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Cheating on a Diet: What You Need to Know

Cheating on a Diet: What You Need to Know

If weight loss is your goal, you may be wondering if it’s okay to have cheat days on your diet. The answer is yes…and no. Cheat days may not destroy your diet program. But it’s important to understand the difference between cheating and making informed choices on a weight loss diet. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what cheating on a diet means, the consequences of cheating, and how to make the most of your cheat meals.

Can you cheat on diet and still lose weight?

Let’s be real: we’ve all had cheat meals on our diets at one point or another. A slice of pizza here, a bowl of ice cream there…before you know it, you’ve completely blown your calorie budget for the day. But the important thing to understand is not whether you can cheat on your diet and still lose weight, but what’s driving you to cheat in the first place?

Woman in workout clothes sitting in front of couch with multiple cheat meal items

Are you feeling deprived? Bored? Stressed? If so, cheating may just be a way of coping with these emotions. And while eating something outside of your plan may not stop all your weight loss progress, it can be a slippery slope. Once you give in to one temptation, it can be harder to resist the next time around.

So if you find yourself regularly cheating on your diet, take a step back and try to figure out what’s really going on. You may just find that addressing the underlying issues can help you stay on track – and finally reach your goals.

It’s not the “cheat” that’s holding you back it’s the “reason” you decided to eat outside of the structure you chose. If your diet plan doesn’t talk about what is driving your choices than you need a new program!

Why Not Just Work Out and Fix The Cheat?

Most of us have tried to outrun our forks in our goal to be healthier. But running from poor eating habits doesn’t work in the long term. You can’t beat the cheat over time. Here’s our thoughts on exercise and Optavia

Is one cheat day ruining my diet?

If you’ve been sticking to a diet plan, you might be wondering if it’s okay to have a cheat day. After all, everyone deserves a treat every once in a while. That’s what some weight loss plans might say. Let’s start with that concept:

There are certain foods that we never need. Chocolate cake for example is never needed part of our eating habits. But does one bad meal ensure weight gain? Does stepping outside of structure destroy a whole week’s worth of work? The short answer is no.

However, on the Optavia diet plan, cheating can have some pretty immediate consequences. For starters, you might feel fatigued and irritable. You may start to notice cravings come back quickly and even more hunger between your next meals.

The truth is, one meal doesn’t make or break you but it’s what it leads to in your journey. This is why we don’t talk about cheat days or cheat meals with our clients. We don’t really understand the point.

The Goal of the Diet

Our goal for our clients is life long transformation. This means mindful eating, being able to maintain self control, and declining those indulgent foods.

When we think in terms of cheating we are thinking in the short term. “What do I want right now?” When we begin to think in the future we ask, “What do I want for tomorrow, or next week?”

If the goal of the diet is to lose a few quick pounds and then go back to eating the way we did that caused us to need a diet in the first place, then cheat away! But if the goal is to see sustained change and more than just portion control, then we have to be willing to change our habits and that means saying no to things that don’t fit into the new way of eating.

When you decide to make a change in your life it’s not about being perfect, it’s about making progress. Will one meal not ruin all your hard work but it may affect your desire and willingness to create the life you desire the next time you face temptation.

In short, cheating on the Optavia diet is not something to be taken lightly. So if you’re thinking about indulging, you might want to reach out to your coach! Here’s more tips about your relationship with your coach.

What happens if I cheat on my diet?

woman with large sub sandwhich and body measurement tape covering her mouth

We get this question all the time! It’s very normal. Especially in the early stages of your weight loss journey. Ask it a different way:

What happens if I speed on the freeway? It could be nothing. You may get a ticket? You may get in an accident. The truth is for most programs, you may not notice the affects.

In a recent community call, Lindsey shared this illustration as an example to help people have a visual representation of what may happen to your progress when you choose to step out of the structure of your Optavia program and cheat on your diet:

Optavia Fat Burn

After you watch the above video check out this article on what Fat burn on Optavia is all about!

Can one cheat day make you gain weight?

A cheat day on your diet may seem like a good idea, but it can actually backfire and cause you to gain weight. When you “cheat” on your diet, you’re likely eating more calories than you would if you stuck to your healthy eating plan. And, if you’re eating unhealthy foods, you’re also getting more saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. Plus, when you eat a lot of calories in one day, your body’s metabolism slows down and it becomes harder to burn off those extra calories. So, while a cheat day may not seem like a big deal, it can actually do more harm than good. If you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health, it’s best to stick to your diet and avoid cheating.

Can one cheat meal or week ruin progress?

It’s not the one meal that will “destroy” your progress. It’s the difficulty you’ll face with the next meal. You may retain water. You may gain a pound or two on your next weigh in day. But will one meal set you all the way back to the beginning?

