How many planned cheat meals should you have?
Let’s talk about CHEAT MEALS! A grossly abused meal in the fitness world and a lot of misinformation around them.
How many planned cheat meals should you have? Zero... that’s right zero. I don’t think you should plan for a cheat meal at all. If you tell yourself every Saturday is cheat night for the vast majority of you that’s a bad habit to set. Go as long as you can with out one it might 1, 2, 3 weeks before it happens the longer the better. It will inevitably happen, enjoy it, love it and then move on. You can tell yourself everything under the sun about why you need that weekly cheat meal and the “benefits” from it but at the end of the day that one meal or even day is nothing more then a psychological break from dieting and by telling yourself you need it you are shooting your willpower in the foot. I can understand the psychological need for one and my advice would be on that day manipulate your macros and plan a less nutritionally dense meal/s or a “cheat meal” that still fits in your daily calories and macros so that your energy balance isn’t disrupted.
Now we often talk about diet breaks where the negative adaptations of dieting have taken place and we need to reverse them in order to continue towards the desired result. This is where for a minimum of three days we raise calories to a maintenance level and this has a physical response on the body but by no means is this a cheat day / week. Often people think this is a free for all for that time. This time is tracked just as much as your regular daily macros/calories and should come from highly nutritious foods to get the best result of the diet break.
In summary you don’t need that weekly cheat meal and don’t plan for one. If you do need something make it fit into your macros via flexible dieting and or go as long as you can with out one and you will get a far better result over all.
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