If you ask any number of health professionals, the majority will tell you that somewhere around 80 percent of the weight you lose will come from your nutritional choices, hence the saying “You can’t out-train bad nutrition.”
This is why nutritional compliance is one of the most important changes if your goal is to get healthier.
Following a better diet is often one of the hardest changes for a person to make. They are so used to eating a certain way that it can be easy to fall off of the wagon.
For many looking to begin this journey, they have no clue where to start and how to progress. Let’s take a quick dive into the progressions we can use to make long-term nutritional changes, and then discuss the proper way to include cheat meals, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
The turtle will likely win this race, in that slow, small changes will increase both short- and long-term compliance. I am not a fan of the word “diet”, as it indicates a temporary change in eating habits. What we are looking for is a long-term healthy change that is easily progressed.
Here are some steps to follow when making the switch to a healthy diet:
Making the change to a healthier diet is especially important when exercising, as it will help provide you with the nutrients you need and regulate your food intake in order to stick to your caloric goals. .
Now we can talk about working in cheat meals into our healthy nutrition plan. In my opinion, there is no need to incorporate cheat meals until many of the above nutritional modifications have been made.
First off, let’s discuss why I am only for cheat meals vs cheat days. It has been my experience that when you give someone a reward or cheat day, they can “go ham” and eat a cool 6,000 calories without issue.
Weekend example: Donuts for breakfast, nachos and beers for lunch, burgers and fries and more beers for dinner, ice cream for dessert. That racks up the calories pretty quickly!
Now let’s say you consume an average of 2,000 calories a day. If you consume 6,000 calories on your cheat day then you have just ate 3 days’ worth of calories in one day. What’s that going to do for your fitness and weight loss goals?
Conversely, if you only cheat on one meal and “go ham,” you maybe eat 1,000 calories. Then, it would still be possible for you to stay around your 2,000 daily caloric total.
In general, this is my advice when implementing cheat meals: Eat whatever you want, but try to stay as close as you can to your daily caloric goals.
A couple other side points of adding in cheat meals that you need to consider before changing your diet: