It's challenging to say no to the many temptations that abound in the world of food. From doughnuts to French fries, there's always another tasty, but high-calorie, snack to test your willpower. Some people solve this problem by having a "cheat day". A cheat day is a 24-hour period where you throw aside the principles of clean eating - and eat what you want. Is a cheat day a good idea?
The Pros and Cons of Having a Cheat Day
A cheat day is a license to indulge in treats you wouldn't normally eat without guilt. This, hopefully, gets them out of your system until the next cheat day arrives. For some people a cheat day is psychologically rewarding, because it gives them something to look forward to and relieves feelings of deprivation. It's like working all week at a job and being rewarded with a carefree day of fun - only in this case the fun involves food. For some, a cheat day makes it easier to go back to clean eating.
On the other hand, for some people a cheat day is more like smoking a cigarette after they've struggled to kick the habit. Indulging in decadent treats only makes them crave more. In this case, a cheat day may cause a clean eater to "fall off the wagon" and shamefacedly go back to their bad eating habits "with pie on their face". Cheat days taken to the extreme can also cause tummy aches from overindulging. The key is to know how you respond to a cheat day.
Should You Have a Day Where You Eat What You Want?
A modified form of cheat day is a safe bet for most people. Instead of indulging in every high-calorie food you can cram into a 24-hour period, have a cheat meal instead. It's possible to throw down enough calories on a cheat day to sabotage your weight, whereas this is unlikely with a cheat meal. In fact, a cheat meal can actually shock your metabolism into working harder for you in the upcoming days. A single decadent meal will make you feel less guilty too.
Cheat Day vs. Cheat Meal: The Bottom Line?
If you can handle a cheat day without sabotaging your weight, do it, but a better option is to have a cheat meal weekly where you eat what you want. After you do, you can happily go back to clean eating.
On Fitness Magazine. Volume 11, No. 4. 2011. "The Importance of the Cheat Day"
It is a common phenomenon among we humans to have a skewed and often incorrect perception of our bodies. Many professionals attribute this to an environmental, biological, developmental and/or traumatic genesis. Some people merely feel uncomfortable in their clothes while others engage in life-threatening behaviors because they are convinced, rightly or wrongly, that they need to lose weight. The external focus is on weight loss although the internal motivations are much deeper.
If you think you need a weight loss regimen, first check your body mass index (BMI) with your physician. BMI is a ratio of your height to your weight. Where you fall on the chart will indicate if you actually do need to lose some extra pounds, or if you fall within the normal range. This can be of assistance if you have a child that insists on losing weight when they look perfectly fine. If this happens, or if your child or loved one exhibits abnormal behaviors regarding food or exercise, like binging, purging or extreme exercise regimens, please help them get medical attention immediately.
The extreme behaviors surrounding weight loss can produce life-threatening results such as morbid obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke among others. These practices are so punishing on the body, the results will be felt years later. Even exercise can be abused to the point of damaging the body. People with these conditions are often obsessively afraid of gaining weight and will do anything to prevent that. Other clues to eating disorders are the comments made by the person with the condition. They will make statements that are negative and self-directed. Listen for these - they are very telling.
Almost everyone would like to experience some amount of weight loss. This can be done in a healthy and life-affirming way. Proper nutrition and exercise are the ways to make a positive change for the better. You will find that as you work your program your energy, sleep and self-perception will improve. Proper activity has a healing effect on the psyche. Extreme measures are never the answer and should never even be experimented with by anyone at any age.