Oh how we love our cheat days. The days we set aside as the day or days of the week we can eat whatever we want. The term is thrown around quite a bit. You will hear the term “cheat day” when you speak with anyone who is new to a diet routine and is working on their diet discipline. We want to identify the day we can aim for as our reward for struggling through the diet days. We want to be able to count the days we have to live in our diet hell before we get some relief when cheat day is finally here. But let’t talk about what cheat days actually are.
What They Actually Are
Cheat days are a way of saying we are not where we want to be yet. We want to have a good diet but know we can’t go “cold turkey.” So, we give ourselves these little reprieves in hopes that it convinces us we can hold on till then. There is nothing wrong with this. It is a great way to get started, and a key way in how the 5and2Guy suggests you get started. But cheat days need to be something we do temporarily. Cheat days are a step along our path to where we want to be. As we get further along our path of success we need to move away from cheat days and on to something better.
A System of Dieting
Whenever I heard the word “diet,” I would think of something you do temporarily to lose weight. But it is much more than that. A diet is a system by which you consume food for a certain purpose. True, that can be for enjoyment, but some take that a bit too far. This is why America is one of the most obese countries in the world. We need to look at our eating as a system we are constantly tweaking and improving upon. A system where we are balancing our health goals with our enjoyment. That’s not to say that healthy eating is not enjoyable.
Healthy Eating Can Be Enjoyable
I eat pretty healthy and enjoy most of what I eat. I have found a good balance across all the major food groups and am pretty happy with everything I eat, both the health benefits and enjoyment I get from them. I don’t really enjoy the cans of tunafish twice a week, but it is pretty good for my overall health and good for my eyes, so I suck it up. Your task is to train yourself to like the things that are healthy for you. This may seem tough, but it is doable through repetition and finding the right mix of foods. Once you find this right mix, it is bye bye cheat days.
Bye Bye Cheat Days
Once you establish a solid system of eating, you will notice that “cheat days” are no longer a thing for you. When you get into the habit of eating healthy foods and establish a great system of eating, it is no longer a diet. It is just what you do. You will tend to do this all the time. Some where along the way you won’t have cheat days anymore. You may have days where you are a little more lax, but still have healthy eating in mind. This means you may eat something that is not so great for you, but it will be less frequent and become the exception. For example, I have pretty much given up eating big bowls of ice cream. There are no more cheat days for them, but there are exceptions. For example, this past Sunday was Father’s Day, and I had me a big bowl of Cookies ’n Cream ice cream. That was an exception!!!
Cheat days can be great, especially when you are first starting out. They can help you get through the tough days while you are establishing good eating habits. As your diet gets better and better, cheat days will become days where you are a little more loose with what you eat, but still have the healthy eating in back of your mind. Finally, as your system of eating is fully established, you will start to have exceptions. These exceptions are when you eat something and you say to yourself, “I don’t typically eat this way, but I will allow it this one time.” A diet, like life, is a balancing act. You have to continuously work at it and “cheat days” can help get you there. The main thing is to establish a healthy plan, be consistent, and do your best. We reach success one step at a time, and with each step in the right direction, we are winning!!!