If you do step out of structure, don’t feel guilty. Just be sure to get right back on track the next day. Don’t let one bad day turn into a week (or month) of unhealthy eating with regular cheat days. If you’re struggling to stay on track, this is where we encourage you to dive into the four components of your program.

HidrateSpark 3 -- The World's Smartest Water Bottle

How to keep from “cheat” mentality on my diet?

First, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t expect to never have a cheat meal or snack again. You’re human, and sometimes you’ll crave something that isn’t on your diet.

The key is having the lifestyle mindset. However, diets alone don’t help you with that. This is why we love the Optavia approach to weight loss and health. Our programs help you instill healthy habits that last a lifetime. This way, even when you do have a cheat meal, it’s not going to ruin all your progress.

Optavia is more than just a diet- it’s a way of life. If you’re looking for something that will help you make lasting changes, we encourage you to dive into all the components of the program.

If you’re on a different weight loss program that’s great! Be sure yo have access to all of these components in whatever health program you follow. Especially if you are struggling with cheat meals, If you don’t have these components you need to find a program that includes all of them!

Your Coach

Having a strong relationship with a certified coach is so important for you health journey. A coach will provide you with the accountability and support you need to make lasting changes. They will also be able to help you troubleshoot any roadblocks you encounter along the way.

your coach can help you "not cheat" on your diet
Check out this article we wrote about the power of partnering with your coach

Your Community

The community support you need for your journey can’t be found by googling “diet support group.” You need to be around people who are experiencing the same thing as you. If your friends and family don’t understand what you’re going through, they may not be the best people to rely on for support. Try to find others who are in the same boat as you.

The Optavia community is unmatched. Weekly support calls, daily encouragement within the Facebook private groups, and people who have been where you are on your health journey. If you are feeling alone, lost or just need some extra motivation- the Optavia community is there for you.

The support of a community can make all the difference when trying to achieve success with any goal- especially a health related one. Having people who understand what you’re going through and can offer helpful tips and advice is invaluable.

The Optavia Life Book

It’s one thing to know you are struggling to stay focused daily on your health goals. It’s a completely different thing to identify the habits and cues that are triggering the cheat meal mentality.

The Habits of Health Transformation System, specifically the Lifebook, is designed to help you replace those old habits and change that dieter mindset.

The Lifebook is a tool that allows you to track your progress, set goals, and change unhealthy habits.If you are struggling with cheat meals, I encourage you to give the Lifebook a try. It may just be the motivation and guidance you need to finally achieve a transformed mindset for a life long healthy lifestyle.

Trying to figure out what to eat on your own can be overwhelming and time-consuming. A meal plan takes the guesswork out of

Final Thoughts About Cheat Meals and Weight Loss

green plate with think before you eat written on it

Will one cheat day or cheat meal ruin all your weight loss goals? Probably not. Is there wiggle room in the health progress journey? Yes. But this is less about eating and more about learning self control on the journey of life.

Ask yourself these questions the next time you find yourself wanting to give into different foods that are outside your plan:

How Will I Feel After I Cheat on My Diet?

Sure the double bacon cheeseburger looks amazing and eating it sounds like a great time for one cheat meal. Play it forward. Is the single meal worth sacrificing your healthy diet and the goals you have? How will you feel after you cheat with that meal or other foods?

What is the most important thing?

When you find yourself wanting to indulge cheaters loop take a moment to pause. Remind yourself what the goal of all this dieting was. What’s more important? Eating that cheat meal or creating the life that will all you to (do, feel, experience) whatever drove you to change in the first place.

What’s driving this need cheat now?

As coaches we tell our clients we will never say, “no” but we will ask, “Why?” If you are really wanting that cheat meal, get curious. What makes it difficult to stick to your plan in this moment. Remember, if one cheat may not be that “big a deal” than not having that cheat meal shouldn’t be a big deal either right? So what’s driving the need? Ask these simple questions:

  • What was happening just before I decided to eat this meal?
  • What am I feeling in tis moment that makes this cheat meal seem like such a good idea?
  • Who am I around in this moment?
  • What part of my social life brings up the desire to cheat with what I eat?

The answers to these questions and others like them will help you in those moments that you want to cheat.

Cheating on a diet can feel like an inevitable part of the journey, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of a supportive community and the right tools, you can overcome the urge to cheat and finally achieve your weight loss goals.

The Habits of Health Transformation System, specifically the Lifebook, is designed to help you replace those old habits and change that dieter mindset. So if you are struggling with cheating on your diet, I encourage you to give the Lifebook a try. It may just be the motivation and guidance you need to finally achieve a transformed mindset for a life long healthy lifestyle.

What do you think? Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding cheat meals?