Why I Don’t Like the Phrase “Cheat Meal”

I hope everyone is having an amazing, relaxing Sunday! For today’s post, I wanted to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I think at this point, everyone has heard of cheat meals and going off your diet for a day to eat whatever you want. Every weekend my Explore page on Instagram is flooded with photos of people’s high-calorie cheat meals and the guilty captions that go along with them.


Personally, I think we should stop thinking of these treats as “cheat meals.” Cheating has such a negative connotation to it, and it really does make you feel like you’ve done something to feel guilty about. When I started my own weight loss journey, I wanted to make sure that I was making a complete lifestyle change. This wasn’t just a diet that I was on, I wanted to make realistic and good changes that I would be able to keep. I didn’t want to just start and stop a random diet fad like I had done in the past.

So being realistic, I knew that there were times when I would indulge in that chocolate cake or go for the french fries instead of a non-starchy vegetable. And even though these foods are unhealthy, I didn’t want to feel guilty about that. Life is too short to be that strict. Like I’ve mentioned before, I want to be kind to myself, especially while on this weight loss journey. When I eat unhealthy food, I’m not cheating on a diet, I’m just living life.


While there are times when I do plan to have something unhealthy, like when I’m on vacation or if I know I’m going to be eating out at a restaurant, I never think of it as a cheat meal. I will try to eat as healthy as I can for the rest of the day, but I don’t try to focus too much on it.

I think cheat meals encourage people to have an unhealthy relationship with food.  Many people also use cheat meals as a way to go crazy and eat whatever they want without thinking. I love following other women on Instagram who find health just as important as I do. There are so many great tips and tricks to be found throughout social media, but there can also be an ugly side when it comes to healthy eating/living. I see so many girls who plan for their cheat meals all week and obsess over every last detail of their meals.

Then the next day they end up feeling like they are a failure because they ate unhealthy foods. Food is supposed to be something that nourishes us and gives us energy. It isn’t supposed to be something we feel guilty about and obsess over.


While we obviously shouldn’t eat unhealthily every day, we should be able to enjoy a nice treat every once in a while without feeling bad. Like I said, I want this weight loss journey to be a lifestyle for me, not a diet. To be honest, now that I’ve been on this journey for a few months, I don’t crave as many unhealthy foods like I did before. However, when I do want a rich dessert or fried food, I feel better knowing that I can have it without making myself feel guilty.

I think changing your eating habits and lifestyle is hard enough without adding on pressure and planning “cheat meals” for yourself. Sure, there are times when I still feel guilty for getting ice cream or splurging on a carb-heavy Mexican meal, but I try not to focus too much on it. It’s something that I have had to work on, but I’m glad I did. I would’ve been miserable if I treated every unhealthy meal as a cheat.


Basically what I’m trying to point out with this post is that we are all human. Every event in our lives isn’t planned out, so we shouldn’t feel like we need to plan out our meals either. There are going to be spontaneous unhealthy splurges that come up, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about them or feel like we’re “cheating” on our healthy diets.

What are your thoughts on cheat meals? I would love to hear about your opinions! I hope you liked this post. Remember to be kind to yourselves, life is too short not to!



6 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like the Phrase “Cheat Meal”

  1. Love this post. I feel like I had a “cheat” day today. I don’t plan for them, though, I kind of just feel like going off of my diet once a week because I’m tired and want one day of not thinking about what I’m eating.


  2. I actually love everything you’ve said here. I think I’ve come to call them cheat days out of habit / that seems to be the norm but you raise some really excellent points. We shouldn’t feel bad for what we eat, especially if we’re keeping the larger picture in mind. Plus, life would be unbearable without the occasional slice of pizza or bag of chocolate. Thanks for sharing, I really love the thoughts you put into this one! x


    1. Thank you so much!! And I’ve definitely called unhealthy food cheat meals as well but I never really realized how negative it actually is! It’s so easy to get obsessed with becoming healthier but we have to remember to be kind to ourselves too! I’m glad you liked the post 🙂


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