Cheat meal: what is it in weight loss and why is it needed?

Posted on Jul 31, 2022      13

Many people think that a proper diet involves constant restrictions, as well as the use of only dairy products, low-calorie cereals and vegetables.

In fact, even during a strict diet, it is possible and even necessary to make the so-called “breaks”, otherwise you risk snapping at the most crucial moment.

The concept of “cheat meals” is currently one of the most popular among adherents of healthy eating. It is a periodic dietary disruption that psychologically helps people who limit themselves to food.

Probably no one argues it is much more pleasant to sit on a diet and realize that at any moment you can eat a portion of fries. Let’s talk about how often you can break the rules of the diet and what the benefits of a cheat meal are.

What is a cheat meal?

A chocolate candy bar while on a strict diet is a dream come true. But often before you know it, one harmless candy bar turns into half a pound. Such an action nullifies all your efforts and adversely affects the condition of the body, so it is very important once every 7 days to allow yourself a small amount of your favorite treat.

The main thing is not to get carried away. That's what cheating ("cheating" is cheating, "meal" is eating) is all about. So what are the key nuances of cheating?

The 90/10 Rule.

If you want to achieve the highest possible results in good nutrition, then 90% of your diet should comprise healthy foods and 10% of your favorite foods (French fries, ice cream, Olivier and so on). This 10% is essentially what a cheat meal is. The most important thing about eating “forbidden” foods is to enjoy the process. Exactly “enjoy” and not blame yourself because you snapped and traded fat-free cottage cheese for something unhealthy.

It is very important to pay attention to the psychological aspect during the period of proper eating, because until your brain reaches harmony with your stomach, you cannot enjoy healthy food. If you will enjoy every bite of your favorite hot dog and banish all doubts about whether I’m doing the right thing, then a small portion of fast food will be enough for you.

And when you eat at once and a hot dog, and a hamburger, and French fries, while feeling guilty about his actions, then about any satisfaction and it can not be. Most likely, you will give up and want to quit the diet. So do not blame yourself for small weaknesses - they are inherent in every person.

What you can eat during a “cheat meal”, and what should be crossed off the list?

In fact, a cheat meal is designed precisely to allow a person to eat their favorite foods from time to time while on a diet. However, healthy and natural foods are best for a “tummy feast.” Of course, pizza, hamburgers and other popular delicacies rarely have an all-natural composition. But if you’re already set up to “cheat”, then you’ll need to choose the lesser of two evils.

An option is to find coveted products at online health food stores. Now there is a real cult of healthy food, so even classic burgers use the most natural products without dyes, preservatives and flavor enhancers.

Don’t forget to watch how your body reacts to the foods you eat. It’s possible that the stomach, adjusting to healthy foods, does not want to take “unhealthy” food. So if after eating a slice of pizza you feel heavy, then it’s better to give up cheat meal and do not clog up the body with unnecessary products.

But if during the “breaks” you feel great and do not feel discomfort, then you may well “cheat meal” further.

Useful recommendations and rules

1. Cheat meals will be much more effective if you do them in the afternoon. This way, you will reduce your chances of overeating and will not gain unwanted pounds.

2. Allow yourself a snack with your favorite dish after an intense workout - during this period your metabolism is much faster, so it takes much less time to digest heavy food.

3. To avoid overeating, do not be distracted by the computer, TV, smartphone, chatting with friends, relatives, otherwise you risk eating much more than it is supposed to. Concentrate all your attention on your favorite treat and enjoy the process.

4. The planned violation of the diet does not involve drinking alcohol, especially for overly sweet cocktails with chemical additives. It is better to drink a glass of excellent wine - this drink will bring the body much more benefits than “Pina Colada”.


Despite the conflicting opinions about cheat meal, it does more good than harm. Judge for yourself: you can not only rest from a strict diet, improve your metabolism but also “please” the gastrointestinal tract, especially if you sit on a so-called carbohydrate-free diet. So calm your conscience and once every 7 days, enjoying the moment, order your favorite ice cream or a piece of chocolate cake in a cafe.