We’ve all heard of cheat days – and when working on a new routine or diet, most of us take full advantage of them. But today we aren’t going to talk about cheat “days”, we’re going to talk about cheat meals – or as we like to refer to them, “reboot meals”.
Here are a few things I want to note about reboot meals:
1) Reboots days – Remember just a moment ago when we said everyone has a cheat day? Well, we encourage you to have one too! There are many benefits of cheat days, which we will discuss more below…but whether you cheat with one meal, two meals, or all three meals, that’s okay! As long as you limit yourself to one day, you can eat anything you want!
2) Your reboot meal can be anything your heart desires – Here’s the best part about a cheat meal – it can be anything you want! Feel like donuts? Have donuts! Feel like a bowl of pasta? Make yourself a bowl of pasta! Feel like indulging in an ice cream cone? The sky’s the limit with your cheat meal!
Why are reboots so important?
1) They are psychologically beneficial – If you tell yourself you are never allowed to have anything enjoyable to eat, there’s a 99.9% chance that you are going to fail at achieving your goals. But if you tell yourself you can still indulge every now and again, you are much more likely to succeed.
2) Your body needs to adapt – Your body has its own adaptive mechanisms and is always trying to adapt to new things. This is especially true when you start cutting back on calories and certain macros. In order to adapt to the new change, your body starts adjusting certain hormones like ghrelin and leptin. Having a cheat meal can help your body adapt gradually so that it doesn’t start messing with your hormones. In other words, cheat meals notify your body that you are fine, you are in no trouble, and that your hormone levels can stay at a steady state.
3) Reboot days help you realize the importance of healthy foods – Many people find that after eating healthy for a week, having a cheat day makes them feel somewhat sedated and sleepy. This is because the sugars and foods you are eating are not good for your body, and your body reacts. Feeling this way after eating a reboot meal can help you to realize just how bad the wrong foods can make you feel and can help to encourage you to stay sugar-free for the next week.
Now for the big question – do you have to have a cheat day? Of course, you don’t have to, but again, it is an important thing to have for both psychological and physiological reasons. In fact, 90% of people will need a cheat day to keep themselves motivated and healthy.
Most people like to have their cheat days on Saturday or Sunday because of the social aspect of the weekend. What happens when you do this is that you will quickly realize that you don’t even enjoy a lot of the foods that you are cheating with. In return, you will start organizing and prioritizing food that really matters to you, or that you really love. You know, those foods that are really worth all of the extra calories. And we all have that one restaurant that we just love – the one that we go to every time we need a reboot meal.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Of course, there is. In most cases, you only need to do this for 60 to 90 days, or 6-12 months, depending on your weight loss goals. But eventually, you will come to what we like to call the 80/20 rule. In the 80/20 rule, 80% of your meals must be within your macro profile and calories, but the other 20% of the time you can expand your horizons for more cheat meals. Why can you do this? Because after you have reached your goals, you are no longer trying to lose weight, you are just trying to maintain it. In return, you have a little bit more leniency in your eating habits.
Currently, when trying to lose weight, we encourage you to start with the 90/10 rule. If you are eating 3-4 meals per day, that is 21 meals per week. If you are allowed to make 10% of these cheat meals, that means that can have 2-3 cheat meals per week. Once you reach your desired goals, you can increase to the 80/20 rule, where 20% of your meals can be reboot meals. That means that if you eat very healthy during the week, you can really have a good time on the weekends. This way, what you put on during the weekend, you can take off during the week!
And it’s really that simple!