A “zero tolerance” approach to nutrition is a losing proposition. Instructing someone to go months without indulging in his or her favorite foods is a recipe for failure as even the most committed dieter can rarely last longer than 12 weeks before falling off the wagon.
Worse still, those who stumble trying to follow such extreme regimens often binge and rebound severely. Some unlucky folks will gain back all the weight they lost over several months in just a few days!
Here’s the good news: You will lose fat faster if allowed a cheat meal once every four to six days. This is because the cheat meal increases the metabolism, so you’re able to lose body fat faster. Not to mention the cheat meal acts as a welcome reprieve from a diet that can get monotonous after a while.
However, this is not an all day food free-for-all -- it’s a cheat meal, not a cheat evening. With that in mind, here are 7 steps for losing bodyfat by cheating on your diet.
Step 1. Figure out how often you can cheat. The ratio between low-carb meals and cheat meals should be between 20:1 and 30:1 -- never less or more. What this means is if you’re eating 5 low-carb meals a day, you should have a cheat meal once every 4-6 days (preferably the last meal of the day).
This 20:1 or 30:1 ratio applies to about 75 percent of people trying to lose bodyfat or maintain their weight loss. However, approximately 25 percent of the population actually loses fat faster and functions better on a carb-based diet. For example, if someone can get lean eating carbs much more often, say 4:1 or every day, they are definitely a “carb person” and should be eating carbs every day.
Step 2. Decide how you will cheat before hand. When it comes to cheating, you don’t want to fly by the seat of your pants. Plan your indulgences ahead of time and make it something meaningful. A tasty meal at your favorite restaurant will be a lot more satisfying than some haphazard snacking in front of the TV.
Step 3. Determine your carb allotment. You’ll lose fat faster if you eat the optimal amount of carbs on your cheat day. Fortunately, figuring this out is relatively simple. Here’s how:
Have a Biosignature assessment performed on a Monday, then get in four days of low-carb eating. On Friday night enjoy your cheat meal, recording the quantity of carbs you eat.
On Saturday morning, have another Biosignature assessment performed. If your body fat has decreased and lean mass increased, you chose the correct quantity of carbs. Repeat this amount at your next scheduled cheat meal.
However, if you woke up fatter on Saturday morning, you ate too much – so the next time you cheat, decrease the carbs by 20 percent and see if you drop body fat the following morning.
Now if you happen to have lost weight the morning after a cheat meal, it means the next time you cheat you should increase the carbs by 20 percent and see how your body reacts.
All told, this system effectively eliminates the guesswork out of your fat loss plan!
Step 4. Make better cheat choices. While it may be a cheat meal, the quality of the food you put in your body still matters. Gluten-free oatmeal and rice are better than wheat cookies; organic chocolate almonds are better than jellybeans. A good way to tell if a cheat food works for you is how you feel the next day. If eating pizza means your knees and elbows don’t bend the next day, try rice pudding next time.
Step 5. Eat your protein first. Starting a meal with protein helps reduce the blood sugar spike that occurs after eating a lot of carbohydrates. There’s also evidence suggesting that when your body receives carbohydrates first, it sends a signal to the digestive system to store more fat for later use.
Step 6. When your butt leaves the chair, no more eating. For some, the first few bites of a cheat meal can serve to “open the floodgates,” leading to hours of excessive over feeding. Along with eating your protein portion first, follow the “butt leaves the chair” law: set your favorite foods on the table and enjoy them, but once you leave your seat, that’s it – the cheat meal is over.
Step 7. Once you’re lean you can eat more carbs! A side-benefit of getting to a low body fat percentage is that you can eat more of your favorite cheat foods and stay lean and muscular.
It’s all related to insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to manage carbohydrates – as you get leaner, insulin sensitivity increases, so you can “handle” carbohydrates in far greater amounts than someone with more bodyfat. How much more? A hard training lifter with low body fat can enjoy full cheat days rather than just cheat meals. The only catch is the cheat days must always fall on a non-training day, for restorative purposes.
A low-carb diet doesn’t have to mean you’ll never get to eat your favorite foods again. On the contrary, a little cheating done the right way can actually help you reach your fat loss goals that much faster – and have more fun along the way!