I am one of those diet coaches who definitely believes in the value of giving cheat meals to my competitors. There are many diet coaches who don’t do this and there is a lot of opinions about which is the better tactic. If you account for a weekly cheat meal and have guidelines for those meals then these meals can be very beneficial to your cause in 2 very good ways. First, a well planned cheat can help to push in needed nutrients into your body and keep your metabolism ramped up during heavy adaptation that occurs during a long and hard contest diet. And a well planned cheat meal can also provide a well needed psychological reprieve from a strict diet. After all, if you are dieting for more than 10 weeks then you are in for a long diet that can wear you down mentally. A cheat meal can provide you with a needed break from your diet and something to look forward to all week. This kind of small reward can often make the difference in making it to a show and giving up halfway into a hard and long diet.
I haven’t always used cheat meals and they certainly aren’t good for everyone. Some people just don’t know when to say when as the food enters the mouth. But if you can stick to a few rules of thumb, it can often times help most people survive a contest diet. I enforce two rules on my clients when it comes to cheat meals: eat all your other meals completely and on time before the cheat meal, and don’t let the meal last more than 45 mins in duration. Like I said before, cheat meals aren’t for every dieter, but they can be good for many. Bon appetite!