Have a bad plan

Don’t let a cheat meal become a cheat week.

You will not stick to any meal plan 100% - there will be times when you fall off the path.

Very few people do adhere perfectly, with maybe the exception of brides-to-be or someone after a life-changing medical emergency.

While discipline is important to keep you on the path, it’s also vital to exercise it when you come off.

It’s easy to say “screw it - I’ll start again next week” and then proceed to cancel out a month’s energy deficit in four days.

It happens.

Most people have a planned response that is objective and well-thought-out, but it fails to take into account the emotions.

It’s something like ‘I’ll be disappointed that I deviated from the plan, but I won’t beat myself up and will get back onto it next meal.’

Essentially, it’s along the lines of somewhat a disappointment, but the meal enjoyment will reignite the motivation.

Most people have exactly the opposite emotional response.

They get disappointed by the lack of adherence and think they will lose all of their progress.

While this won’t happen from one meal, it can become noticeable after four bad days.

So the next day they don’t exercise - because this week is ruined - and this feeds into the meal intake for the next few days.

Monday becomes the turning point, hopefully.

If this happens once, OK, it’s not a big deal in the long run.

But if this happens once or twice per month, it can make a big difference to the rate of progress, which feeds back into motivation and adherence.

So what exactly do you do?

It depends, but here is a great strategy: have the next meal planned.

If the blow-out occurs at lunch, then have a goto meal for dinner.

It might be tuna and vegetables, a light salad, or something like that.

It doesn’t really matter what the food is, it’s more about getting back into the routine.

Eating the food that was planned for this situation is, therefore, getting back on track.

If the blow-out occurs at dinner, then breakfast can continue as planned the next day.

The most important thing is getting back into the exercise routine, if you exercise in the morning.

The second tip is when it comes to ending the meal in the first place.

It’s easy to add some post lunch/dinner snacks or ice-cream because ‘the damage has already been done.’

While it seems like a good idea at the time, it will only make dinner and getting back on track harder.

Tom Fitzgerald