How many of you opened this blog expecting to see something about infidelity, being unfaithful or having an affair? If so… sorry… but I did get you to open the blog!
The cheating I am referring to is “cheating” on your diet or meal plan. So, how do you cheat and get away with it without ruining all your hard work and discipline?
Simple, you limit yourself to one “PRE-PLANNED” cheat day (or meal) per week. There are several schools of though on cheat “meals” or cheat “days”. Some people don’t believe in them and some people don’t need them. However, I am a proponent of them and here is why.
I love food and some of the foods I love are BAD for me! Buffalo Wings and beer! There, I said it! Look, just because a person has an interest in fitness and health and wellness does not necessarily mean they will exclusively enjoy healthy, nutrient rich foods ALL of the time. We are human and we do enjoy our vices.
That being said YES, I fully understand that some of the foods we enjoy are not only bad for you, but some are downright horrible for you!! However, in moderation, coupled with exercise and clean eating six days per week I feel a cheat day is an invaluable tool.
By planning to allow yourself to eat WHATEVER you want on a given day (or a given meal) you are much more likely NOT to give in to your cravings or temptations during the 6 days of imposed clean eating. It allows an individual to look forward to a “treat” and a break from your regime.
For some people working out and eating right comes easy, it is natural and takes no effort or thought. But for many of us it can seem like a chore, even though we know it is a means to an end. A lot of people work VERY hard to stick to their plan, and having a “one day” break from it all keeps us happy and on track.
Here are a couple of tips to make your cheat day worth while:
1) For that day, plan to NOT even think about what you put in your mouth. Wake up, have cereal or toast and peanut butter, eggs, bacon, whatever. Don’t go crazy, but eat what you want, when you want…close you mind to food choices. But just because you’re free don’t go crazy with portions.
2) As you have cravings during the week WRITE DOWN what you are craving (ice cream, chocolate, cheeseburger, pizza, chips, etc) on a piece of paper and put it is a bag (or hat). When your cheat day finally arrives, go through the list and choose which of these things you want the most.
Enjoy the day, savor the food and do not feel guilty about cheating. The influx of fat and calories will not only help your mental state but it will also reboot your bodies metabolism. Another benefit is, because our bodies have been adjusting to the clean eating regime, you will usually feel like crap after eating crap…and it’s all that much easier to get back on track the next morning!!
Peter Courtney is a personal fitness trainer and Director of Sales for 360fit in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.