So far in this series, we have covered the benefits, purpose and use of both a refeed and a diet break. If you haven’t had a chance to read about those, be sure to click on the links and check those out – they are full of solid content. To round out our dieting strategy series here on the blog, we are going to be talking all things UNTRACKED MEALS. You may be wondering…is that the same thing as a “cheat” meal? Ah, stay tuned as we are going to dive into the differences between those two phrases and how we, as Audacious Athletes coaches, feel about the phrase “cheat” meal.
So then, WHAT is an untracked meal exactly?
An untracked meal is a designated or scheduled SINGULAR meal where calories and/or macros are not tracked. This is typically just 1 meal where an individual who is currently tracking their intake takes a break from doing so. This break allows them to eat this designated meal solely off of their desires AND hunger cues. It’s important that hunger cues are still heavily considered during an untracked meal so that overconsumption and eating to over-fullness doesn’t occur. Remember, this is NOT a “cheat” or all-out meal where eating anything and everything is the goal. In fact, we believe as coaches that untracked meals should only be “prescribed” to individuals or clients who have a healthy relationship with food. Another important thing to note here is that this designed meal should not be the only meal consumed for that day. In fact, individuals should be encouraged to eat regulated meals throughout the day.
So when should a coach or individual implement untracked meals?
There are several reasons and scenarios when a coach could prescribe an untacked meal, but as coaches we typically will implement one when one of these three scenarios are present:
· If we are noticing adherence issues. A short, mental break from tracking to allow a higher calorie intake.
· If a client has reached their threshold when it comes to food intake, but still requires an overall higher weekly calorie intake (this would only apply to individuals who are trying to push a caloric surplus).
· If a client has a specific period of higher social gatherings that revolve around food (things like holidays, vacations, etc.)
While this post is specifically talking about untracked meals during deficit phases, know that untracked meals can (and often do) occur during ALL intake phases – reverse, maintenance and surplus. *Curious as to what these are? We have blog posts that cover all of them! Click on each to learn more.
That’s all for this dieting strategy series, BUT, as promised we are going to cover CHEAT MEALS and how these are different than an untracked meal and our personal opinions on them in the next post. Stay tuned!