A cheat meal is commonly known as a single meal that does not line up with your normal healthy diet.
BUT....this could mean different things to a lot of people.
-Some may have a moderate sized cheat such as a burger and fries, or a few slices of pizza, or a single bowl of pasta or chow mein.
-Some do it big and hit the Chinese buffet which results in a ginormous and long winded helping of countless calories.
-And some just do it to simply satisfy a craving for that one thing whether it's a Snickers bar or a cone of ice cream.
Is a cheat meal required?
Most of the articles I have read, state that a high percentage are all for cheat meals.
A single cheat meal once a week could aid in weight loss by "shocking" your metabolism. Giving you a little insulin spike so your weight loss does not plateau.
Mark Sisson also mentions that it may be required to regulate leptin levels.
Reading numerous articles during my research, I've only found a couple of sources that are against it.
1) If you have quite a bit of weight to lose, then a cheat meal could hinder your progress. If done weekly, it could easily hinder your progress as those bad habits may resurface and get you off track.
2) If you're already eating good and healthy food which satisfies your taste buds, then a cheat meal is not required.
So what does one do?
I'm not an expert so I can only state what has worked, and what is currently working, for me.
While living a paleo lifestyle, I prepare flavorful foods for myself. For the most part, I don't often feel the need for a cheat meal. And by the time I'm ready to have a cheat meal, the craving has either diminished, or I rethink eating it and change my mind.
Honestly, my cheat meals are pretty darn healthy. Like I might go crazy on a huge bowl of fruit. (But I've noticed that too much fruit actually gives me a headache due to the large amount of sugar consumed in a single sitting.)
Or I might have a plate of Chinese food. But even so, I am so used to eating a lot of veggies that I still load up on a ton of veggies during that cheat.
Here's an example of a cheat meal I had this past Saturday.
Trader Joe's sells these frozen breaded chunks of chicken.
I had 2 of those, covered in spaghetti sauce and a large helping of string beans and asparagus sauteed in coconut oil.
I have not measured my body fat composition, but I have shed quite a bit of fat and built some lean muscle. I personally feel like I still have a ways to go, mainly in my mid section.
YEP, you got it, the dreaded abs. Even my love handles have reduced in size, but they are still noticeable. Just keepin' it real here.
There are many different programs out there and you really just have to find out what works best for your body and lifestyle. Eating bland food all the time is a sure fire way to go hog wild on a cheat meal.
How do cheat meals work for you?
What diet/healthy eating lifestyle are you most happy with ?