There are various methods of losing weight, many of which include cheat days. The idea behind cheat days is simple: dieters spend a week or up to a month closely sticking to their eating regime then have one day where they can indulge. Although cheat days might seem like an effective way of indulging in moderation, they can be problematic.
Cheat Days Can be Disruptive
Cheat days don’t always stay as just one day. They can turn into weeks or longer because a single day of heavy indulgence can derail an entire diet. This sort of routine can have a negative impact on regular eating habits. Cheat days can make it difficult to find any sort of balance.
An Ineffective Way to Deal with Junk Food Cravings?
Cheat days appear to be a solution to the cravings people naturally have when on a diet. In fact, craving food that is tasty but otherwise unhealthy is perfectly normal and eating these foods in moderation won’t negatively impact your health overall. However, the cheat days focus less on moderation and more on the extremes of eating; deprivation and overindulgence.
Earning Your Cheat Days
Food turns into a currency, because you can’t have a cheat day unless you’ve avoided cheat foods for a designated period of time. Essentially, you have to eventually feel like you’ve earned your allowed indulgence so that any feelings of guilt can be avoided.
Unfortunately, using food as a reward creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Eating foods that are viewed as cheats but not on a designated day can create negative feelings of failure and guilt.
Try to be Mindful
The cheat model can work well for some people and still promote a healthy relationship with food. This can be done through eating mindfully, by honouring hunger and fullness cues and eating what you desire whilst being mindful of your health.
True moderation can come with making sensible choices regarding food. This includes balancing meals with plenty of vegetables, lean protein, good fats and slow releasing carbohydrates. At the same time, if you feel like indulging don’t feel guilty but rather enjoy it.