Now that you're creating healthier eating habits and tracking your progress, let's talk about rewarding yourself with cheat meals and cheat days. These planned cheats can actually help you reach your long-term goals and avoid weight-loss plateaus, but moderation is key.
The Rules of the Cheat Day
The idea behind "cheating" is to eat clean and get your physical activity in for the majority of your week, but then you reward yourself and lift the nutritional ban to allow yourself a little indulgence. This keeps you sane and helps control your cravings.
There are different philosophies, such as the 80/20 Rule, that might be right for you. Since you know your own limits better than anyone, you need to decide which cheat strategy works for you and your goals.
Remember, "cheating" is NOT a license to binge eat junk food and totally go off the rails. When planning a cheat meal, carefully consider what option works for you to enjoy it without sacrificing your results.
If you're just starting out, allow yourself a single cheat meal each week. This gives you something to look forward to while you stay focused and earn it.
How to Plan Your Cheat Strategy
- Make your cheat meal something you truly love and plan for it in advance.
- Practice portion control and moderation.
- Don't feel guilty.
- Enjoy your splurges, but don't lose sight of your fitness goals.
- Track the cheat meal with the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Calorie Tracker —available on desktop and for iOS and Android devices — so you can see how it impacts your macros.
- It's a part of your journey — which resumes after your cheat day.
Stay focused, eat clean, track your progress and stay active! Then you can confidently look forward to your cheat meal without sacrificing your long-term results. Think moderation, not deprivation.
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