I can’t count the number of times, I’ve had one of my clients ask me about cheat meals and how often they can have them. I hate the whole cheat meal thing out there. You know, the idea that you eat *clean* or perfectly all week and then go all out for one meal during the week, or even worse, an entire day. This may work for some people and I’m not bashing on them, but for me, having cheat meals and cheat days completely screwed up my relationship with food and I was a miserable mess.
I believe that when you truly have a balance in your lifestyle, you don’t need to even think about cheat meals, but I was once in the position where I was asking people this question myself, so I understand it completely.
Here’s what I think: when you’re counting macros, you shouldn’t ever have cheat meals. You should instead, incorporate those ‘cheat foods’ into your macros when you want to eat them because when you’re counting macros, you can eat whatever foods you want. If you aren’t counting macros and you’re trying to just eat a healthy diet, then in general, I would say have 3-4 ‘cheats’ a week. What I mean by these cheats is that you have some foods that aren’t in your normal daily eats. I don’t mean eat an entire pizza 4x a week, but I’m saying enjoy a couple of slices as one of your treats, enjoy a few extra cocktails as one of your treats, split a dessert as one of your treats etc.
I hesitate to give these suggestions because I don’t want you to take them too literally and only stick to a ‘cheat’ 3-4x a week, but it’s a good guideline to stick to if you’re still trying to find that balance. For me, I definitely have several treats throughout the week (that I highlight on my Instagram page!), especially on the weekends when I’m out more, but some weekends and weekdays I don’t eat out or go out and so for those weeks, I don’t really have any treats. I don’t force myself to eat a treat if I know I haven’t had any for that week yet. I just have them when I really want them and that might mean I have 5 or 6 a week and then none for the next. It just balances out, but if you’re still finding that balance, stick to 3-4 a week for now.