To cheat or not to cheat is the question… Now I’m not giving you free reign to go out and play up on your spouse or partner, rather when and how to cheat on your diet plan. There are benefits both mentally and physiologically for having a “cheat meal” or a refeed.
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Generally speaking, a cheat meal is when you “cheat” on your diet plan with unmeasured (or can be measured, but not often) and unrestricted food types for one meal sitting. On the other hand, a refeed, has less negative connotations and simply means to “refeed” your body with a surplus of calories after being in a deficit for a period of time. Refeeding can be measured or unmeasured depending on who is instructing and is usually confined to “healthy choices” or a certain style of eating e.g. Vegetarian, Paleo etc.
From the coach’s mouth
After learning the hard way with coaching, now I’m crystal clear with my definitions and instructions all the time! Leaving things open for interpretation, can only lead to being shot in the foot! Once a client was struggling with sugar cravings after dinner, and I said to her to have desiccated coconut and raspberries. Not being clear with giving her a set measured amount, she ended up eating about 250g or dedicated coconut and a whole punnet of raspberries drowned in stevia! Not ideal! When she was putting on half a kilogram week on week, I started to ask questions and realise, not dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s can leave the door ajar for following, but not understanding.
I’m not going to lie, from a physiological, scientific standpoint, a refeed is going to be favourable for health outcomes, especially if you’re not going to overdo the quantities. However, we’re humans with social lives and sometimes we just feel like that ice cream or piece of cheese, even though we know dairy might not agree with our digestion.
If abstaining from certain foods is going to make you unhappy in the long run and less likely to stick to an eating plan, then I always invite you to cheat rather than refeed. The best diet plan is the one you follow! No point having the best diet constructed if you can’t stick to it!
Getting that reprieve to have that glass of wine or slice of pizza can actually be of benefit to keeping you on the plan and sticking with your healthy lifestyle. So, drink wine and eat pizza to be healthy!
I know there are coaches, nutritionists and people that will have opposing views on this and say you can’t be half way Paleo or whatever nutritional philosophy you have subscribed to. I call BULLSHIT on this one! Unless you’re a reclusive robot, then there will always be a point where you deviate from the plan and enjoy yourself. The trick is to know how to allow for this and have a plan.
When I’m coaching someone on an eating plan, most of the time I’m calling it a lifestyle because the notion of a diet means that you’re going without and eventually going to come off the diet when the goal or target is met. Teaching it as a “lifestyle” will help you understand that eating healthy is a lifestyle choice that MUST be thought of with a long-term approach. There is no end point; health is for life and that is why having a strategy on how to still have your cake and eat it too is key for success.
Sure, there are times when we might have a specific goal or target that will require a “restrictive diet” approach. However, a longer-term approach with health being a priority is going to serve you better, rather that yo-yoing back and forth.
To get the 8 juicy tips on how and when to cheat on your diet (“lifestyle”) successfully, submit your email below! After submitting email please wait for page to load with attachment.
Don’t be a food stickler. Be healthy, work hard and make sure you live a little with a clean cheat 😉
P.s. If you would like to follow a basic set of nutritional principles that will earn you the right to a “cheat meal”, then click here for my Nutritional Blueprint eBook.