I like to eat.
I like to drink a beer or two.
I thoroughly enjoy eating out with friends & family.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday mainly because of the food.
My metabolism is like cold molasses.
I am not genetically gifted (unless you consider being able to eat two entire large pizzas in one sitting and still be hungry a genetic gift).
Life gets the best of me.
I get over-worked.
I get over-stressed.
I get frustrated.
I know what it’s like to be embarrassed to go shopping for clothes.
I used to weigh 320+lbs … lost weight … and now back in the 300’s again.
I get it!
No matter what “fitness or nutrition experts” like to pretend like when they write or give advice on dieting/nutrition/fitness … THESE PEOPLE ARE NORMAL … just like you. They are not “holier than thou” when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. They are not exceptionally strong willed humans that never get a craving and never hit a bump in the road … BUT they have worked hard at mastering healthy habits and they have also mastered the method of minimizing the damage when they do hit a bump in the road.
The perception that people who are in great shape are “just like that” or that “it comes easy” or don’t have the same challenges as a “regular” person is simply not true.
Don’t buy into that idea.
Buying into this “perception” is just an excuse and justification for people to tell themselves why they shouldn’t even bother putting in the effort.
IT’S NOT EASY FOR ANYONE! Everyone has to do the work.
Is it easier for some than others because of genetic factors? Absolutely, but trust me … if you see someone in great shape … in 99% of cases they had to work their asses off to get there … no matter what they tell you.
So, when it comes to dieting and getting in tremendous shape, if they can do it, you can do it.
Just as the old saying goes: “what one man can do, another can do”. It know that sounds a little corny…but it is true.
When it comes to getting down to business and sticking to a solid, clean eating program the biggest problem that most people, including me, have always had is cheating. I find myself wanting to cheat every few days at a minimum. I can be cruising along, making great progress no issues at all … and BAM … out of nowhere that craving for pizza smacks me right in the face!
Ever have that happen? I’ll bet you have … because it’s perfectly normal. You just have to learn how to deal with it. The way I find most effective to deal with this is by planning a “cheat” strategy into your program. Sure, it’s nice to say you will never cheat on your diet, but the reality is…it’s just not realistic.
Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is not a “diet”. “Diet” is a tool to get you from point A to point B, but the long term goal shouldn’t be to visit point B for a day or a week, it should be to get to point B and stay there (or right around there).
The key to long-term success is to transition from a “diet” into a “lifestyle” so you can maintain your progress for life. Some people barricade themselves up in their house, don’t talk to anyone and become total assholes while dieting. To me, that’s no way to live. Life is all about balance and shutting down every other area of your life to diet just isn’t a good plan. It’s definitely not sustainable for 99% of the population.
The goal should be to get in great shape and STAY there. The only way you can do this is to work a program that is manageable and realistic long term.
After all, isn’t the point of dieting to get results in order to improve the quality of life long term?
So, if you can’t live with the system you create from a “life” standpoint, how can you expect the results to be everlasting?
They won’t be.
Eating normal foods, enjoying life and being social can all be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle very easily with a little planning. So today, I’m going to share with you three of my personal “cheat” strategies that can help you live a normal, active, social life without being a prisoner of your diet and still reach your health and fitness goals.
#1. Take a freaking day off once in a while! The cheat day is an old idea, but it works. Some people will tell you have a cheat “meal” and that if you do a whole day you’ll wreck your diet. If you’re dieting for a bodybuilding competition, photo shoot or a goal of less than 7-8% body fat, keeping it to a cheat meal may be the way to go, but if you’re a normal guy or girl who wants to look and feel great without becoming a hermit an entire day off is fine. I personally have gone from 320+ lbs and a 44 inch waist to 240 lbs sub 10% body fat and a 34 inch waist in 6 months cheating like a mad man every Sunday. It won’t wreck you.
With this strategy, you won’t feel like you are “depriving” yourself at any time and this will help you stick to the program because you will know that it will only be a few more days at any given time until you get to be a “normal” human being and reward yourself for a great week of progress. The fact is, if a program is too rigid, most people will quit. Following a system with built in cheats allows for flexibility mentally, physically and socially.
You can approach this cheat day in one of two ways. One way is to just pick a day like Sunday or Saturday and make that your designated “cheat day”. The other way is to play it a little more loosely and let your life dictate when these days will be. For example if you have a wedding one Saturday you can take that day off. The next week you may be invited to a BBQ on Sunday and want to take that day off. It really depends on how much structure you like to have, I personally like to designate a particular day and play it a little more tight and keep it structured. Either way, as long as you keep it to one day a week and you are tight the other days you WILL get in amazing shape!
#2. Double up on you’re clean meals! You get home and you are freaking starving and you’re about to go spend 15 bucks at Taco Bell because you cant stand the craving even one second longer! Instead of blowing it off and giving in to that craving try eating a double portion of your clean food FIRST. Doubling up on your clean food is a great way to minimize/prevent damage to your program as a double portion of your clean meals is still likely 50-75% less than the total calories an all out binge of junk food will be. If you still insist on having Taco Bell after that, which I’ll bet you $100 you won’t because you’ll be too full, do it. It won’t kill you and you’ll eat less of it. Just pick right back up where you left off the next meal and forget about it (this sentence is the #1 key to long term success with a healthy eating program).Don’t beat yourself up over a bump in the road. It happens to all of us.
#3. Split your cheat day in half. Instead of a full cheat day, split it into two separate cheat meals on two different days. Maybe you have guy’s poker night on Wednesday night and you decide to have the night off and enjoy a few beers and a steak dinner. Well, then instead of taking the whole day off of your diet Sunday … just take dinner off. Pretty simple. This works very well and I have seen many people do this, including myself, with great success. Splitting it up helps keep you sane and more social.
The most important thing to remember is when trying get in phenomenal shape is consistency. With that being said, no one can be 100% on a healthy, clean eating program 100% of the time and still live a normal, healthy, balanced life. A 100% effort can only be maintained so long before it breaks you and by working in ways for you to live a normal balanced life with other human beings you are actually increasing your chances of long-term success tremendously! Getting in and staying in excellent shape is a marathon not a sprint. Everyone has their own ideas and strategies when it comes to planning cheats into your diet, but the most important point to remember is if you pick right back up where you left off after cheat (planned or not) … you’ll hit your desired mark with no problems! But YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK!
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