Who Are Cheat Meals Really Cheating?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Back when I began exercising, when I was just starting out on my fitness journey, I used to eat like the fit pros and my fitness idols. At the time they were the only dietary resource to learn from that seemed to make sense back in the early 2000s. The reasoning I followed their approach was simply because they looked how I wished to someday look myself: ripped, muscular and strong AF - that was my goal. I was blinded by the physique goals and would listen to any advice they shared to do with eating and training. I would literally be copycat, simply because there wasn’t someone else questioning if this was correct. (I will point out social media was only just on the scene, and the likes of Instagram wasn’t a massive thing as it is nowadays) The method to reach your dream body meant you’d need to eat clean foods, no room to deviate, and you’d eat single ingredient foods only. If it was viewed to be ‘dirty’ this would be seen as ‘cheating’ and you’d be a failure if you couldn’t stick to it. Now, I hold my hands high, at the time I saw great results. My clients followed the same strategy and got success too. However, my 9 years in the game has given me so much more knowledge, and these days I would never dream of recommending the same approach to every one of my clients just because it’s easy. We’ve got different preferences, goals, personality types and activity levels – all of these things will determine which nutritional method I advise for each person. In another 10 years I might preaching something new again! What contradicts ‘clean eating’ is the use of cheat meals. You’re banned from touching processed foods during the week (or however long you follow the diet for), but when cheat meals come knocking this is forgotten and it’s a free-for-all. You can eat whatever you want and as much as you want. Totally ridiculous. And if you haven’t read my article detailing the basic science of “calories-in vs calories-out” in relation to fat loss, you can find it here. My real problems started when I used to eat like this. I would be strict for 6 days, and on the 7th I would completely gorge on food until I was so full I felt physically sick. This causes two big issues: