As I’m on holiday at the moment, I’m taking the easy way out and recycling one of my old newsletters. Enjoy!
Often before I start working with a client, one of their first questions is “but when do I get a cheat meal?” After they receive their plan and see just how non-restrictive it is, they usually lose the need for a cheat meal.
Nonetheless, it is interesting that the first thing people think of is when they can “break” their diet. This is in line with viewing a nutrition plan as a means to an end; that is, something you follow for X number of weeks until you achieve your goal, at which time you can revert back to your old habits.
This way of thinking will set you up for failure. Your nutrition plan should be sustainable. Rather than being a complete overhaul, it should instead slowly incorporate some changes to your existing habits. These changes should positively affect your lifestyle, and be something you can stick with for the rest of your life.
By immediately focusing on cheat meals, you are:
- Assuming that your “diet” is restrictive and something to punish your body with.
- Missing the bigger picture.
- Treating the plan as something that is depriving you of your desires.
- Failing to see that your favourite foods can still be incorporated in a nutrition plan. I firmly believe that including small treats into your daily plan is a better approach than only allowing yourself one meal a week to veer off-plan.
- Seeing a nutrition plan as a temporary inconvenience, rather than a long-term lifestyle change.
- Assuming that you should be “rewarded” with food before you have even done anything. Some coaches say that cheat meals must be “earned”, and that only once you have reached a certain body fat level should you veer off-plan. I am more supportive of the idea that you shouldn’t need a break from your plan.
By addressing the points above, and changing the way you view your plan, you will be more likely to see success. When you fall off-plan, you will be better equipped to deal with it, and less likely to throw in the towel completely.
Your nutrition plan should not be a punishment. It should be a way of nurturing and fuelling your body, while slowly but surely achieving your physical goals.
Do you have cheat meals?