Even writing the word “cheat day” makes my brain get weird.
The basic premise of a cheat day or meal(s) are to give you a break mentally and physically, if you’ve been “dieting” or eating “clean” for a specific amount of time (Ha – I can’t even write these words anymore without using quotations!). Typically, people would schedule these more carb or calorie dense meals once a week or every 10 days.
This works extremely well for some. Especially, for those who might be dieting down for a competition or other extreme measure where diet is tightly controlled for a specific mean (e.g. to get to a certain body fat %-age by a certain date).
And, the truth is, I used to do this. I used to plan my Friday or Saturday night as the day where I could eat anything and everything I wanted. Ooooh, yes! Pizza, wine, cookies, candy, oh my! As I’ve told you before, this often didn’t just start and end on one specific day or night but would spill over the whole weekend.
The binge-deprive cycle would rear it’s ugly head. Clean eating through the week, disaster over the weekend. Feel like garbage Monday morning, exercise hard, zapped energy levels, binge come Friday, annnnnd repeat. Gross.
Something my coach, Jill Coleman, often says totally hit the nail on the head for me:
It just doesn’t feel that good to eat anything and everything you want.
She’s right, isn’t she? It just doesn’t. When you think you want to eat all the nachos, all the beer, all the cupcakes, and then you do it. Then what? How do you feel? Like total, complete crap. It doesn’t make you feel amazing AT ALL.
You feel bloated, have no energy, guilty, depressed, even.
For me, mentally and physically (and emotionally) I just can’t handle cheat days. I cannot handle the idea of saving up my indulgences for this one occasion throughout the week, because truth is – I’ll lose my mind with it. And, I’ll end up feeling like garbage. Which, I effing hate. I like to feel energized, “light”, strong, peaceful – these are good for me.
I just eat nutritious foods, most of the time. I eat my treats whenever the hell I want to eat my treats and this happens to be quite regularly 😉 Because, that gives ME the power of choice. I often tell my clients that, “It’s just food.” Let some ease into your life surrounding food. Restricting myself makes me a crazy person – maybe not even in that moment, but eventually, the crazy will come.
I asked on Facebook yesterday for your opinion on cheat days and one of my friends commented back with my own advice, which was, “Don’t let your attachment to your schedule do more harm than good for your body and mind.”
Bottom line: if the idea of saving up for cheat days and meals makes you crazy, stop doing them. If it’s causing you more mental and physical stress than enjoyment, cut ’em.