Cheat Days: Pros and Cons
I wanted to make a post about this since I’m officially on day 15 of my detox diet and had an extreme sweet craving this morning. Surprisingly I haven’t cheated on this diet even though I’ve experienced plenty of strong cravings. I was so close to driving to my nearest Dunkin Donuts and getting myself some fancy drink and a chocolate donut but I had the willpower to stop myself. I’m not usually this good on diets since my motto is to have 2 cheat days a week (I cheat on weekends) to keep myself sane. I guess the only reason I’m being so good this time around is because I’m on a detox which is different from a regular diet (more on that in a later post). While some people may agree with me, others might call themselves more disciplined and don’t believe in cheat days. So let’s talk about it.
There’s nothing I’ve come to despise more than dieting. I’m frequently dieting (I’m a yo-yo dieter, which by the way isn’t healthy) because I get a little too comfortable with sweets once I reach my goal weight. It seems I can only control my sweet tooth when I’m dieting ( a gift and a curse) which led me to fully embrace cheat days. So what are the pros and cons?
Helps keep cravings under control: The more you ignore your cravings, with the exception of those first few days of dieting “Dealing With Sugar Withdrawal”, the more likely you are to overindulge when you finally break down and can’t resist any longer.
Encourages normal eating behavior: For the most part, your average person isn’t eating super clean like an athlete, bodybuilder, or vegan. It’s expected for someone to eat junk food, in moderation of course.
Keeps you motivated: It can give you something to look forward to every week. Rewarding yourself for good eating behavior during the week can make it not feel like such a chore. It’s all about feeling normal and not super restricted.
It’s easy to overindulge: We all know how good cheat food is, whether you’re a sweets person or a savory person. It’s easy to get lost in the deliciousness of the food and forget when to stop eating (I’m guilty of this).
Can prolong weight loss: Related to the last point, if you’re prone to overindulging, you’re more likely to have to wait longer to see results on the scale.
Can lead to feelings of guilt: If you’re an emotional softy like me, you’ll likely feel extremely guilty after. This can lead to an unhealthy overcompensation of under eating.
So what are some other things to consider? Well, for those who are completely against cheat days, you might be more comfortable with a cheat meal/meals. Instead of pigging out the entire day and then worrying about all the water weight you gained (yes, significant weight gain OR loss in one day is completely related to water weight), you can pick one meal to pig out on. This is personally what I do. I choose weekends to eat dessert and then for the rest of the week I stick to portion control and not eating any sweets.
If you want to do a full cheat day, it’s suggested to do only one a week. If you want to do a cheat meal, it’s suggested that you do only one a day. This is where I come in and say it’s ok to do a cheat meal twice a week. It didn’t prolong my weight loss versus if I didn’t have any cheat meals whatsoever.
Are you a fan of cheating when on a diet? If you do cheat, are you a cheat day or cheat meal type of person? Let know in the comments! Also, wish me luck that I don’t cheat on my diet. I’m halfway through and have lost a good amount of weight!