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When Should I Have a Cheat Meal?

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When Should I Have a Cheat Meal?

Ask Better Questions 

Get Better Answers 

(and More Weight Loss)


It’s one of the first questions that pops to mind when anyone starts a regimented diet or a strict approach to your nutrition. 


“When can I have a cheat meal?”


It’s a predictable pattern. 


The diet starts. Well-intentioned, most people nail the first day. 


But by day two, with work and family and social obligations and life in general, the reality of the extreme approach is starting to show how challenging it is. 


On day three the negotiations start: “I’ll stay on this plan until the weekend, then I can have a cheat meal. I just gotta get to the weekend. I can do that.”


Then day four comes and life has continued not to cooperate with your weight loss goals. You decided that day four is a way better time to have your cheat meal than the weekend would be, so you indulge. 


And then the weekend actually comes and you join a few friends for dinner out. That’s two cheat meals in two days. 


The rest of the weekend starts to fall apart from there.  


Luckily, a new day 1 is right around the corner and the thought is: “Now this is the week. This time is going to be different.” 


And it starts again. 


Now, the timeline is slightly different for everyone, but the storyline is usually the same.


The cheat meal question predictably arises when an intense approach is adopted. 


In the absence of all the usual comfort foods, familiar habits and rituals, a sense of deprivation sets in. The root causes of those previous behaviors remain unfulfilled. 


And in that space, it's usually an act of willpower to stay compliant each day. 


And if life requires you to allocate some of that willpower to another stressor, the odds are not in your favor on your diet.


This is why at HBI/Evolved we repeatedly return to the idea of consistency over intensity. 


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The most dramatic and sustainable results come from a plan that you can sustain. 


That’s why instead of asking when you can have a cheat meal, it’s time to start asking better questions. 

  • What if instead of being repeatedly disappointed by the all-in, inflexible, extreme approaches, the goal was to see what the minimal effective diet for you is? 

  • Instead of trying to change everything, what if just a few simple changes elicited the progress you wanted to see? 


We all want quick progress and swift attainment of our goals. 


So it’s understandable to adopt an extreme approach to nutrition to achieve those very goals. 


But the evidence is clear. 


These extreme approaches are very, very difficult to maintain. 


Anyone of us can confirm that. 


So, it’s time to see the question of “When can I have a cheat meal?” as a signal. 


If the cheat meal is one of the first thoughts that comes up when you’re considering a new approach to your nutrition, it’s a sign that that plan may not be the right one for you. 



To sum it up…the Summary

  • Extreme approaches are very difficult to sustain. 

  • The cheat meal question is usually a good barometer of whether the plan is a good fit or not.

  • Embracing a plan that values consistency over intensity sets you up for success.  


One Sentence Takeaway:


Immediately looking for a reprieve from a nutrition plan is usually demonstrative of lack of fit. 

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