If you’ve drastically changed your diet lately (and/or combined it with a high intensity workout plan), then you deserve a pat on the back, a handshake or maybe even a crown! That’s not easy to do, and it’s even harder to keep up, day after day…week after week. That’s where a day to ‘cheat’ on your diet can be helpful. So, what’s the problem with cheat days? A few things—and this article will address them all.
Think Before Your Cheat
One of the biggest problems with a cheat day is right there in the name. ‘Cheat’ days from the beginning send a subconscious message that the person participating in it, is ‘cheating’ on their diet—and therefore, already failing! For example, if you are eating clean Monday through Saturday, and allow a ‘cheat day’ on Sunday to indulge in tacos with your family (load it up with extra guacamole and sour cream, please!) is that one cheat day turning into two cheat days, or three, or four?
The word ‘cheat’ can mess with your subconscious, because it can easily send the message you’re failing, and a “why not give up now” attitude. So, ask yourself: “How do I feel after I cheat on my diet? Do I feel good, or guilty? Do I feel deserving, or shameful of my cheat meal?” If you feel deserving of a cheat meal, then you may not have trouble jumping right back onto your diet the next day. But, if indulging in a higher than usual fat or carb-heavy meal makes you feel discouraged, skip the meal and stay on track. How you feel can make a drastic difference on the motivation in which you move forward.
strawberries-1221324_640Here are some tips for cheating reasonably—one that won’t deprive you of reaching future weight loss or fitness milestones:
• Pack on the flavor. Add some salt to sliced tomatoes, or pack on red pepper flakes on your roasted broccoli. When you add a greater flavor to healthy foods, you will feel more enticed to continue eating healthy food.
• Fill yourself up (and you will eat less). If you’re wanting to chow down on a delicious stir fry, add a few fried eggs in there for an extra protein kick. Having friends over? Indulge in an assortment of gorgeous fruit you can dip into a dark chocolate sauce.
Think before you cheat on your diet—even during a designated day, because if it’s interfering with your confidence, or if having a cheat meal of enchiladas or lasagna is going to affect your motivation moving forward during the week, don’t indulge. Instead, cook a cheat meal that you enjoy, and one in which you are in control of the ingredients you use—and the portions you dish out!