Why Your "Cheat Meal" Mentality Needs a Makeover


The term “cheat” meal is not our favorite.

Let’s chat about why!

It implies that you’re doing something wrong.

You’re cheating.

We honestly don’t care about if you do a “cheat” meal or not but let us tell you what we do care about.

  1. How do you think your mindset will respond to your “cheat meal”?

  2. Will it mess with your head?

  3. Will it be a nice break?

  4. Will one meal turn into a day or a weekend?

  5. Are you going to be upset if you’re not seeing the progress you want over time?

What we can’t promise you as coaches is to help you not have the urge to eat all the things when the clock strikes 9pm or when you’re at a work party and they’ve got DONUTS or when your husband’s not on your plan and busts out your favorite flavor of Ben and freaking Jerry’s ice cream while you binge on your Netflix favorite after the kids go down.

Let me tell you what we can help you with.

To be okay with the urge.

To not create so much drama around wanting to eat all the things.

Allowing the discomfort of cravings or negative emotions of any kind, and NOT acting on them or JUDGING yourself for them...IS the secret.



Flexibility isn’t just meant for the weekend.

Stop labeling foods as clean foods or cheat foods.

Instead of focusing on restriction and willpower, focus on balance and flexibility!

Focus on those two things will help break the damaging restrict & binge cycle.

It’s also going to help you have a better relationship with food.

Not every weekend is going to be perfect, but that’s life!

Enjoy it, move on and make the next day better!


Ok so a couple things:

A lot of people like to incorporate an untracked meal, a “joy eat” or a “cheat day”, and there isn’t a problem with it...it just depends on a lot of factors.

You are more than welcome to incorporate a “cheat meal” (not a day lol) but how do you think your mindset will respond to that?

  1. Will it mess with your head?

  2. Will it be a nice break?

  3. Will one meal turn into a day or a weekend?

It really depends on your personality. And it’s similar with your physical progress also.

Meaning if you notice you’re not making the progress you want & you’re not okay with that, then it’s tightening up the weighing and tracking and eliminating these kinds of extras that is your first step!

As far as the desire, you have to just allow it. It’s called riding the wave. Just allow it, don’t judge it, don’t make the presence of this desire mean anything about you as a person—or make it mean anything about your progress.

The more you allow it and don’t judge it and don’t act on it—the less these desires will have power over you in the long run.

Allowing the discomfort of cravings or negative emotions of any kind—and not acting on them or judging yourself for them...IS the secret.

You can just say, man I am really craving cookies and candy right now, that’s interesting. 

And perhaps consider building them into your day, like an end of day treat for example or have them with your lunch!

It could be a good thing for you to understand what they cost and how to fit them in, you won’t be in a cut forever and when you reverse and count in maintenance they will be easier to fit.

You don’t have to live the rest of your life without cookies and candy to see or keep your results, it’s just a question of what’s worth it to and when/how to fit them into your day in a way that works for you physically and mentally.



Might want to stop viewing it as a treat meal!

We’d imagine here’s what’s happening…

  1. You feel like you’re off plan so you might as well have some more and start fresh tomorrow!

  2. You’re restricting yourself too much throughout the week and not eating foods you actually enjoy.

  3. A “last supper” vibe where you know you’re back at it tomorrow so you have to eat all the things while you can!


You’re just doing it because it’s a habit you’ve created for yourself and you’ve got to break that habit.

You gotta call yourself out on it.

Throwing in the towel and saying screw it and eating all things…

Sometimes it’s because we’re restricting too much or on too low calories and sometimes we’re using food as a buffer.

You have to intentionally decide to not let  your treat meal turn into an eat all the things.

It’s all about making that quick decision.

Taking action and deciding to NOT let it turn into an eat all the things will build over time, so that’s your NEW habit to NOT eat all the things.

Metabolic whoo-be what-y?

What the heck is metabolic adaptation??

Well...when anyone restricts calories and eats less energy than they burn, their metabolism begins to adapt by slowing down (a.k.a burn fewer calories).

This is one of the reasons that your progress can plateau.

It's why crash diets don't work.

The typical diet scenario is a nightmare for your metabolism.


What usually happens:

1) dramatic reduction in calorie intake (often 800-1100 calories)…

...often combined with

2) dramatic increase in exercise/ energy output.

Once again—anytime we cut calories our metabolism begins to slow down.

