I had never heard about cheat days until after I lost my 150 pounds. Then, I started hearing about them from friends and reading them about them in weight loss books. Now, I see them mentioned on occasion and it makes me wonder. I did not have cheat days during my journey. I messed up every now and then, but I tried to be consistent with my food and exercise choices. I did choose to eat dessert or candy on occasion, but never had a day set aside to eat whatever I wanted.
A cheat day gives a “dieter” the chance to eat anything they want to for a whole day or perhaps just one meal. You might save up your cheat calories and have a big restaurant meal or choose a special ice cream treat. Or maybe on that day you choose to just snack on foods you would not normally eat. However you might do it – is it a good idea?
Here are my thoughts:
♦In my mind, a cheat day might mean you are thinking of your eating plan as a temporary diet rather than a lifestyle change. If you are changing your relationship to food forever, then there is no reason to cheat, because you are just living life. Does that mean you can’t have the occasional brownie or piece of pie? No. If you choose to have those desserts once in a while, make it a choice that fits within your lifestyle.
♦If you are someone who struggles with controlling their sugar or processed food cravings, then a cheat day might set you up for failure. Oftentimes, if we crave those foods and then eat them to excess we might find ourselves on a “roll” and have a hard time stopping.
♦If you go all week eating a really clean, healthy diet but all you can think about is your cheat day coming up is that a healthy thing? Would it make you see that cheat day as a reward for good behaviour? It might, and when you do reach your goal you may still see food as a reward, which can hurt your maintenance efforts.
You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of cheat days, but I’m very interested to hear what you all think.
Is there any benefit to having a cheat day while you are losing weight? Diane