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Is It Worth the Cheat?

By 17th August 2012 No Comments

Easy people, I’m talking about food but it would be interesting to compare the stats of this post with my previous posts just because of the title!

Two years ago when we were trying to get into shape for the umpteenth time, Warren and I consulted a dietician at the High Performance Centre (HPC) at the University of Pretoria. Just thinking of this is a stark reminder of how much money we’ve spent trying to get into shape but due to a serious lack of discipline we might as well have flushed the cash down the drain! Lesson learn’t and this time I can attach an actual value to that lesson: +-R700!

Anyhoo…three things I remember from that consultation:

1. Enjoy one block of chocolate, slice of cake, slice of pizza…whatever your choice of cheat meal is. Why? Because if you had to eat 3 slices of cake and I had to ask you to describe the taste/texture/ what you like or dislike, you probably wouldn’t remember! But after one slice you’d probably still remeber whether it was dry or moist. The other two slices are unnecessary.


Also If you’re going to eat chocolate make it 85% dark….Here’s why:

I love Lindt Excellence 85% cocoa


2. If you’re going to cheat, at least make sure it’s worth it!

3. Weight loss should be a slow and steady process. This ensures sustainability. It’s healthier to lose 5kgs over a few months than a few weeks. Why? Because the longer process is as a result of a lifestyle change as opposed to crash dieting.


Many of you have asked for an example of my eating plan. To be honest it’s so simple:

Before I started eating clean I went on an active detox: I cut out all carbs for 7 days.


Breakfast: 2/3eggs scrambled or in an Omlette (with some veg—peppers, mushroom, tomato etc)

Lunch/Dinner: I only ate chicken breasts or fillet steak as these are lean cuts. I ate alot of green veggies (spinach, broccoli, green beans, cucumber etc) and salad.

Snacks: I snacked on almonds/macademia nuts or biltong (25 almonds, 30g lean biltong).

Thereafter I introduced complex carbs into my diet.

Complex Carbs: These are good carbs. Yes carbs are NOT bad for you, in fact your body needs complex carbs for energy in order to support its bodily functions which include metabolism and therefore the burning of fat! It always amazes me that despite having studied this at university and having read up on nutrition periodically over the last couple of years, I still have to read up on the basics of nutrition because without this knowledge, without understanding how your body works, you will not be able to make the right decions. Check out these excerpts from the Betancourt site and other sites I regularly refer to:


Livestrong: “Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that your body needs in high doses on a daily basis for proper functioning. When you eat carbohydrates, they get converted to glycogen and either used immediately for energy, providing a steady dose of blood sugar, or they are stored in the muscles and liver for energy at a later time. Simple carbs, by contrast, cause a spike in blood sugar that quickly dissipates. For sustained energy, eat foods rich in complex carbs.

USN: “Every time you eat you should have a combination of minimally processed carbs (whole grains, fruits, and veggies), a lean protein, and a healthy fat. By doing this you will control your appetite and your energy levels. By eating these 3 components every 3 hours, your body will be a well-fueled machine. Just remember: 3 in 3! Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle mass, if you go for extended periods of time (4-5 hours or more) your body starts to go into starvation mode. Your body will start to breakdown muscle and hold onto fat! Eating more often will turn your body into a metabolic, lean machine!”

Here are some of my meals from the past week:

Chocolate muffins. A variant of the blueberry muffins. I added 15ml cocoa and 15ml Canderel into the blueberry recipe. Check out Betancourt’s brownie recipe.

2 egg Omlette with a slice of Woolies Rye Bread. All Gold Tomato sauce on it. Good news- it’s one of the few sauces that’s ok to have…it’s loaded with lycopene but more on that in another post.

Woolies chunky cottage cheese on 2 Ryevitas. I mixed a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce, paprika, ground coriander seeds and some pepper into 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese.

High Protein Cocoa muffins. Not the same as the first pic, recipe includes pitted dates. Will be posted soon! Black coffee with Natreen sweetner.

Mugg & Bean scrambled eggs on one slice of rye (60%). Americano, black.

Cajun Chicken Salad. Black Cherry Restaurant at Silverstar


Chicken breasts and steamed mixed veg (woolies)

Cottage cheese, strawberries, a tablespoon of yogurt drizzled with honey

And finally…..the cheat meal:

The Story…

It was women’s day and my best friend, Kim, decided to treat me to a fantastic meal at her favourite Italian restaurant—Maestroantonio in Illovo. The meal was scrumptious and worth the cheat, or sort of, although I need to emphasise you should only have a cheat meal and not a cheat day which is sort of what I did! We spent over five hours at the restaurant and I didn’t finish each meal—yes this helped me sleep better that night!

Jokes aside, days like this will always happen. If it’s not a public holiday it will be a friends birthday, a work function or some type of event. My approach to eating still requires alot of panelbeating but I realised that I cannot make it all about weightloss, it has to be about changing my lifestyle. Yes I can allow myself the odd indulgence every once in a while but I cannot allow myself to get into a guilt trip after every cheat meal. It I make a quality decision about my cheat meals, it will be worth it and probably serve as motivation to get back on track! With this approach you make your cheat meals work for you!

Bread for the table! Bread =vice. In the first few weeks of mt transformation I’d often ask waiters not to bring the house bread…this way I avoided the temptation to eat it! Often the house bread is white bread that is never really that good anyway but not at this restaurant…. OMG: Fresh from the oven, it was amazing and I crumbled and, well, I ate the entire basket with Kim!


Caprese Salad: Buffalo mozarella, Tomato, Avo and Basil. We didn’t finish the salad….This could have been a meal on its own.


My trainer always says we shouldn’t drink our calories….I failed to follow her advice this time but I usually only drink water. I used to love drinking this blood-orange beverage when I lived in Europe! The indulgence continues…


No words can describe this meal: fillet with porcini mushroom sauce and side veggies. I LOVE potatoes just as much as bread….another vice. I normally would have had the steak sans sauce with a side salad. Kim and I shared this and then shared the seafood risotto…


Goodness! What is our calorie count on by this time??? Remember weightloss is not necessarily about counting the calories (what a painful way to live), but rather an understanding that in order to lose weight, energy out should always exceed energy in.

And it’s silly that we often think it’s easier to ‘gym off’ bad eating, if only it were that easy! Do you know that you would have to walk for a minimum of 30mins to burn the energy equivalent of a hot chocolate? So what’s easier?

But we continue….


Prawn Risotto. Simply divine. I was well satiated from the fillet, took this home.


Tiramisu!! The best I have ever had and I really disliked tiramisu before I tasted this one. Taste being the operative word… I didn’t eat the entire dessert, I had a few spoonfulls.


Probably one of my faourite desserts:Crème Brûlé. I didn’t finish this either. It wasn’t the best I’ve had. I ate the burnt sugar crust and left most of the filling.


So…it was a terrible day eating-wise but it will go down as one of my fondest memories of 2012: good food and fantastic company on a significant day and that is worth the extra days of clean eating I’ve had to put in.

Until my next post…























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