The Magical Land of Cheat Meals: The 80-90% Rule
The idea of a "diet" sends people running for the hills. The term is synonymous with restriction. However, the food you eat is important to a healthy lifestyle (I think we can all agree on that). This is why the methods Results Driven Fitness Systems uses are all focused on sustainability. Whether we're talking about exercise or nutrition, if the process isn't viable for longer than a few weeks, what's the point?
To avoid the restrictive nature of the diet concept, Results Driven follows the Precision Nutrition model. People are encouraged to follow certain nutrition guidelines 80-90% of the time. Outside of that window, they're encouraged to "cheat." But, what is a cheat meal?
In this habit based nutrition system, a standard meal should include a protein, vegetable and fat, along with a non-caloric beverage. A cheat meal is any meal that falls outside of these guidelines. This could mean having a starch (not after a workout), a caloric beverage, having sugary treats like ice cream or processed snacks like potato chips.
Cheat meals are actually helpful in the fat loss/strength gains process. Here’s why;
1) They keep you sane! Never eating “comfort” food again is a deal breaker and might stop people from achieving their fat loss goal before they even start. Let’s face it, we all love food. So, the mere thought of never having mom’s home made cookies again is off putting. Having food we deeply enjoy 3-4 times per week is actually a healthy thing.
2) It adds some extra calories. Eating enough is always a delicate subject. Fat loss means starvation, right? NO! Sometimes having a cheat meal kicks our metabolism up a notch and gives our body a little extra fuel to stoke the fire.
3) Cheat meals give you “wiggle” room. There are going to be times when you’re not prepared. It happens. “I brought cottage cheese to the beach!” a member told us recently. When they ran out of snacks though, and it was time for the drive home, they stopped at a diner and were “bad.” Coach Steve-O from Motivate says the 2 most important words you can tell yourself is, “it’s ok.” You have 3-4 cheats per week. If you have 6, that’s ok too! Analyze how you could have done better, realize this is just one meal out of 35 you may potentially have for the week, and put it behind you.
Cheat meals don’t have to make you feel guilty, and they shouldn’t. There are no good and bad meals. There are just meals that move you towards your goal and meals that postpone your achievement momentarily. Discipline is necessary though. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can cheat, cheat, cheat without paying a price.