“Cheat Days” have become a popular dieting strategy. Because a lot of diets are very strict and require a lot of effort, people take a cheat day, or a break from the pattern. They have a day where they eat whatever they want and stop their diet plan for a day.
With a well thought-out eating plan for weight loss, you shouldn’t feel the need to have a cheat day. It is possible to eat foods that are familiar and make you happy, and still lose weight. It is better to eat those foods as part of your plan, rather than breaking your plan to eat them. Here’s why.
Let’s examine a scenario where you take a cheat day once a week. When you take a cheat day, you go out to a restaurant and eat your favorite foods. Then, you go to a friend’s house and go for a cook-out. On the way home, you and the family get ice cream and you get a Sunday. By the end of the day you have eaten 2,800 calories on your cheat day when your target for weight loss was 1700- off by 1,100 calories too many!
The impact of a cheat day on your progress can only be understood by remembering how hard you worked to reduce your calories all week. By following your plan and reducing your intake by 300 calories per day, you created an 1,800 calorie reduction over six days towards your fat loss. On the seventh day, if you have a cheat day like the one described quite a bit of your hard work is erased. Your weight loss will be slower- much slower- with cheat days like this.
Cheat days come from a diet culture that claims you can’t eat foods you enjoy while losing weight. They promote an unsustainable cycle of being strict or “good” about food, and then “letting go” or “being bad” about food. None of this is necessary to lose weight. That is why you will see fun and commonly consumed foods as options when you build your eating plan for this program.
If you are craving something specific, rather than taking a cheat day, talk with your doctor or nutritionist about how to fit that food into your weight loss eating plan. Also, remember that this weight loss treatment where you must carefully track your food does not last forever. It is a temporary 16-week program. You can gain a lot of health for taking care of your eating for a brief period of time.