‘Cheat Meal’ Rules that Increase Metabolism + Help You Lose Body Fat

by Charles Poliquin

One thing that I learned over the years, is that people in the industry which I call ‘Diet Nazis’ fail miserably in their nutrition counseling by asking people to follow a “zero tolerance” policy. Inevitably clients never last more than 12 weeks on such extreme regimens and fatten up like pigs within weeks of leaving the Diet Nazi. I think people lose fat faster if they are allowed a cheat meal once every four to six days. The cheat meal increases the metabolism so it makes you lose body fat faster. Remember it is a cheat meal, not a cheat evening.

Here are the rules for successful cheat meals:

  1. Eat your protein first. Remember, in Greek, protein means of first importance.
  2. Must be at a table (at home or a restaurant), not in front of the TV. Decide with what you will cheat before hand and set it on the table in readiness.
  3. When your butt leaves the chair, no more eating.
  4. Resolve to make better cheat choices: oatmeal and gluten-free products are better than wheat cookies, organic chocolate almonds are better than jelly beans. If eating wheat means your joints don’t bend the next day, try rice pudding as a cheat meal.
  5. To determine if you’ve eaten an optimal amount of carbs on your cheat meal day, do the following: take the body fat on a Monday, get four days of low carb eating.  On Friday night, eat the cheat meal, recording the quantity of carbs you’ve eaten.  On Saturday morning, measure the body fat again.  If the body fat has decreased and lean mass increased, you chose the correct quantity of carbs.  If however you got fatter on that Saturday morning, decrease the carbs by 20% the next time you eat a cheat meal and see if the body handles it correctly by dropping body fat the next morning.  If, however, you lose weight the morning following a cheat meal, try increasing carbs by 20% and see how the body handles it; if you don’t lose weight the next cycle, drop back again.
  6. As you get leaner, the more carbs you can eat; when you get to a low body fat, do cheat days rather than just meals, and always on a non-training day.
  7. The relationship between low carb meals and cheat meals is always 20:1 or 30:1 (never less or more).  If you can get someone lean on 4:1, they are a carb person and should be eating them every day.
  8. The 20:1 or 30:1 ratio should apply for people whose goal is maintenance as well as weight loss because 75% of the population perform better (work, etc) on low carbs.

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