A few weeks ago a nutrition client of mine had a question about “cheat meals” in our private client facebook group.
This question made me think about a lot of what’s wrong with the idea of cheat meals and how they can create negative associations with food and hinder your fat loss progress… that Part 1 of this blog post, you can read that HERE.
Just saying that a cheat meal can damage your relationship with food, or stall your fat loss isn’t helpful..
I want to show you what to do instead of cheat meals so you know how to do it for yourself.
I’m going to share what I do with my nutrition clients rather than “cheat meals or days” that allows them to eat foods they love and lose fat.
The first thing is we address their relationship with and how they view food.
Unless there’s a specific health condition I never tell a client that certain foods are off limits, or deem foods bad.
There isn’t a food that when eaten in reasonable portions, that fit within your calorie goals will stop your fat loss and damage your health.
On the other hand, being too restrictive with foods can easily result in a worse relationship, and turn into a binge and restrict cycle that spirals out of control.
Realizing that there are no good or bad foods, and you can eat foods you love and not wreck your fat loss goals is food freedom.
This frame of mind that removes the idea of “cheating” frees the clients I work with from feeling like they’re overly restricted in what they can eat.
That food freedom alone can work wonders for sticking to the plan, especially when you realize, you’re still making progress!
Secondly I teach my clients about the importance of calorie awareness, and the calorie density of foods and the importance of these for fat loss.
To lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.
Unless a food causes you to eat more calories than you’re burning there is no one food that stops fat loss from happening.
Next we discuss my clients favorite foods, and their non negotiables. By non negotiables I mean the traditions and events around food that they love.
We need to chat about these events so we know how to fit them in and make them part of their plan.
When you fit the nutrition plan to your lifestyle you create sustainability and can still enjoy things like date night with your spouse or ice cream sundaes with the kids.
Lastly we look at the amount of calories they need to eat each day to lose body fat at a consistent rate.
We take those daily calories and multiply them by seven ( seven days in a week) to find how many calories they need to eat weekly to lose body fat.
We dedicate more calories to a few days of the week when we know they’re going to be enjoying themselves, and eating foods they love.
With the amount of calories left over we spread it over the rest of the days, and discuss days when they are less or more hungry and adjust accordingly.
The end result is clients feel less restricted, have a better relationship with food.
They start viewing foods they love to eat as part of their plan, not a cheat meal.
When you fit the diet you to your lifestyle, and have a plan of action to follow you’ll have an easier time staying consistent and being patient.
This is because you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself to the point of binging then starting over and not seeing the fat loss results you want.
I created some graphics on my Instagram page to help explain this, you can see those HERE.
Click HERE to apply for coaching and start finding your own food freedom today!