Ideal Cheat Meal

Do I Need To Consume Cheat Meals

The low down on cheat meals…. Are they needed? Should I have them weekly?

Let’s first consider why we eat healthy to begin with. If you are trying to lose fat; you are trying to burn pure fat and maintain as much muscle mass as you can (thus maintaining your metabolism). If you are trying to build muscle; you are trying to minimize fat gain while building as much muscle mass as you can (thus increasing your metabolism). If you are trying to maintain you are trying to keep your muscle and maintain your fat (creating equilibrium).

This advice will generally be well received from those of you who are already consistently eating, following a structured training plan & are willing to spend time tracking what you put in your mouth. If it touches your lips its gets logged (yes even the couple of m & m’s you had at the office).

Now again; this isn’t for everyone but if you are wondering why you are stuck in a rut with your fat loss or muscle building you can look at a few things.

  1. When was the last time you adjusted your macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates)?
  2. When was the last time you increased or decreased your calories if you aren’t seeing the results you are aiming for?
  3. Do you feel as though you are getting stronger or weaker in the gym?
  4. How are you sleeping?
  5. How long have you been following the same routine?

Those five questions will help you decide the changes you need to make. If you are getting weaker, sleeping like crap and have been following the same plan for months it may be time for a cheat meal or two to mentally reset while changing up your routine.

So here is my theory on cheat meals. You can have one whenever you mentally need one (assuming you are disciplined). With that being said I would aim for once every two-four weeks.

What is the point of a cheat meal? The body is so efficient at getting used to a new stimulus that we at FFT recommend changing your macros and your workout routines at a minimum once every 8-12 weeks so your body does not get “used to” the programming. That way you can continue making progress throughout the year.

Over the holidays CEO of FFT Mike overindulged in craft beer, pizza wings and cookies and found himself at 241 pound but after five weeks of only 2 beers per week and no take out or eating out he found himself at 235 so he went out for dinner with some friends had a double cheeseburger, a couple of wings & three beers. Five days later the scale said 232. Down nine pounds in six weeks but controlling his diet with one strategic cheat meal. We all fall off the wagon from time to time; but do you get back up?

*It is best to look at the calendar and find vacations, birthdays and special events to plug in cheat meals so you have things to look forward to.

Why a cheat meal though and how does it work?

What a cheat meal is includes a mass amounts of “unclean” food that is beyond your normal scope of nutrition (think burgers, fries, cheesesteaks, pie, pizza). If you have been dieting for a while your body will increase the hormone Ghrelin which tells your brain when you are hungry. To make matters worse your body will also suppress the hormone Leptin which is what tells your body when you are full. The body does this because it wants homeostasis (to stay the same).

So think of it this way. If you have more Ghrelin (hunger) and less Leptin (ability to feel full) you will find yourself eating more than normal just to feel satisfied. Here is where a cheat meal or two comes in to reset some of the bodies natural processes. Then you can get back to normal levels of Ghrelin and Leptin and be back on the fast track to making progress! Some of this will depend on body type too but we will leave that for another blog (ectomorphs tend to have minimal Ghrelin and plenty of Leptin because their body tends to naturally stay skinny & endomorphs tend to have more Ghrelin and less Leptin because their body tends to naturally stay softer.)

To find out if you are dialed in when to strategically take a cheat meal FFT is always here for you!

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