Cheat days can keep you stuck in the dieting cycle. Skip the cheat meal or cheat day, and find more balance in your diet by learning how to indulge more consciously!
You’ve probably seen the images on social media of a giant greasy burger and fries or a big piece of cake covered in buttercream frosting with the caption, “Cheat Day!” Or maybe you’ve been out with a friend and she declares that it’s her cheat day so she can order whatever she wants.
What is a cheat day? It’s basically a day that you’re allowed “cheat” on your diet and eat whatever you want. As a health coach, the terms cheat day or cheat meal make me cringe.
If you feel like you have to cheat on your diet, then your diet is most likely too strict. You’re probably feeling really deprived and restricted with your diet, which is causing you to use your cheat day as an excuse to have some freedom.
But cheating also leads to feeling guilty because you feel like you’re doing something wrong. When we feel guilty about eating something that’s not allowed, it could lead to being more restrictive and more bingeing. That restrict/binge cycle is a form of disordered eating, and can cause a lot of stress and self-esteem issues.
When we feel guilty or shame about eating a certain food, it’s usually harder to enjoy it. Wouldn’t it be so much better to have a piece of cake and enjoy every single bite without connecting those bites to your self-worth?
Having cheat days means you’ve labeled food as either good or bad. The foods you eat on non-cheat days are good and the foods you eat on cheat days are bad. What if you looked at food as being neutral, neither good nor bad? When we take away the idea that food is bad, then we can begin to shed our guilt when eating that food.
I’m opposed to cheat days and cheat meals because I don’t believe that strict food rules serve us in a positive way. When we eat more intuitively or mindfully, we can just enjoy whatever it is that we’re eating because it’s coming from an empowered place.
Being empowered when it comes to indulging in certain foods simply means paying attention to your cravings. Why do you have a specific craving? Could you eat something more nourishing that would satisfy your craving? Or is that cookie truly the only thing that will do?
There is room in your diet for green smoothies, kale salads, roasted Brussels sprouts and brownies.
Eating this way is a conscious indulgence, a term coined by Keri Glassman, registered dietitian and founder of Nutritious Life. Keri believes that cheat days or cheat meals create negative energy around food. “The cheat meal concept completely diminishes the empowering good vibes you get from all the hard work and excellent choices you make most of the time.” (source)
Find out how to let go of food guilt, eat what you enjoy and lose weight for good! I know exactly what it’s like to be trying to lose weight and be consumed by thinking about what I can and can’t eat, and feel guilty when I eat a “bad” food. Food guilt can send you on a spiral of eating more unhealthy foods, which can cause you to feel like a failure and give up on your weight loss efforts. Learning how to eat mindfully can help you shed your food guilt for good! LEARN MORE HERE