Be specific

Now that we can see where excessive intake is coming from (eg. two cheat meals) now we can put in strategies to help minimise their damage.

There are two variables we can manipulate: frequency and volume.

In most cases, the frequency is the best place to start.

This allows you to keep the habit in place (ie. the cheat meal itself) in the early stages.

For many people, it’s easier to keep 1 x 1500kcal meal and eliminate the other, than it is to have 2 x 750kcal meals.

Expecting to restrict intake for something that is generally hard to limit is setting most people up for failure.

This same approach can be applied to alcohol intake, snacks and treats.

Once the decreased frequency has been adhered to for a few weeks, you can review your progress.

Have you noticed any differences - body composition or greater perceived energy?

If body composition changes, there are two options.

Keep doing the current regime - it is adhereable and delivering results.

Implement a second change - either making the meal fortnightly or monthly (decreased frequency) or reducing the volume.

Again, it depends on the individual and their confidence in altering the strategy.

At this stage, it can be tempting to completely eliminate the meal, but that’s not always the right option.

Instead, a monthly frequency would be a better idea (and then not consuming if genuinely not desired).

It’s easier to recalibrate if you have the ‘sometimes mindset’ approach to cheat meals than the ‘never mindset’ when a deviation from the plan takes place.

Tom Fitzgerald