Have a Cheat Day and Still Lose Weight
Over the past two weeks I’ve received over a dozen emails with basically the same question: “Help! What do I do if I cheated on my diet plan?” But before I get into what to do after you cheat, we need to find out why you cheated so that we can try to get it under control for the future. Also, keep in mind that on my studio and online body transformation plan, I ask my clients to stick to the plan for first 21 days and then enjoy a nice “reward meal” on the 22nd day.
After you complete the first three weeks, you can then add one to two cheat meals, at least two days apart, until you reach your goal weight. (Stick with just one cheat meal a week if you want to lose weight faster.)
So, after you cheat, the first thing I want you to ask yourself is why? Was it peer pressure? Did you not want to feel left out? Did you put yourself in a position where you knew it would be challenging to stay on your diet plan?
After you figure out why you cheated, you’ll have created awareness, which is essential if you’re ever going to be able to gain control over your emotionally based choices. Once you’re aware of why you cheated, you can then plan how you will do things differently when you encounter that same situation (or one like it) again.
Now let’s talk about what to do after you cheated. A lot of people ask if they should do two hours of cardio to make up for it. But there is no punishment to be had.
You’re human. You made a mistake. You’ll hopefully learn from this mistake and not do it again. However, if you planned on cheating and you enjoyed yourself with friends and family then there’s nothing at all to worry about.You just don’t want to make a habit of it (more than two times a week). Plus, even if you did two hours of cardio the most you would probably burn is about 1,200 calories (and that’s if you were really cranking!). Considering that a cheat meal is typically well over that amount, you’ll begin to realize that you simply can’t out train a bad diet.
I recommend that if you know you’re going out for a cheat meal that night, do a high intensity interval cardio workout, or, even better, one of my Fatlossity metabolic resistance based workouts, which incorporate both cardio and weights. By working out within twelve hours of your cheat meal you will be able to better utilize glucose and prevent unwanted spikes in insulin.
Of course, you could workout directly after your cheat meal, as well, but unfortunately for most people, cheat meals often include alcohol and are had at night.
The bottom line is that when the damage is done, it’s done.
The best thing you can do is to remember that transforming your body and achieving your ideal shape is a journey. Very few people master it the first time around without any ups and downs. As long as you recommit yourself immediately and keep your cheat meals to one to two times a week (except for first 21 days), then I think you’ll find you get to enjoy the best of both worlds!
I hope this article helped ease your worries about cheating on your diet and how best to get a handle on it in the future. Also, my most successful clients use a daily nutrition and exercise journal to keep themselves motivated, accountable and focused on planning out their day. This technique gives you the greatest chance for success and allows you to take your brain out of the equation.
If you’d like to use my proven 12-week body transformation nutrition and exercise journal with every detail you need to succeed (complete with my simplified Cabral Checklists) then click the link here.
Stephen Cabral is a world renowned body transformation expert and was voted 2011 “Personal Trainer of the Year.” He is the author of 2 books and has published over 1,200 articles on health, fitness, and nutrition. Stephen and his team train out of their private Boston personal trainer center, Stephen Cabral Studio, and online at StephenCabral.com.