Cheat days. You know what I’m talking about! Those days when you decide you can eat anything and everything you want because you’ve been doing a good job eating well. I think we should redefine the “cheat day.” Will they get you off track from your goals? It totally depends.
The problem with cheat days is that one cheat meal or three can lead to overeating. The idea of a cheat day is that you get to relax your diet a bit. The problem is that cheating insinuates something bad or wrong. It’s normal to treat yourself on occasion, enjoy food, and to enjoy the social aspects of eating. People that are too strict on “good” days will likely lose less weight than those that treat themselves because they are more likely to overdo their cheat days. By restricting yourself and then eating a large amount of sugar and fat there is a large negative impact on your blood sugar levels. This may leave you feeling groggy and rundown afterwards. I think we should call them “treat days” instead! Eating foods that you enjoy in moderation leaves you with something to look forward too instead of dreading each perfectly healthy and boring meal. Remember to assess your goals and use cheat days to your advantage.
Make “Treat Days” Work for You
- Don’t cheat frequently. And plan around special occasions. One splurge will not ruin your entire lifestyle change. If you have a party, wedding, cookout, or event coming up make sure you use that as your day to enjoy some treats.
- Get moving. Try to still be active on your treat day. Go for a long walk or attend a workout class or do it on a regular training day. This way you will work off some of those extra calories while still getting to indulge a bit.
- Savor every bite. Don’t just scarf down that cupcake! (Of course I would choose a cupcake.) Savor it. This is your treat for working hard so don’t let the moment pass by so quickly.
- Enjoy treats on occasion. Adding some healthy fats here and there or a piece of chocolate after a meal can really boost your mood and help you stay on track. Each day doesn’t have to be made up of just perfectly healthy foods! Naming foods as “good” or “healthy” isn’t a good idea either. Every food fits.