The Cheat Day Mentality
You probably hear the encouragement of a “cheat day” all the time. It’s like we’ve said before, every fitness and health goal comes with some adjustments. Fitness is not the only aspect of a healthy life that you should practice; if you want to be truly healthy, you have to pair fitness with a healthy diet. Like we said last week, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have the occasional piece of pizza or ice cream sundae, but it’s all about moderation.
So where do cheat days come into play when we are practicing moderation? Are these two different schools of thought? Do we have to choose to practice one over the other?
The answer, is that these two adjustments go hand in hand. Many people hold the idea of a “cheat day” as sacred. They look forward all week long to gorging themselves with their favorite foods just one day a week, so that they can forget about the salads that they are eating every other six days. The problem with this way of thinking (and with that entire sentence) is that this is not a truly healthy mindset. First of all, you don’t have to eat salads every single day to maintain a healthy diet. Second of all, if your mindset is always focused on the “cheat” foods, then your healthy lifestyle transition will become much harder.
We suggest, instead, trying to have a cheat meal. Hear us out here, because we aren’t trying to ruin your life, we swear! The problem with dedicating an entire day to eating whatever you want is the tendency we have to overeat. We spoke about portion sizes, especially in restaurants, in our last blog post. The fact of the matter is that we, as humans, think we need more food than we do. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and if we spend our entire week looking forward to the day that we can spend eating everything in sight that we might want, our tendencies to overeat increase. If you limit yourself to a single meal instead of an entire day you will avoid the feeling of being overstuffed and uncomfortable, and you won’t feel bad about any progress you’ve made that could be counteracted through unhealthy eating.
Not every fitness and health goal has to do with weight loss, we understand. However, if we don’t fuel our bodies with foods that help us to operate harder, better, faster stronger in the words of Kanye West, we won’t be able to perform at our highest levels.
What is your favorite cheat meal? Leave us a comment below!