“Fitness is like marriage. You can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.”
I know a lot of people live by the rule of having a cheat day, and there are actually articles out there that will tell you why they are good; I am against them. Listen, if you worked a cheat day into your formula, and it’s a mental thing and it works for you, keeping you going without getting off track, then by all means, cheat away! But for me, I’m really against cheat days for numerous reasons. If you’re eating healthy, feeling good, and working hard…why would you want to go off track? Back before you ate healthy, did you have a cheat day where you only ate healthy foods? I doubt it! It sounds ridiculous, but it’s the same analogy. If you end up overeating on your cheat day, you’re probably going to end up being hungrier, which will cause you to eat more. You should plan out your cheat days very carefully. I have the fear of falling back into a black hole. Junk food is addictive. If I have one slice of pizza, I’m afraid that mentally I may say, “Hey, it’s okay to eat pizza every once in awhile now that I have had it.” <—this is not okay! When you allow your body to adjust to healthy foods, reintroducing “bad” foods for one day will definitely not make you feel good. In fact, you cheat on a Friday, and there’s a good chance you will feel it the entire weekend. But alas, if you plan on having a cheat day…plan ahead for it. Perhaps go easy all week, then enjoy the cheat day. I’m not really sure how to justify it honestly; if you think you deserve it, then there ya go!
I’m aware that there are different ways of cheating. You can either go eat a few slices of pizza, maybe have a soda, or you can maybe eat a small piece of chocolate, or have some gluten free pretzels. I have a very strict Paleo diet that I follow, so if I cheat, I’d have to keep it Paleo, which is hard. (I did find this really interesting article on “Paleo Friendly Cheat Days.” If you get a chance, check it out.) A lot of the gluten free items you see on the shelves are not Paleo. The farthest I went on a cheat is eating a gluten free cupcake on Christmas (that someone bought for me), oh and yesterday for my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. My mom made me a gluten free cake with gluten free icing, and I had a piece with my Grandma for her birthday. If cheat days work for you, cheat in moderation. Don’t go for the entire pizza or an entire box of pasta! It’s very easy to be counterproductive on a cheat day. You start eating a gallon of ice cream and half way through it you may just end up talking yourself into finishing it (after you twist your own arm, of course), because you’ll say, “Why not,” right? You don’t want to eat so much that you undo the hard workouts you did all week (yes, this is possible).
I’ve already mentioned it in other blogs, but I had developed a seriously unhealthy addiction to food. I ate, just to eat. I ate because for a few minutes the taste would make me feel better. Paleo has helped me break my addiction in a healthy way. I don’t think that I am deserving of any cheat days yet, or ever. I haven’t earned them. I still think about eating pizza, and while I’m strong enough to say no, I’m just not saying no the way I should be. I believe at this point, my cheat days would be counterproductive. I put too much hard work into it, and cheating would make me feel really guilty. This is just a recipe for disaster. If I feel guilty, I’m afraid I’ll eat out of guilt, thus causing me to eat more and more junk. I get sick and anxious just thinking about that; it’s okay though, because I won’t cheat…it’s just not worth it to me. Besides, I enjoy having self control and discipline. I’m proud of those qualities, and anyway, I found a lot of yummy alternatives and new foods that keep me more than satisfied. You can too!
Tell me about how you feel about cheat days!
“Don’t let the weekends ruin your progress. Fight hard towards self control.”