Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just an observant person who has had overweight people in his life. Take my opinion with a grain of salt.
To cheat, or not to cheat. When it comes to relationships, we know the answer in our heads even if our heart and body choose otherwise. When it comes to difficult tests, we weigh the risks of getting caught versus failing honestly and know you’re better off studying and passing fairly. But when it comes to food after beginning a good workout routine, who will know if we cheat but ourselves?
Cheating while on a diet involves eating a meal or snack that’s taste far outweighs the health benefits associated with the meal. It also involves things like eating outside your point zone in a Jenny Craig diet, or eating a big bowl of spaghetti during your first week of trying the Atkins plan. Or eating anything other than cabbage soup during the, well, cabbage soup diet.
What happens with some people when they cheat on their diet is overwhelming guilt of not sticking to that regimented plan that was working so well. They think that, because they had a box of Krispy Kreme after faithfully snacking only on baby carrots for a month, the diet might as well end since they didn’t have the will power to pass up the “hot doughnuts” sign. Sadly, this thought process can lead to extreme dieting problems like bulimia.
Others feel that cheating on a diet is fine every once in awhile. They say that people aren’t meant to eat twigs and berries all life long without giving into some Cold Stone Creamery Gotta Have It Size of Peanut Butter Cup. They feel that the holiday season was built for cheating, so as long as they work out before and after everything will balance out in the end. Rules were made to be broken!
So, should you be able to cheat on a diet or not? I believe it depends on what kind of person you are. If you aren’t an addictive eater, then you might be ok working out and eating right 6 days a week and leaving the 7th day to cheat, as long as you know you can get right back on track the next day. You’re weight problem probably didn’t have as much to do with overeating as it did with lack of exercise.
It’s highly possible that you gained weight just from slowing your metabolism down by not eating regular meals or skipping breakfast. When you starve your body like that, it actually holds onto whatever food you finally put in because your body doesn’t know when it will eat next.
However, if you are prone to gorging and you’ve started a weight loss regimen, then a cheat day probably isn’t for you. You are a gorger if you consistently, knowingly overeat. You might be ok with a cheat meal in small proportion. I would recommend phasing out your bad foods a little at a time.
If you do give in one day, be sure not to give up and consider it the end of the world. It was one day, one moment that you can’t take back but can make up for every day after. Acknowledge it, write it down, write how it made you feel, and write what you’ll do about it next. What matters is what you will do tomorrow.