If you’ve ever followed a strict diet plan for any length of time, then you know what the ‘cheat meal’ is. That longed for indulgence of forbidden foods and sweet delights. The meal you spend the entire week counting down toward. Or sometimes it’s just a sudden break in your healthy-eating armour. That moment when you just. could. not. hold. out. any. more.
When I think of cheat meals I remember back to the first time I followed a truly strict diet. It was about 7 years ago, and I was a fresh-faced body sculpting competitor. The diet I was following was truly horrible (that’s how I felt at the time, and given how much more I now know about nutrition, I definitely still feel that way). The basic rundown was tuna, broccoli, 20 raw nuts per day, the occasional slice of sweet potato, chicken breasts, plenty of black coffee, and at least a couple of protein shakes. Yum yum.
The one thing that kept me going through it all was Pancake Sunday. That’s right, it’s an official day, and it deserves capitals. Pancake Sunday was the best – I’d head down to the Pancake Parlour with my fellow starvees and we’d set to eating. With the utmost seriousness. It was great.
At the time I looked on it simply as a way to preserve my sanity. But these days I prescribe cheat meals for my clients for reasons that go far beyond the idea of having earned a night off.
Did you know that a smart cheat meal can drastically accelerate your weight loss? It’s true, and what’s even better, it actually requires you to indulge in starchy carbohydrates. Yep, that includes Pancakes!
When you’re eating right for your body every day it pays to mix things up now and then. A carefully planned cheat meal increases your body’s ability to oxidize branch chain amino acids (important for maintaining muscle tissue and keeping food stored in your muscles rather than as fat) causing a metabolic reaction that has you burning fat faster for at least 48 hours afterwards.
Pretty good news, isn’t it?
Before you get all excited and head off for a 24-hour binge, let me be quite clear on the following few points. They’re crucial to your success.
- A cheat meal is a meal, not an evening. Or a day.
- This means that you need to decide in advance what you’re going to eat, put it on the table, and enjoy. But once that booty leaves the chair, it’s over. No heading to the cupboard for sneaky treats (which probably shouldn’t be stored there anyway!) once the food has settled.
- You can’t eat your cheat meal until you’ve consumed 100grams of animal protein. No ifs, no buts.
- If you go too crazy, it’s entirely possible to undo a week of good eating in one night. Be smart about your cheats. Don’t stuff yourself till you can’t move, and always include some form of fats to slow down digestion. Cheese or cream-based pastas are better than tomato-based. Chocolate almonds are better than sugar candies. Ice-cream is better than sorbet.
- Once the meal is over, it’s over! And that’s it for at least 6 more days.
Oh – and it should go without saying that a cheat meal only works if you’ve been eating clean the rest of the week. And I mean completely. The good news is that this definitely does not mean following the broccoli and tuna diet!
And yes – of course Pancake Sunday still features in my eating plan!
Life is Now. Press Play.
PS: To find out exactly what is right for your body and whether your hormones are currently working for or against you, contact me now for your Biosignature assessment.
Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post in the ‘post a comment’ section just below. If you’re reading from RSS or email you’ll have to enter the blog to do this. You can do that by clicking on the title of this piece. ‘Post a comment’ is at the article end, right under the ’share this’ and ‘related posts’ options.
If you haven’t yet subscribed to this feed, what are you waiting for? Do it now. You can choose either email or RSS by clicking here. If you enjoyed this article please forward to your friends. Thank-you!