Does this sound familiar?
You eat super strict during the week. The weekend rolls around and your food cravings are INTENSE. Burgers, pizza, chocolate, ice-cream, alcohol…you want ALL THE FOODS.
You decide to have your cheat meal on Saturday…only it isn’t a cheat meal…it is an all out feast that turns into a cheat day. How many calories did you consume? You have no idea…maybe 1000? Maybe 10000? Then you wonder why you aren’t progressing…
This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. I see it all the time with people emailing me because they are frustrated with their lack of results and with my clients prior to getting started with me. In fact, I made this mistake myself.
While preparing for my first fitness competition a few years ago, I followed the usual advice (this was well before I was qualified and educated). I ate an extremely restrictive diet (1200 calories) during the week with a planned cheat meal on Friday night. These cheat meals weren’t too bad at the start, a burger and some chips and a little bit of healthy dessert. But that didn’t last long. As I got deeper into my competition preparation, I got hungrier, the cravings got worse and I was easily putting away a whole large pizza PLUS a massive serving of ice cream with all the toppings (easily 5000 calories). It was an absolute free for all. It became how much food I could eat in a 2-hour window. I ate until I made myself feel sick and I felt like my stomach was going to explode. Meanwhile, I was making NO progress. My weight didn’t change, my measurements were the same and I couldn’t see any visual progress. I didn’t understand why, because I was following the plan I was told to follow.
Luckily, I took the time to educate myself and I was able to step on stage and look competitive. And it all came down to cutting out my cheat meals.
You see, if your goal is to lose weight/fat then you must be in a CALORIE DEFICIT for the week. That means you must eat less food than you burn for that period. If you are having a cheat meal that is untracked chances are that you will be blowing out this deficit and ruining your progress as a result, just like I did.
Unfortunately, this type of “binge-eating” is caused by overly restrictive diets that are unsustainable and label foods as “good” or “bad”. This is perpetuated by the phrase “cheat meal”. This insinuates that you are cheating on your diet and that you are doing the wrong thing by eating these foods.
Luckily there is a better way! Once you understand the nutritional content of food you realise that there are no good or bad foods – just ones that are more or less calorie dense, and as such are more or less appropriate choices for your goals. Then it’s just about fitting these foods into your daily diet to eliminate cravings and the need for a “cheat meal”.
So how do we go about doing this? Instead of having an untracked “cheat meal”, you can factor in a high calorie day or days. Let’s say your weekly calorie budget to lose fat is 11 500 calories (~1643 calories per day). This could be structured like this:
5 x days at 1500 calories + 2 x days at 2000 calories = 11 500 calories
6 x days at 1500 calories + 1 day at 2500 calories = 11 500 calories
>>Calculate your own calorie budget here
What this does is make your week easier in terms of an appropriate calorie intake where can can enjoy some treats PLUS allows you more calories on the weekends to enjoy a meal out with family/friends while staying on track to achieving your goals.
Eating your favourite foods without affecting your lifestyle or your progress = ?
To find out more about fitting your diet into your lifestyle, check out my Fit & Flexible E-Book which contains EVERYTHING you need to know about transitioning to flexible dieting and GETTING RESULTS!