In many parts of the fitness industry, cheat days are highly prized. They are programmed into diets from people bodybuilding, looking to drop some weight, fitness models, etc. It is that one day a week that makes restricting yourself all week well worth it. It is the idea that one cannot have chips today but come Saturday they can have the chips, pizza, ice cream, a juicy burger and bun, nachos, the whatever they could possibly crave in a week all thrown into one day where it is all free game. Who wouldn’t love a day where they can eat anything they want and not feel guilty about it? It is this way of eating is popular because it makes the restrictions, bad moods, and hunger pains during the week all feel worth it while still feeling like there are fewer restrictions on their overall eating.
Another large reason why these diets are recommended to do for some of the previously mentioned lifestyles is that these breaks in the strict dieting can actually help you lose weight over time, however, the reality of the matter might be a little different. What goes overlooked a lot of the time, but something worth taking seriously is what this can do to someone mentally. In fact, the mentality surrounding cheat days can end up being detrimental to both the body and mind.
Cheat days tend to increase the desirability of certain restricted foods by making them feel off-limits during a particular period, six days a week, but then not off limits for one day. More often than not what happens is that people tend to go a little too hard on the food they have been craving all week on their cheat day. The tendency to eat more than they actually need comes from the fact that the person knows they can’t eat them for another six days so they try to literally eat as many as they can in their one day.
Another big problem that can arise is a very negative view of food, which can lead to self-punishment can develop. This attitude can facilitate overeating to the extremes on cheat days that cancel out the progress from the whole week all together. Plus, some of the more common foods that you’re likely to overindulge in on cheat days tend to the be the addictive sugary ones which then makes your body crave them even more once you start eating them. Introducing these foods back into your system each week, will then never leave your system completely.
Of course, if being restrictive all week plus one cheat day a week works for you, then by all means more power to you. We are not suggesting one way or the other. We are merely trying to shine the light on the side of this way of eating that usually gets overlooked or that people recommending this way of eating don’t warn people about. If the mental aspect of it is super challenging then there is no reason why you can’t eat a more balanced diet. Take away the idea of full cheat days and try using moderation to ration out your favorite foods throughout the week. This is a great way to not feel restricted while most likely not overeating either.
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