If you like most people, the words "cheat day" makes you cringe.
You think of it as a free-for-all, where you can eat anything and everything in sight without consequence.
But what if I told you that cheat days could actually help you reach your fitness goals?
In this article, we’ll go over why you should start eating cheat food daily (yes, daily).
What Is A Cheat Meal?
A cheat meal is a term used by dietitians and fitness enthusiasts to describe a planned meal that allows someone to deviate from their normal healthy eating habits.
The purpose of a cheat meal is to provide a mental and physical break from restrictive dieting and to prevent feelings of deprivation that can lead to binge eating.
A cheat meal typically contains high-calorie foods that are typically avoided when trying to lose weight, such as pizza, burgers, or desserts.
While there are no hard and fast rules about what can be included in a cheat meal, it is generally agreed that cheat meals generally have nothing to do with the standard ‘healthy’ food.
Still, a cheat meal should not be an all-out free-for-all but rather a controlled indulgence that helps keep dieters on track in the long run.
Cheat Meal VS Cheat Day
A cheat meal is like a gateway drug to a cheat day (figuratively speaking.)
It starts innocently enough, just one little burger with fries or a slice of pie.
But before you know it, you're eating everything in sight and telling yourself that you'll start your diet again just tomorrow.
And we all know how that story goes.
The next thing you know, it's a week later, and you're still eating junk food and feeling guilty about it.
So if you're thinking about cheating on your diet, be warned: a cheat meal can quickly turn into a full-blown cheat day.
And that's not something you want to happen.
This is why you should...
Make It Regular!
If you make cheat meals a regular thing, you will have fewer cravings for junk food because.
Simply put, the less you're having something, the more special it becomes.
And vice versa- if you have cheat food frequently, it just won't be that special.
So if you want to keep those cravings at bay, making your cheat meals occasional will help to keep junk food feeling like a real treat.
Not to mention, it'll help prevent any weight gain from all those extra calories you are otherwise likely to consume when the cheating day finally comes around.
For most people, this may sound counterintuitive, but in reality, as long as it's done in moderation and you meet your daily caloric needs, it will do more good than harm.
When we work with clients, even if they're trying to lose weight, we make sure that up to 5-10% of their daily calories come from less nutritious, cheat foods.
And that is the secret - as long as you keep the balance in favor of nutritious foods, it is okay to snack on your favorite junk, even daily!
So, should you eat cheat meals every day to actually avoid binging in the long run?
The answer is YES!
That is if you have good self-control. While there are benefits to cheating regularly, it’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you.
If eating a cheat meal makes you feel guilty or like you’ve failed, then it’s probably not worth it.
But if a little bit of cheating here and there keeps you on track and prevents feelings of deprivation, go for it!
What do you think – is cheating daily right for you? Comment below and let's discuss!