January 16, 2020 2 min read

Even the most disciplined dieters have the urge to binge on some of their favorite foods, but when pursuing a healthy and more fit body, is a cheat meal actually worth it?

When it comes to long term success in healthy lifestyle change, adherence and sustainability are the two biggest factors you should take into consideration.  However, no one is ever perfect … and that’s okay! Cheat meals can actually be a very valuable tool in your fitness journey. Whether it's a major life event, holiday, or a much-needed date night … we all need to take some time to enjoy some good food and drink every now and then.

Like we covered earlier, sustainability and adherence are key. Allowing yourself to have some of your favorite foods can help keep you sane in the dieting process. It may make it a little easier to stay on track when you know you’ll be sitting down at your favorite restaurant in just a couple short days. By working a cheat meal in your plan, you increase your ability to stick to the plan the other 90+ percent of the time.

A cheat meal doesn’t just increase adherence to a plan ... it can also increase the effectiveness of your diet! Cheat meals have actually been proven to keep your metabolism higher, and help to combat the natural decrease in metabolism that comes with being on a diet for a long period of time. The boost in calories for one meal can actually tell your body that it needs to start burning through more of those calories, making all that hard work even more worthwhile.

Now, don’t just go try to set a personal record on calories with this new-found knowledge … take it easy.  Here are some simple rules that can help with your much-awaited cheat day.

Pro Tips:

  • Plan ahead! Pick a day, a weekend, special event, a family get together, etc. Put it on the calendar ahead of time and stick to that date.
  • Have some self-control in the meals leading up to the big meal, for the most part follow a normal healthy eating schedule before the throw down!
  • Still make sure to hit your Protein requirement the meal, and for that day as a whole.
  • Drink plenty of Water! This will not only help with processing the surplus of calories, it will also help with the post cheat meal bloat (Probiotics/Digestive enzymes help as well!) 

Throwing in a cheat meal will not derail all of your hard work, it can be a huge benefit physically and psychologically!  Now … pick out a date on the calendar to go hit up your favorite dinner spot!

*This post was written by John Taylor. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.