The more extreme the calorie restriction, the faster and greater the down-regulation of our metabolism.

So when we dramatically decrease calorie intake and our metabolism finally slows down enough make calories-in equal with calories-out...there is no longer a caloric deficit and weight loss plateaus.

See what we're saying?

This plateau is often met with further calorie reduction or more exercise, which only results in....

...you guessed it: more metabolic slowdown.

(You're so smart).

AND because such restrictive low-calorie diets are almost impossible to follow...

...eventually we can’t take the misery anymore and we tap out.

And then we typically go in the total opposite direction--dramatically increasing calorie intake overnight

(because we are humans who have been living in extreme deprivation).

Now because we slowed down our metabolism (a.k.a. our daily calorie balance)...and now we are going way over...the result is rapid fat storage!!!

Often beyond the pre-diet body fat levels (meaning we end up more overweight than when  started dieting in the first place).


What’s going on here is very simple:

people who diet like this have systematically crashed their metabolic rates and then overloaded their bodies with way more calories than they are burning...

...and the body’s response to this is to store much of the excess calories as fat.

So then we end up more overweight than when we started along with a slower metabolism.

If we repeat this cycle a few times..

...we can find themselves in a really bad place metabolically:

...eating very little food to maintain a high body fat percentage we don't want.

This process of dramatically and chronically slowing the metabolic down goes beyond just metabolic adaptation and is often referred to as “metabolic damage.”


Let’s go over this scenario with numbers (like a weight loss story problem):

Mary is a moderately active 40 year old woman, 5’7”, 190 pounds.

Her BMR is around 1600/cal per day, with an activity level of 1.35 which puts her estimated TDEE at 2170 calories.

She wants to lose 40 pounds.

To achieve this she starts an extreme low calorie diet--down to 1100 calories.

When she plateaus (which she soon will) she will have to slash calories below 1100 calories.

IF there is any movement at all, her next plateau will come even faster--but she will probably do it because she is so impatient to see loss.

When the next plateau occurs she has been so deprived, overwhelmed with cravings and now beyond discouraged that she quits.

And she goes directly for the high calorie foods she’s been craving intensely: the pizza, the ice cream, the candy, the chips.

But because she has slowed her metabolism/ calorie balance to 1100 calories or less--she will be immediately putting herself into a big calorie surplus.

The weight will be back on in a hot, hot second.

Why does this happen?

What can we do about it?

Stay tuned for the next post in this Metabolic Adaptation Series!

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5 Ways to Fancy Up Your Protein Shake!


There’s only so many times you can have your protein powder mixed with water and not want to puke.


Yes, yes it is.

A very real situation?

Yes, yes it is.

So today we’re sharing 5 ways to dress up your protein shake and keep the spark alive!

#1: Hot drank!

Warm up about 6-8 oz of water in the microwave for 1:30-2:00 minutes.  Add 1 cup of fat-free fairlife milk. Mix in a scoop of @perkenergy and a scoop of vanilla protein powder (we love Clean Simple Eats Simply Vanilla).


Chai Hot Drink.jpg

#2: Oreo Chocolate Milk

1 vanilla or chocolate premier protein shake

1 scoop collagen powder

1 or 2 oreos (OR use a little of the oreo pudding powder)


Mix with fairlife chocolate milk!

Blend and enjoy!


Protein Chocolate Milk.jpg

#3: Chocolate PB Banana Shake

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • 50g frozen banana

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder

  • 3 tbsp PB powder

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp stevia

  • 6-8 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy!


Chocolate PB Banana Shake.jpg

#4 Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie (great post-workout)

  • 1 cup almond milk (or fat free fairlife or milk of choice)

  • 100g frozen berries

  • 2 tbsp PB powder

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

  • 1 scoop favorite protein powder (we use Clean Simple Eats Simply Vanilla)

  • 20g rolled oats

  • 6-8 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy!


Peanut Butter & Jelly Shake.jpg

#5 Biscoff Cookie Shake

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

  • 1 cup almond milk (califia makes all the difference)

  • 2 biscoff cookies

  • 5 grams cookie butter

  • Dash of salt (weird, but crucial)

You know the drill - blend and enjoy!


Biscoff Cookie Shake.jpg

Hope this helps you keep the relationship alive with your protein shake!

Happy blending babe!!


the macro gals

// heidi // natalie // ashton