Are Cheat Meals Okay?

I get asked this question quite often. “can I still eat this” or “can I still eat that”.  This is something that a lot of people struggle with including myself when I first started P90X. As some of you know I didnt go “all out” my first 140 days of P90X. I would still eat pizza with that fam and have a desert item 2-3 times per week. I figured that since I was working out, that I deserved it. Well I also wasnt getting the results that I wanted…

So are cheat meals okay?

That depends on what your goals are. In any case, I would highly recommend that during your first round of any fitness program like P90X or Insanity, that you completely avoid cheat meals in order to first develop a habit of healthy eating. Once healthy eating becomes a lifestyle rather than something done for a short period of time, then its up to you whether or not you feel you can have an occasional cheat meal without detracting your healthy eating habits or deterring your fitness progress.  Even if you decide that a cheat meal is deserved, only allow yourself a SINGLE cheat meal every 7-10 days. The reason for a 7-10 day period between cheat meals is to ensure that you dont fall into old habits. There is a bible verse that says “He who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall”. Basically, anyone is capable of falling off the wagon no matter how impossible you think that might be, or how strong you think you are.

What counts as a cheat meal?

For me, the definition of a cheat meal is something that I know would not fit into the P90X nutrition plan. It is something that you KNOW is not good for you. It could be something you would have normally eaten before you started working out and gettin all concerned with that health thing…For me, my cheat meal would probably have to be plain old high calorie, gut bustin, nasty delicious, greasy food; burgers, fries, pizza, pie, cake…should I keep going, lol?

How to cheat smart!

For me personally, from my commitment to clean eating for so long, I have learned to look forward to healthier choices for “cheat meals”. I use that term loosely in this context since my cheat meals would be considered a healthy choice to the average person. I now consider things like fruit, fat free sugar free jello, and of course my Shakeology as my cheat meals.  One of the greatest things about Shakeology is that it totally feels like I am having some amazing desert when in fact, its the healthiest meal of my day! You can train your tastes to enjoy tons of healthy foods as your treats. On the other hand if you do want a REAL cheat meal, make sure you control your portion sizes. This is where most people fail. You decide “you know what, I deserve this”, and you end up over doing it and stuffing yourself to the rafters with a giant meat lovers pizza rather than having just a few pieces. This is also a great way to make sure you stay in control! You can choose to have your cheat meal, but you can also CHOOSE how much.

So to some it all up, the cheat meal is up to you. This answer might surprise some of coming from me. I personally dont allow myself any cheat meals by any definition and that is because I know that if I did try and eat JUST two pieces of pizza…I would be back for a third and a fourth. Like I was saying earlier, my “cheat meals” are healthier choices. Thats just me though! You could be totally different. You have to decide that for yourself and make sure that cheat meal doesnt MESS WITH YOUR SUCCESS!

So do you have cheat meals or are you totally against it? What is a cheat meal to you?

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6 comments
JWalker1527
JWalker1527

How bout a drink every now and then?? I'm very good at not cheating with food but I do enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then with friends. Would a couple drinks every 2-3 weeks be too bad??

BrianWalpole
BrianWalpole

Cheat meals can mean many different things to different people and their appropriateness should be considered by fitness professionals relative to each client. Facts about cheat meals are banded around without hesitation by many without any consideration to individual situations. Many talk about them as if they are essential to progression, some plan and schedule them into a plan. Essentially it comes down to the person’s relationship with food, their tendencies to binge or overindulge, their ability to resist poor quality foods and their emotional attachment to that meal. Food is often a control mechanism for many in a world that is very hard to have any control over. We all have different relationships with food, and imposing your will on those with emotional frailties is irresponsible and often damaging. Food is not just an energy source, it is much more to our social being and should be treated as so. For more on this please visit my blog http://lovefitnesseducation.com/2013/04/04/cheat-meal-cheat-day-or-cheat-weekend/

livng2tell
livng2tell

Glad I found this article after posting my thoughts on "cheat meals" in your "Negative People" article.http://rippedclub.net/motivation/negative-people/

 

I think the pitfall some people have (and that I've struggled with) is that one cheat meal a week, can lead to two cheat meals (the thought: "One more won't be so bad").  You then find yourself justifying eating out on the weekends for lunch/dinner (as I do) and every now and then during the week for lunch.  It is very easy to lose focus, but it is important to recognize that you've done this and how you can get back on track.

 

When I am on a program to work out, I tend to cut back on "cheats", because I generally don't feel as good, physically, especially while I am working out.  Example: one day I had Vietnamese food for lunch, simple grilled chicken over a bed jasmine rice.  I wouldn't consider this cheating, but may not be part of the nutrition plan.  I also had a fried spring roll as an appetizer (definite cheat).  When I worked out that night, all I kept burping and tasting was that greasy fried spring roll (not the chicken or rice) and it hindered my performance.  I kept thinking, I should've skipped the spring roll, so I didn't feel like this.  When you are use to eating junk food like burgers, fries, pizza, fried spring rolls (still so YUMMY!) and then sit or lay down the rest of the night watching TV, it is easier than when you are working hard to get fit; the mentality is definitely different.

 

I realize that by eating stuff like that, I am keeping myself from seeing significant results, but I am still working on it.

Spencer
Spencer

I have been without a cheat meal for about 2-3 months and am basically at my goal in fat level. Is only one glazed donut ok to have?

James Garr
James Garr

I do have some cheat meals, but I try to keep it reasonable, and never do it during a round of P90x or Asylum. I always wait until I finish around, and then take a week to rest up and cheat a little. I find that I don't binge on sweets and other unhealthy food anymore, and more often than not eat clean anyway because I've formed good habits and like the way it makes me feel.

Coach Todd
Coach Todd

Hey Spencer! I would say you earned it, but its still up to you! Like I said in my post - i went without until i reached my goal and i still dont like having them, lol. but thats me.