Stephen Cabral, CPT/CSCS is the author of Fatlossity as well as founder and director of FitLife by StephenCabral.com. The Diet.com video contributor has been an active member of the fitness and personal training community for over 10 years. His passion has led him all over the country in pursuit of continuing to further his education, certifications, and health & fitness philosophies.

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Fit Life with Stephen Cabral

by Stephen Cabral, Fitness Professional

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I've received plenty of emails asking, "Help! What do I do if I cheated on my diet plan?"

What to Do If You Cheat on Your Diet

Before I get into WHAT to do after you cheat, we need to find out why you cheated so that we can try to get it under control in the future.

Also, keep in mind that on my studio and online body transformation plan I ask my clients to stick to the plan for first 21 days and then enjoy a nice "reward meal" on the 22nd day.

After you complete the first 3 weeks you can then add in 1-2 cheat meals* (at least 2 days apart) until you reach your goal weight.

(*Stick with just 1 cheat meal a week if you want to lose weight faster.)

So, the first thing I want you to ask yourself after you cheat is:

"Why did I cheat?"

- Was it peer pressure?

- Did you not want to feel left out?

- Did you put yourself in a position where you knew it would be challenging to stay on your diet plan?

After you figure out WHY you cheated you'll have created AWARENESS, which is essential if you're ever going to be able to gain control over your emotion-based choices.

Once you're aware of why you cheated you can then plan how you will do things differently when you encounter that same situation (or one like it) again.

Now let's talk about what to do after you cheated.

A lot of people ask if they should do 2 hours of cardio to make up for it.

Listen, there is no punishment to be had.

You're human. You made a mistake. You'll hopefully learn from this mistake and not do it again.

However, if you planned on cheating and you enjoyed yourself with friends and family then there's nothing at all to worry about.

You just don't want to make a habit of it (more than 2x a week).

Plus, even if you did 2 hours of cardio the most you would probably burn is about 1,200 calories (and that's if you were really cranking).

Considering that a cheat meal is typically well over that amount you'll begin to realize that you simply can't "out train a bad diet."

What I recommend is this:

If you know you're going our for a cheat meal that night I would do a high intensity interval cardio workout, or even better, one of my Fatlossity metabolic resistance based workouts which incorporate both cardio and weights.

By working out within 12 hours of your cheat meal you will better be able to utilize glucose and prevent unwanted spikes in insulin.

Of course, you could workout directly after your cheat meal as well, but unfortunately for most people cheat meals often include alcohol and are had at night.

The bottom line is that when the damage is done, it's done.

The best thing you can do is to remember that transforming your body and achieving your ideal shape is a journey. Very few people master it the first time around without any ups and downs.

As long as you recommit yourself immediately and keep your cheat meals to 1-2x a week (except for first 21 days) then I think you'll find you get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

I hope this article helped ease your worries about cheating on your diet and how best to get a handle on it in the future.

Also, my most successful clients use a daily nutrition and exercise journal to keep themselves motivated, accountable, and focused on planning out their day. This technique gives you the greatest chance for success and allows you to "take your brain out of the equation."

>> Click here for my free video and my complete 12-week fat burning system!

Committed to your success,

Stephen Cabral, ND, CSCS
Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor
Health contributor for MTV, Men's Health, Women's Day, MAXIM, Diet.com, SELF

@ 6:33am ET on February 28, 2011
dear sir i have so bad chemical llerrgies that my liver and pancreas hurt and no matter what diet i do it does not work have you any suggestions

@ 7:05am ET on February 28, 2011
personaly ,,i let my self to enjoy junk food once a week ,,and iam not trying to lose weight
and i find it great idea ,,cuz it almost impossible to me eat healthy food all the time

@ 6:07pm ET on February 28, 2011
I have already lost my weight, but I think many people underestimate the value of exercise in burning off "cheating." Possibly one day of exercise won't completely burn off an episode of "cheating" but regular, consistent exercise eventually does. I sometimes "cheat" by eating a lot from a restaurant meal. I already ride my bike everyday for at least an hour. I actually have not missed a day of exercise in over a year. On those days that I overindulge, I would ride a bit further. I sometimes gain maybe a pound or two, but after a few days of bicycling, I usually burn off the cheating and get my weight back down. Another approach which I also take is to track what I eat everyday and make sure I don't go over 3200-3500 calories on most days. That may sound like a lot of calories, but the regular exercise enables me to eat this much. The main thing is not to "cheat" or "binge" everyday. That is one way as well to get through the holiday season. Exercise absolutely everyday, and only really indulge on a few days of the holiday season- don't binge everyday from Thanksgiving to New Years.

@ 12:54pm ET on March 7, 2011
I wish people would stop using the words "cheat" and "being bad" when trying to eat healthier. It makes something that shouldn't be a moral issue into one. The only moral issue surrounding food should be why we have so much and other countries so little.

@ 11:21am ET on October 12, 2015
Technically, you can't "cheat" on a diet... Cheating would give you an unfair advantage, and eating "off plan" does the opposite. It sets you back.

Personally, I don't like to think in terms of "reward meals" either, because it would mean that my "on-plan" meals are a form of punishment.

I don't mean to be picky with words. I just want to keep eating guilt free. I have days when I am "on plan", and days when I am not. Neither one makes me a good or a bad person. They just have different impacts on my overall goals.

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