Dieting is a difficult proposition for anyone. You want to eat healthier and get in better shape, but there are so many amazing foods out there that you want to try! Thus, the concept of a “cheat meal” was born.

Cheat meals are little breaks in your diet: meals in which you can eat, if not everything you want, at least a wider selection than you would ordinarily. You’re able to brush off the extra calories consumed, skip the guilt, and enjoy those foods that are usually off-limits. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding the concept of the cheat meal, and it’s time our Olathe personal trainers bust them once and for all.

Myth #1: You “Need” a Cheat Meal

Many diets proclaim the use of a cheat meal to “reset your metabolism” when you’ve been working hard to eat healthily and exercise regularly. Some dieticians argue that your body needs a reset in order to more effectively ramp up its consumption of the food you eat on a daily basis, rather than adapting to your reduced caloric intake and leaving you in a slump.

The reality, however, is that you don’t “need” a cheat meal. If you’re eating healthy, you’re going to see results–even if you’re in the middle of a slump. Not all results are scale-oriented, either; the gains you see in muscle mass and in the way your clothing fits are just as important as those numbers on the scale.

Plus, hitting a slump is a good thing! Once you peak, it means your body’s metabolism is at a good place and pacing itself to maintain your body weight. Embrace it.

Myth #2: Cheat Meals are Part of Every Diet Plan

Our personal trainers in Kansas City have no problem with our clients including cheat meals in their diets, but they aren’t always necessary! Not every diet plan includes a cheat meal–and for good reason. The principles behind a Keto diet, for example, don’t align with a cheat meal (unless you like the idea of starting all over again).

Many people also find that they don’t particularly enjoy those cheat meals once they get in the habit of eating healthier. Cheating–especially cheating heavily on a diet–can lead to feeling bloated and uncomfortable, decreased energy, and a range of other problems that lead highly motivated individuals to skip the cheat meal and keep up with their usual eating habits.

Myth #3: You Can Eat Whatever You Want on Cheat Day!

It’s finally time for your cheat day. You’ve worked it into your schedule and diet plan. That means you can eat anything you want, right?

In reality, if you’re eating whatever you can dig your teeth into on “cheat day,” you may be sabotaging your results later. It may take time to get rid of extra weight from those foods, as consuming too many calories obviously leads to weight gain.

Instead, practice cheating in moderation. Try eating smaller portions of those unhealthy foods, and do your best to limit cheating to a single meal or indulgence rather than cheating all day. Not only will you feel better later, you’ll be less likely to sabotage those goals.

Myth #4: Cheat Meals are the Only Way to Get the Foods You Love

You’ve cut out tons of things that you really enjoy eating, and you’re tired of it. You want cake, cookies, soda, and a hamburger! If you look at your diet as a constant deprivation, you’re constantly going to be wondering when it’s going to end–and that means you may well get to your ideal weight only to rebound within a few months as you go back to your old eating habits.

Look for healthy substitutes that you enjoy just as much, if not more than the foods you used to love. Check out healthier dessert options, examine turkey burgers or black bean burgers, and look for other great ways to have the foods you love without cheating on your diet.

Portion control is also critical: learn to enjoy the foods you love without overindulging, and you’ll quickly find that you’re better prepared to face many of the challenges that will come your way.

There’s nothing wrong with a cheat meal occasionally, and if you’re dieting hard, it can be difficult to reach your goals when it feels as though you’re never able to enjoy the foods you love. Cheating on your diet the right way, however, is a better way to be sure that you’re keeping on track with your goals.

If you need help staying the course, consider becoming a member of a local gym. At SunPoint Fitness in Olathe, KS, we have personal trainers and health professionals on hand to help you set a workout schedule and prepare meals that benefit your goals. Contact us at (913) 267-5348 or visit our personal trainers in Olathe to learn about our gym membership options and classes.