Can you Afford Cheat Meals?
Have you ever seen the Instagram feed of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson? I always enjoy the cheat meals he indulges in. These are epic meals! Cookies, pizza, sushi, literally thousands of guilty calories. Is this healthy? Is it really just for show? Obviously he has a team working with him to make sure he is healthy and keeps his aesthetic form. His look is a big part of his paycheck, so I don’t believe he will do anything to hurt that opportunity.
If someone at that level can get away with those indulgences, does that mean any regular person can as well? As you can probably guess, the answer will vary from individual to individual. First thing is we have to be honest with ourselves. Are we hitting our goals on a weekly and monthly basis? Are we happy about where we are in our training cycle? Will having a cheat meal or cheat day derail those goals?
Let’s look at it like as a different goal. Our goal is to save $1,000. We’re giving ourselves 10 weeks to save this money. That works out to $100 a week. For this example, let’s agree that this is not an easy goal, but is definitely manageable in both time period and effort to be put in. As we start this journey, we setup a plan of where to save each day to reach our weekly goal. It works out to just over $14 a day. We start out great! We match our goal the first 5 weeks in a row. Half way there, we’re feeling great. We decide to have a mini celebration for ourselves and splurge on an item we’ve been eying. It costs $75, but we’re already at $500 saved. After this purchase, the plan enter weeks 6 at $425, giving us 5 weeks to save $575. It was hard work to save $500 in 5 weeks, where is that extra $75 going to come from? Do we work harder in the weeks ahead or push back our deadline?
Of course this best relates to people trying to shed excess weight, but also transfers over to other aspects of training. I’ll argue that cheat meals are not just food indulgences. It can be not getting enough rest or recovery time or missing a day of training that wasn’t a scheduled rest day. These are examples of things that sound great in the moment, but will ultimately delay the goals we’re trying to accomplish. So let’s ask ourselves, is this one moment or indulgence worth derailing weeks or months of hard work? It very well might be, but know that it may deter our overall goals.
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My best advice is to plan ahead for these indulgences. If we had planned ahead in our above example to have a mini splurge of $75, we could have tried to bank that extra cost in the previous weeks. If I’m going to a major social event such as a holiday party or wedding, I’ll do my best to eat clean and train more leading up to the event. Think of all the people that are trying to “lose holiday weight” at the beginning of January. I’ll argue that if they had planned ahead before the holiday season, they wouldn’t necessarily be behind the eight ball after it.
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