\nIf you’re a gym devotee and nutrition enthusiast, you’re probably no stranger to the “cheat meal” concept. \nIf you’re not, let us break it down for you: cheat meals are commonly used in the fitness\/nutrition community as a “break” from the normal strictures of healthy eating. Oftentimes, cheat meals are used once or twice a week, with little regard for nutritional consideration. Cheat meals typically include foods otherwise verboten on a healthy diet plan, such as burgers, french fries, pizza, and dessert.\nThe idea of a cheat meal is that if you’re abiding by a healthy diet at the majority of your meals, the occasional, scheduled cheat meal is a way to employ moderation and improve dietary retention long-term.\nAnd while moderation is key to a healthy and sustainable diet, there are a few things you should know about cheat meals.\n#1 IT’S EASY TO OVERDO CHEAT MEALS\nBecause cheat meals are often used for “off-limits” foods, many “cheaters” have a hard time limiting their meal to just one or two items: what starts off as a slice of pizza turns into three slices of pizza, a breadstick, beer, and dessert.\nIt’s easy to erase a week’s worth of healthy eating in a single meal, making cheat meals hard to regulate.\n#2 THE “CHEAT” MENTALITY ISN’T EXACTLY HEALTHY\nWhile the purpose of cheat meals is to practice moderation, it often leads to overly stringent dieting in “non-cheat” periods to make room for no holds barred binge-fests during cheat meals or cheat days.\nOther times, simply having the mentality of a “cheat” can create the subconscious perception that certain foods are malevolent, and the only way to eat healthfully and moderately is through the diet-cheat-diet-cheat pattern.\nIn general, it’s best to replace the “cheat” meal concept with regular, daily moderation, for the sake of whole mental and physical health.\n#3 CHEAT MEALS CAN AND SHOULD BE REASONABLE\nIf you do opt to use a cheat meal pattern, remember that it’s easy to overdo it, even at a single meal. Rather than treating yourself to appetizers, plus dinner, drinks, and dessert stick to 1-2 items (just dinner, or dinner and dessert, or dinner and a drink). Otherwise, Caloric overload could easily diminish any weight loss or weight maintenance efforts.