We’ve all heard of the “cheat day.” Some people believe that a cheat day is a way to help keep them on track to meet their fitness goals. However, more often than not, a cheat day can counteract the impacts of a diet and cause damage to the body. They are even worse for individuals who historically have had a disordered relationship with food.
For dieters that follow a plan involving eliminating certain foods aims, these people are often enticed by a “cheat day” that allows them to indulge in those foods. The goal of a cheat day or meal is to help individuals feel as though they aren’t deprived by temporarily allowing them to enjoy whatever foods they want. However, the mindset of a cheat day can set dieters up for failure as many times an individual can consume a whole day’s worth of calories in one meal or more.
Rather than potentially setting oneself up for failure, Christopher Lee recommends a better approach, which is to incorporate treats into a diet so one can indulge in moderation. When individuals follow a healthy lifestyle that allows for occasional treats, they are more likely to stick to their goals.
The word cheat on its own can negatively imply that what you are doing is bad. People can believe that they are ‘good’ if they eat clean and ‘bad’ if they slip up and indulge. As a result, individuals can develop a psychological barrier that is difficult to overcome. Thinking about foods as good or bad can create a sense of morality that is dangerous as one can begin to feel guilty when consuming certain foods.
In addition to creating a sense of guilt, cheat days can also lead to the likelihood of one bingeing or overeating on those days. A cheat day insinuates an “all or nothing” scenario in which someone may feel obliged to consume as much of certain foods as they possibly can. The extra calories can counteract any progress you have made towards your goals. Cheat days don’t allow for individuals to understand how to eat normally.
Additionally, the behavior can also eventually become a factor or common trait that leads to certain eating disorders. Cheat days often set individuals up for bingeing cycles followed by undereating, purging, overexercising, use of laxatives, or other negative behaviors. Those behaviors over time become a new normal, which is an extremely unhealthy way to live.
As some fitness experts believe in a diet mentality, others focus on a healthy lifestyle and regimen that doesn’t involve fad diets. Cheat days feed the diet mentality and can ultimately be a detriment to one’s regular eating habits. As the cheating mindset sets in, overall health may deteriorate, and fitness goals can suffer. Instead, individuals should focus on an overall healthy lifestyle and listen to their bodies. If you have a craving for something sweet, it’s okay to say yes in moderation.
About Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee is a certified fitness trainer from Buffalo, New York. Christopher specializes in designing workouts plans for clients that make them look and feel more athletic, helping them avoid injury. Mr. Lee emphasizes a healthy diet and lifestyle so clients can fuel properly to get the most out of their workouts and reach their fitness goals. When he is not working with his clients, Christopher Lee can be found at a hot yoga class, practicing martial arts, or spending time with his friends and family in Buffalo.