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No More Cheat Meals

No More Cheat Meals


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One of the biggest misconceptions about dieting is that the so-called 'cheat' meals are not only okay, they are needed. I swear there's more chatter on the web about the next cheat meal than there is about clean eating. This is not just sad, it will keep you from reaching your full potential. Read on to find out why.

Top 10 reasons for a 'cheat' meal:

1) I need variety in my food.
2) It keeps me on my clean eating plan.
3) I love sweets and can't live without them.
4) I had a bad day.
5) I was bored.
6) I deserve it after all the work I did.
7) It's okay to indulge a little.
8) I'll burn it off anyway.
9) It was a special night with my (insert friends/loved ones).
10) Why not?

Sound familiar at all? I certainly know I've used one, two, or maybe even a few of these at times. But I've learned that each reason is just an excuse to keep me from achieving my best body.

Now when we use the term 'cheat' we're not talking about a pre-planned, scheduled, higher carb day, filled with clean carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and wheat bran.

What we're talking about here is the indulgence in the destructive stuff. Cakes... Cookies... Candy... Pizza... you know the stuff. The stuff that has negative value. The stuff that is not getting us closer to our goal AT ALL. They actually take us backward.

And think about how many times a cheat meal has turned into a cheat day, and then a cheat couple of days or weeks. Has this happened to you?

You need to ask yourself then, is it worth it, really? Why take a step backward, even if it's a little one?

You will NOT achieve that best you as long as you continue to go off your clean eating plan. It hasn't worked yet has it? So why keep doing it?

One of the biggest predictors of success in figure and bikini is consistency of clean eating. It's not rocket science, but boy is it hard. That is if you allow yourself into the thought process that cheating once and awhile is okay.

So let's go through each of these excuses to indulge and put a bit of a reality spin on them:

--1) I need variety in my food.

Really? Did you truly have that much variety before you started your clean eating plan? I would bet no. Most individuals eat pretty much the same stuff week in and week out, clean or not. Think hard and I bet you'll discover that's true. (see: There is Less Variety in Your Diet than You Think).

If you need more variety, then work on variety with clean, competition-approved foods. It's well worth the effort.

--2) It keeps me on my clean eating plan.

You sure about that? How many times have you had 'just one more bite' because 'I know I'll be eating clean again (insert tomorrow, next week, after vacation)'. Many times the cheat meal is just the beginning of a slippery slope downhill, resulting in a domino effect of feeling crappy about yourself because you caved (see: How to Stop Binging Once and For All).

Don't let this happen!

--3) I love sweets and can't live without them.

Why? There's something deeper there that you're not admitting. Did your mom perhaps use sweets as a medication when she was upset, stressed, or fatigued? Did you learn that cookies make everything better? Did you socialize with food?

There's typically an emotional tie to eating junk food so it's your job to figure out what yours is. It's not a physical tie - because our bodies don't need that crap.

--4) I had a bad day.

Want to make it worse? Eat a bunch of crap! Sure, you'll get this instant sugar rush, literally seconds of taste pleasure. And you sacrifice hours, days, or weeks of progress in the meantime.


You'll feel worse physically and emotionally, potentially triggering a binge.

--5) I was bored.

Boredom is a huge reason people indulge in junk food.

I have the perfect solution. Plop yourself in front of a huge bowl of lettuce and chow until you can't eat one more bite. Trust me, you won't be bored and your jaw will likely hurt from all the chewing. :)

--6) I deserve it after all the work I did.

You deserve to self destruct? Why in the world would you do that?

What you deserve is to be proud of how far you have come, where you are, and where you're headed. Stuffing your face with junk food will only derail that progress.

Reward yourself with a massage, an extra workout, a trip to the movies, or a long bath.

--7) It's okay to indulge a little.

Nope. It's not. ;)

Seriously though, even a little isn't worth it is it? Why take two steps forward and one back?

Most of us want to achieve our goals as quickly as possible. It's just human nature. So why would you do anything to stall that progress? (see: How to Stick with Your Diet and Exercise Plan)

If I said you could eat one thing that would double the speed of your progress you would eat it wouldn't you? Well I'm telling you that NOT eating junk food will speed your progress, guaranteed!

--8) I'll burn it off anyway.

Yes, you will. But again you've slowed your progress way down. And if you're already lean and trying to get shredded, you likely will NEVER achieve what you're striving for if you continue to cheat.

--9) It was a special night with my (insert friends/loved ones).

Aw c'mon really? You're strong enough to be on this journey in the first place, so you're definitely strong enough, and love yourself enough, to enjoy clean eating with your friends/loved ones. If they don't understand, that's their problem. You need to look out for #1!

--10) Why not?

I don't even have to address this now do I? ;)

So there you have it! Top 10 reasons debunked.

What we didn't discuss is all the pressure from well-meaning friends and family with all their comments about how you can afford it.

Well, you can't. You 'afforded' it for long enough and look where it got you? Time for a shift in thinking.

Next time you're having that craving or feeling like you 'deserve' some junk food, reread this list and decide for yourself if it's really worth it.

Author: Kristin Shaffer

Member Comments

Love this-I will definitely keep this in mind when I am having cravings. I'm 'off season' right now & am allowed one cheat meal per week, but I hate how I feel afterward! It's such a slippery slope for me & I don't feel in control. I think I am better off having a clean cheat most of the time.

Brittnay definitely load up on clean carbs rather than junk. You're doing your body good by doing THAT once a week rather than loading it with destructive simple sugars. :)

Great article- Kristin! :-)
I am doing pretty good without the junk though it sometimes gets tough on me when I am at a birthday party and the cake is right in front of me. Though - I can resist because I know what for and feel much better afterwards. Happy Humpday - girls!
--ms sunshine

This is so great, I can't even begin to tell you the absurdity I saw at my first show, when it came to the sugar and junk girls had back stage to cheat with literally as soon as they were done with finals, the emotional tie to food is a tough one to break, but its so worth it to just keep moving forward, to listen to your body, and fuel it as best as you can.

I have never "cheated" while preparing for a contest..... I won't even take as much as a lick of something that is not on my meal plan... it simply isn't worth it. I just tell myself, "it will be there in ____ weeks (or months)" &it always is! lol

This information on no cheat meals has paid for itself over and over again over the summer. The advice in this article is really great. You dont know what chemicals you are unleashing upon your mind that causes us to stay addicted to sugary foods. It really helps to just stick with clean foods all together. I've learned that the longer I've eat clean and the longer I stayed away from sweats the less temptations towards sugary substances. Awesome advice thanks Kristin! From personal experience it takes my body a whole week to burn off the calories of one cheat meal! For me it is just not worth it. Another words in the past when I had a cheat meal. It would be nearly a week before I would see the scale move again!

Jonathon that's so cool! Keep up the great progress!!!

With love,


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