will take your Fat Blocker and your Fat Burner of choice.
- 20-25 minutes prior to your cheat meal take your Carbohydrate Inhibitor and Insulin Mimicker, don’t forget the ACV as well.
- 2 – 3 hours later eat a small meal and you are back on track
- **Bonus Tip: IF you take ACV a minimum of 500-1000mg caps prior to bedtime this will guarantee to keep your insulin levels minimal, this is the key to all weight management.