On your journey to losing weight, living a healthier life, or both, you might have been exposed to delectable. Chocolates, ice creams, pizzas, hamburgers, fried chickens, cake. Food that floats you away into another vortex in space that rains gumdrops and taffy.
But, that food isn’t really nutritious food. Pizza does has cheese in it, so that’s calcium and protein, but it’s also smothered in oil and fat. Ever touch something so greasy, that it left grease blots on your napkin? But in the same vein, it was oh so good?
Cheat days are days dedicated to the guiltless consumption of these comfort foods. Some people think they’re required, and others would advise against it in fear of setting back weight goals. Here’s our take on it.
Bad food is addictive. One reason America is so obese is because junk food is so GOOD. And there’s a reason it’s scrumptious. Harmful ingredients like trans fats have been shown to be rather addictive.
Certain companies use a potpourri of “I don’t know what this crap is, but it tastes good” ingredients in their foods as well—simply because it tastes good. And it’s for this reason that when you go on this cheat day, you might not stop. You’ll continue to feed yourself with nutrition-lacking ingredients because why just stop at a cheat day, you know?
Now, if you’re a strong willed person, this doesn’t apply to you. That’s the beauty of willpower. You’re able to overcome physiological obstacles that are tricking you into wanting something you don’t need.
Cheating will set you back from your goals. Okay, this is a reach, because a cheat day won’t set you back from your weight goals that much. According to Mayo Clinic, you’ve got to really eat like you’re getting paid for it. There are about 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. That means you’ve got to eat 3,500 calories in ADDITION to what you already eat if you’re planning on gaining weight in one day.
Cheat days allow you to enjoy social events. Food brings people together. Social events with your friends and family will almost always include food, and this won’t always be the healthiest of foods. Maybe you have a dinner date with your friends at one of your favorite restaurants. Maybe you have, I don’t know, holiday parties! And because you don’t want to be tempted by comfort foods, you decide jst not to go. You’re missing out on spending time with friends and family because of food? What kind of diet is that?
Cheat days make you feel more motivated to get back on track. Have you ever ate something delicious but right before, you compromised with yourself to say that you’re going to work out extra hard tomorrow? Putting a little spice in your diet can act as motivation for you to keep going.
But after a while, your taste buds will adapt to your healthier lifestyle. You’ll find that the foods you once loved are only good in moderation. You’ll start gravitating towards more healthy food.
Cheat days make your diet feel more doable: Do you think you’re going to enjoy eating the same types of foods every single day for the rest of your life? That’s why several of these strict and specific diets fail, according to UCLA reporters.
And when I say “diet,” I mean the ordinary foods we may eat. The word “diet” isn’t a bad word. It’s been confused with specific diets over the years, but everyone is on a diet. Atkins, low-carb, healthy, unhealthy. Just to put that out there.
A healthy diet is more forgiving and more open to a variety of foods. It’s not necessarily a diet where you ONLY eat healthy foods, but most of the foods you eat are nutritious and promote long life and a strong body.
I’m guessing you can understand what we’re in favor of from the list above. Cheat days are awesome!
There is a study that also agrees. The study from the Journal of Consumer Psychology analyzed the effect of deviations (my new favorite word) on a person’s goals. To explain in regular people terms, the study found that straying every now and then from your goals can actually help you reach those goals. Cheating can help with self-regulation and motivation, the study also supports. Not to mention, the experience and the overwhelming euphoria we are left with when we indulge keeps us in a positive attitude, which are important in keeping long-term goals. You won’t ever feel like you’re missing out on anything.
On a slight tangent, the study also analyzed how cheating on your financial savings plans can also help you reach your financial goals. Splurges help in all aspects!
But the study does mention that these are splurges. You can’t just go to a place and sporadically decide you are going to cheat. That defeats the purpose.
And another thing, just because you CAN indulge in cheat days, doesn’t mean you should. Eating a whole bunch of junk for one day may even be too much for the hungriest Burger King fans. People often refer to cheat meals instead: it’s more self-regulated and less impulsive.
And if you’re JUST getting in the hang of eating healthy, I wouldn’t hop on the cheat train just yet. It takes a while to get adjusted to healthy foods (because they’re not dumped in sugar and carcinogenic additives). If you’ve only lost one pound out of 70,I’d skip out on the cheat days for now.
But if not, enjoy! Enjoy spending time with each other during the holiday season. Enjoy having the freedom to regulate. Enjoy the fact that you can eat whatever, and can control yourself to not eat whenever. Instead of stressing over small things like calories, enjoy the greater things in life.