Personal Training, Fitness and Nutrition Motivation

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cheat Meals are a Part of My Healthy Lifestyle

Yes,  I am a cheater of fabulous quality splurges and I like to re-define the term as a "treat meal".  I do not believe that having a fresh baked brownie now and then is cheating on my fitness program.  I eat healthy the majority of the time and follow a 90/10 rule where I consume a wide variety of good carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats 90% of the time and allowing 10% for indulgences like a glass of wine or chocolate.

I will even apply the 80/20 rule where I eat healthy foods 80% of the time and allowing 20% to splurge on foods not on my typical menu.  This comes in handy when on vacation or during the holidays.  It is realistic to want things that are considered "bad" and I am not immune to those cravings.  I will not turn down a piece of my Mom's home baked pie or biscuits with butter and honey ... are you kidding me?

Pizza is a Coveted Cheat Meal
When I do partake in something nutritionally naughty it has to be quality.  I will not be diving into Twinkies or Ding-Dongs, or any processed junk food.  I will indulge in home baked goods, whole wheat pastas, granola, chocolate and frozen yogurt on hot days. I do eat lean burgers and home made pizza as well.  When I do cheat, I still want to be in control of the quality of the food.  I also do not believe in gorging or having a free ticket on a cheat day to binge on thousands of calories.  That is defeating the purpose of a splurge meal or day.

I do not plan a "treat day" but go by my cravings.  If I want something, I enjoy it and move on.  I work hard, eat clean 80 to 90 percent of the time and know that eating a slice of berry pie Ala mode is not going to break my fitness bank.  I will indeed savor every bite of my indulgence and eat slowly.  I do that anyway, but especially with a food I have been craving.  This works for me, but may not work for you.

Having treat meals are always a personal choice as there are physiological and psychological issues to consider.  Those suffering with emotional disorders that surround food may not be good candidates for treat meals and should be under the guidance of a physician and at the very least a support group.  Also, newbie fitness adapters may not be able to manage treat meals just yet and succumb to past triggers and old behaviors.  Medical issues like diabetes requires food monitoring and certain treats may not be in their best interest.

I utilize treat meals for a balance in life and to enjoy everything about being a fit person.  I do not teach or live eating boiled fish and broccoli all the time and think that is going to sustain me.  I am smart in my treats and know when to stop.  I enjoy one or two times per week some sort of sweet treat or fun meal and still maintain my physique.  What it comes down to is the approach to the treat meal or day and not using it as a reward for being deprived all week.  Eating healthy should not feel like a burden or deprivation where looking forward to treat day to derail efforts occurs.  If that is the case, a review of your current nutrition plan needs to happen.  An eating plan that feels like crap will not last and send anyone running back to unhealthy eating habits.  Life is too short not to eat healthy and it is also too short not to enjoy some splurges along the way.

Read my latest article on Cheat Meals: Good or Bad? on and also grab some Cheat Meal Ideas of coveted comfort foods gone healthy.

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Darla Leal, Fit Over 50
Stay Healthy,


  1. I have a question from an article/blog you wrote on budget friendly healthy eating. I have $40 per month to buy food with and am trying to lose weight. I am 53 yrs old no exercise really and weigh 284 lbs. I am allergic to eggs/pineapple and have trouble chewing hard/ chewy meats ( dentures ). What kind of healthy foods can I make meals with for the month? Any suggestions would be helpful.

    1. Head on over to my Sports Nutrition site with the online network for great information on this subject
      All my best and Stay Healthy!


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