I have never, ever allowed myself a cheat day. And the reason is I just don’t think they’re necessary. And I know I may not be in the majority on this one. Most workout programs I follow mention cheat days. As do much of what I read online. However, they just don’t work for me.
Maybe it’s my personality. One cheat day will lead to two and then three. Or, it could really be that I allow every day to be a cheat day. And by that, I mean I eat in balance.
Eating in Balance Instead of Regular Cheat Days
I have indeed switched my focus time and again when it comes to my eating over the years. But never have I ever felt the need to establish a regular day of the week to allow myself to cheat. Honestly, I feel like I would be nauseous if I did that. If I shocked my healthy system with grease and the like, I can’t imagine how my stomach would feel.
If I had to guess it would be bloated, crampy, uncomfortable, gassy, etc. I don’t think my body would absorb cheat foods well, and I’m okay with that. I don’t want it to.
I feel strongly that there should be something to look forward to every day. Whether it be a snack or a burger. But that can be done in moderation and with a healthy balance to it, so again, no need for a cheat day.
One of my favorite things ever is chocolate. Of course, it’s really milk chocolate that I love, however it’s dark chocolate that I eat. And I enjoy it, every day. Some days it’s right after breakfast, or just before lunch. Or it’s a small square for a snack in the evening.
Personally, I’d rather have a piece of dark chocolate once a day rather than a full bar of milk chocolate once a week. I can’t imagine not having chocolate all week and saving it for the same day I’m allowing myself a burger and fries. Again, I just think I’d feel yucks.
If I’m craving something then I eat it. Just the healthiest version of it that I can. And I know that I don’t overdo it.
Keeping It Healthy
I’m also a sucker for pizza and burgers. But instead of going all out with either of them, I make them myself and ensure that they are made with ingredients I want in my body.
For my burgers, I use grass-fed beef or make a black bean burger instead. It depends on what I’m craving and I find a healthier way to make it. That way I can have it any day I would like to instead of just on a cheat day.
I also find that on cheat days people don’t look for the healthier option. Since it’s a ‘cheat’ day people go all out and load on the toppings, stop at a fast food joint, or don’t care how greasy their burger is.
Adjusting to having a healthier option allows you to keep something you really enjoy on your regular menu. And when something isn’t forbidden then it’s not as craveable.
When you say no to something you really want, it just makes you want it more. So figure out how to have it, whether it’s in moderation or a healthier version.
Sustainable Treats Instead of Cheat Days
I haven’t been one to go from diet to diet, but I do know others that have and watched them experience diet fatigue. And unfortunately, they almost all have lost total control of their healthy eating, lost ground, gained weight, experienced depression, and/or simply given up.
They also relied very heavily on their cheat days for happiness within their strict diets. If this sounds like you, it doesn’t have to be this way.
My dark chocolate example above is a sustainable treat that is part of my daily eating. You can keep a balance for your mind and body by not completely eliminating things you love. Having a ‘treat’ is enjoyable, and maybe even a little rewarding. There is no reason to put all of your rewards into one day.
By spreading out your cheats into treats throughout the week your body and mind aren’t yo-yo-ing back and forth as much. You will also be much happier and not as irritable since you aren’t constantly suppressing yourself with something you want.
The idea is to set yourself up for success. Don’t make it too difficult to enjoy things that you love. The more you limit yourself the harder the process of maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be.
I love soups and it turns out that most soups have a ton of sodium and other unhealthy ingredients that you don’t realize. So I make my own. Check out my Autumn Squash & Leek Soup recipe – it’s one of my faves!
What is your favorite healthier version of a cheat snack or meal? Tell me in the comments below.