Well, we’d say both, but alternatively. Let’s not be harsh on ourselves. Engaging in fitness routines, strict diets and extensive workouts demands taking up strict measures for the goals to be achieved. But once in a while, it is absolutely fine to let loose and ‘cheat’.
Now there could be two approaches to this. One is to have a tempting meal that you otherwise refrain from even looking at it. Because let’s face it is sometimes difficult to keep from temptations taking us over. That being said, our bodies should not lose touch with food products that don’t find their place in our diet routines. This is because the body should be able to digest and tolerate, what we call ‘junk food’. There will be days when we travel or attend gatherings. We should be able to survive the day. The crux of the matter is to eat clean for the better part of your week, stay active and reward yourself by indulging in something you really want to eat. It can also prove to be a great psychological relief. The feeling that you're not totally restricted to eat certain foods.
All you need to do is to make sure that you keep the calories in check by choosing the food that you plan to consume. And strive harder the next day to balance out the extra intake. The key is to plan to act since you would not want to push your efforts into vain.
To maximise your results for cheat meals, try not to binge eat. Have what you want but don't overeat since it can impact your week's progress largely.
Don't weigh yourself for at least 2-3 days after cheat day. As far as you are doing everything right, you should still be able to make progress after this period.
Remember, for every gram of carb you consume, your body holds nearly 3 grams of water. Plan for extra water the day after your cheat meal. An ideal diet is not about restriction but about making healthy choices.
Another approach is to take a day off! This could either be done by breaking the monotony of your workout routines. For instance, you may just dance some calories away by indulging in zumba or aerobics. Make this a regular practice when once in a while you change your usual exercise flow. This way you will be able to throw your body multifaceted movements. As we all know variety is the spice of life. Why to exempt workouts from them! The other option is to completely kick it off by now exercising at all for a day. But remember to not let yourself enjoy it too much and end up not resuming workouts. As it is a well established fact that exercise does not act on the body alone but also the mind. A day off will give your mind some rest too.
Coming back to making a choice between a cheat meal and a cheat day. From a technical point of view, a cheat day poses a heavier dip on your workout routine as compared to a cheat meal. A cheat meal can be overcome more easily since a few extra reps can battle the calorie intake. A cheat day is a complete break and would take longer to cover up for if seen in comparison.
A cheat meal or even a cheat day is certainly not something that you can succumb to. Consider it a reward that you have earned for good work! A well deserved one. Don’t let it shake your conviction and come back to it at frequent intervals.