The featured image is courtesy of muscleandfitness.com
As discussed in Calories versus Carbs: Fat Loss PART 1 and Calories versus Carbs: fat loss PART 2, realistically if you are going to shed excess fat you will probably live in a calorie deficit whilst restricting or completely avoiding some carbohydrates, specifically sugars and those with a high glycaemic index/load. Doing this is easier said than done and some people find that they feel hungry or stop making progress due to a slowing metabolism. However, one strategy commonly used to stay on track and boost metabolism is a cheat meal.
What is a cheat meal?
A cheat meal is a meal consisting of foods you are restricting from your normal diet. Normally rich in carbohdrates (especially those with a high glycaemic index/load) and fats (especially trans fats – see my next post on Friday)
Why do it?
- Spikes metabolism
- Psychologically helps some people stick to their new healthy lifestyle by giving themselves a cheat meal as a ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ at the end of a week or two weeks of making healthier food choices.
Why you shouldn’t?
- It moralises food. You feel guilty for eating certain foods. You might even say to yourself ‘if I starve myself’ or ‘if I eat a healthy dinner’ then ‘I deserve to have pizza/ice cream/fast food/etc’ OR you eat the pizza and then feel you need to do extra exercise or starve yourself the next day. You are forming unhealthy relationships with food.
- People often binge as a result. One cheat meal ends up turning into a cheat weekend and you wake up Sunday morning in a bathtub filled with KFC.
- It undermines your healthy choices. Especially as it is called a ‘CHEAT’ meal. ‘I don’t really like my diet so I am going to cheat on it once a week’.
I am not saying you should or should not have cheat meals. If you have the self-control, can ensure it is just the one cheat meal a week or every other week, and it doesn’t take over your whole weekend, and it helps you stick to healthier choices the rest of the time then great, do it. If you know your that person that once they have a cheat meal they have opened the flood gates then may be you should look into a ‘re-feed’ instead. A re-feed has the same principle as a cheat meal – to eat surplus calories and boost metabolism, however, it is done by eating healthier foods.