Cheat Meals 101 (How to Plan Your Best Cheat Meal)

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Nutrition

You’ve been on this diet and healthy thing for a few months… 

Okay, maybe a few weeks… 

Alright, let’s be honest, you’ve been at it for a few hours or days and you’re already wondering when you can have your first cheat meal.  

Flashback to the last diet you tried 😱

That 1 cheat meal turned into 2… 

Which turned into a Cheat Day… 

And before the day was over you said “SCREW IT” and quit your diet altogether.  

You’re not the first person to blow a cheat meal (or a diet for that matter), but Cheat Meals 101 was put together to tell you: 

  1. What to Have 
  2. How Often You Can Have It 
  3. And How to Crush It 

Because let’s be honest, nobody really wants to dump their favorite food and drinks (If we did, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic on our hands).  

But also, nobody really enjoys being fat and unhealthy either 🤷🏻‍♀️

We’ve found ourselves in quite the pickle here, or at least until you give a read to Cheat Meals 101.  

What Can You Have for a Cheat Meal?

The better question is – What CAN’T you have for a cheat meal? 

Beliefs around cheat meals vastly differ coach to coach, but I’m here to tell you that at Complete Performance, you can have WHATEVER YOU WANT for a cheat meal.  

Stuffed Crust Pizza? ✅

Chips & Salsa? ✅ 

Ice Cream? ✅

Chocolate? Candy? Sweets? ✅✅✅

A Tall Glass of Wine? ✅

Really, I’m not kidding when I say you can have whatever you want! 

But yes, there is a catch… 

All in moderation, my friends.

There’s that darn word MODERATION.  

As long as your cheat meal stays within your calories, you can have WHATEVER YOU WANT! 

That’s where people start to see their limitations.  

1 Slice of Pizza is 200-300 Calories, and I’m sure not stopping at 1 slice for a cheat meal.  

A SMALL Cookie Dough Blizzard from Dairy Queen is 710 calories.   

And while most glasses of wine are low on calories (100-200 calories), I know very few people stopping at 1 glass on a cheat meal.  

How the heck are you supposed to fit that into your calories!? 

That’s HALF or more of daily intake in a single meal!! 

But who says you have to fit it into your daily intake?? 

You’re much better off fitting that meal into your entire WEEK! 

Here’s an example – 

If your calorie deficit calls for 2,000 calories per day, that’s 14,000 calories for the week.  

You can EITHER – 

  1. Fit those calories into your daily 2,000 calorie limit. 
  2. Fit those calories into your WEEKLY 14,000 calorie limit.  

If you eat 4 slices of pizza at 300 calories per slice, that’s 1,200 of your 2,000 calories limit 😱

In order to make that fit, you’ll probably skip 1-2 meals and go into it STARVING (no wonder you ate 4 slices of pizza).  

The weekly total is A LOT easier to fit a cheat meal in as compared to your daily total! 

Imagine “fitting” one of those pieces of pizza into 4 days – that leaves you with 1,700 calories for the rest of the day! 

Better yet, fit 4 slices of pizza into 7 days.  That leaves you with 1,850 calories for the rest of the day! 


Eating whatever you want for a cheat meal IS a real possibility! 

Before we move on to Cheat Meal Frequency, I want to leave you with one piece of advice… 

When it comes to WHAT you eat for a cheat meal, make it what you REALLY want.  

Be sure it’s a part of your Non-Negotiables (Need a copy of our Non-Negotiables Guide? CLICK HERE), so you ACTUALLY enjoy what it is you’re eating (more on how to do that below).  

How Often Can You Have a Cheat Meal? 

There’s a lot of freedom around WHAT you can eat for a cheat meal, but there’s far less freedom around how often you can enjoy a cheat meal.  

Most of us can agree that having a cheat meal whenever you want means it’s not ACTUALLY a cheat meal but your inability to stick to your diet. 

At Complete Performance, we believe you can have a cheat meal as often as you find necessary to stick to your meal plan.  

A cheat meal serves 2 main purposes: 

  1. Boosts Metabolism – Calorie deficits slow your metabolism and a quick bump in calories helps to keep that metabolism high flying.  
  2. Boosts Adherence – The better you stick to your diet, the longer you stick to it and the better results you get.  

Our #CPTeam members thrive off 3 strategies:

  1. One Larger Weekly Cheat 
  2. Two Moderately Sized Bi-Weekly Cheats 
  3. Daily Small Sized Cheats 

Anything outside of this and we work together to find a more suitable diet for your lifestyle.  

How to Make Cheat Meals as Easy as P.I.E.  

Now, just because we give you freedom to eat whatever you want and allow you to choose your Cheat Meal Frequency, doesn’t mean it’s EASY to not overindulge.  

That’s why we came up with a strategy as easy as P.I.E. for our Complete Performance clients.  

Plan It 

The meals that just POP UP aren’t cheat meals… 

Those are just slip ups on your diet.   

It’s the wedding you have on Saturday night.  

Girls night next Friday.  

Valentine’s Day Dinner with that special someone.  

A successful cheat meal is marked on the calendar and planned out ahead of time.  

Think about WHAT you’re having – get as specific as possible! 

The more specific you are, the better we can plan, adjust and THRIVE! 

Medium Cookie Dough Blizzard from DQ.  

Margarita Pizza from your favorite place.  

Now remember – *as specific as possible!* 

Just because you don’t know what will be planned for dinner at the upcoming wedding doesn’t make it an unplanned slip up.  We plan for it by getting specific with what you can control in things like: 

  • How Many Meals or Snacks You’ll Have Out (Think Appetizers AND Dinner)
  • The Number of Drinks You’ll Have for the Night 
  • If You’re Planning to Have Dessert or Not 

While we can’t perfectly plan scenarios like this, we can estimate and create a plan to help you crush what you CAN control!

Incentivize It 

If you’re going to cheat, do it GOOD! 

Make it something you REALLY want! 


But make sure you set it up as an incentive to help provide extra motivation leading up to! 

Think of it like this – 

“When I eat breakfast everyday this week, I get to enjoy chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday morning.” 

It always works well to plan your cheat meals around events, holidays and times you want to enjoy.  Not only are you looking forward to the food, but you’re looking forward to the company and atmosphere.  

Enjoy It 

The most important piece… 


If you can’t enjoy this cheat meal, then what’s the point!? 

You’ve done all this work to plan it.  

You’ve stayed motivated to get here.  

Now, it’s time to celebrate with it! 

Eating with guilt will take away your enjoyment AND make flushing it out of your system that much more difficult.  

Yes, the scale will bump up a bit, but it’s not permanent because we did the work to prepare for it! 

Look, if you’re serious about staying on the diet and exercise trend and truly making this a lifestyle, then you’re going to need to enjoy a cheat meal every once in a while! 

Doing the work to plan and prepare for it only increases your likelihood of losing the weight and keeping it off! 

If you’re someone who goes out to eat often, but doesn’t want it to always be a cheat meal, CLICK HERE (RESTAURANT GUIDE) for full Restaurant Guide for Fat Loss.  

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