Once upon a time, dieting meant sticking to an extremely strict eating regimen. Egg whites were for breakfast, celery and tuna in water were for lunch, and dinner literally resembled rabbit food. If people cheated on their diets, they’d fall apart in a tailspin of self loathing, racked with guilt over their inability to stick to their admittedly tasteless eating plans. Luckily, times changed and people learned that strict diets like that were doomed to fail.
People couldn’t be expected to reasonably sustain in what essentially amounted to starvation mode. Nowadays, people are taught to eat sensibly, not deprive themselves and have cheat days.
If you’re in the middle of losing weight and you’ve never heard of a cheat day, you’re possibly in for a real treat. You’ve probably gotten to the point where you understand that in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off, you can’t permanently deprive yourself of the foods you love.
Whether you’ve learned to treat yourself once in a while or you’ve figured out healthy and delicious food swaps, you’ve learned to give in a little. You may not have realized, however, that you can give in in a big way and still lose weight. You can do that by enjoying cheat days.
What exactly is a cheat day?
A cheat day is the one day a week when you can go off your prescribed eating plan and eat whatever you wish. You shouldn’t mistake it as a day to lose all control and devour everything you want from sunup to sundown.
Instead, look at it as that day of the week when you can enjoy the foods and drinks that you usually try to avoid as you go through your weight loss journey.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, it could be the one day of the week when allow yourself to enjoy a couple of hot buttered rolls.
For people who’ve sworn off alcohol because of the sheer amount of sugar and calories, a glass of wine on cheat day can be an exciting and much looked forward to reward.
What are the benefits of a cheat day?
Cheat days are great because they’re a psychological boost. Knowing that there’s going to be one day every week where you can have the foods and drinks you love can help you stick to your healthy eating plan. The total ban on favorite foods is what dieters did in the past. Today, knowing that nothing is completely off limits is what makes dieting bearable. There’s also scientific data that supports having cheat days.
Before cheat days became popular, some people noticed that if they’d reached a plateau in their weight loss, eating a forbidden treat like a chocolate bar or some other type of treat often jump started their stalled weight loss. This happens because temporarily veering off of a strict eating plan can help jump start your metabolism, resulting in a continuation of weight loss.
Remember, stick to your health and diet plan as much as you can, but mix it up with a weekly cheat day. Your body and soul will thank you.