“Cheat Day” Myths

by Brooke on May 20, 2014

1)  Once a week we can “cheat” on our healthy diet.  First off, I don’t like the word diet.  So let’s just call it healthy eating.  Following a healthy lifestyle, is 365 days a year and already includes consuming the foods you love to eat!  I encourage my clients to think of healthy eating as 80/20.  Eighty percent of the time you consume meals that contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and quality protein choices; while twenty percent of the time you consume the foods you love to eat in moderation.  Therefore, if you are already following a healthy eating pattern there is no need to have a “cheat day.”


2)  Cheat days are a great reward.  Using food as a reward can undermine the healthy eating habits that you have already been practicing and/or maintaining.  Rewards can be a great way to recognize all the effort you have put into your healthy lifestyle.  However, choose non-food rewards instead of food rewards, so you can provide positive reinforcement without any damaging consequences.  “Cheat days” are known for being just that…a whole day to eat whatever you want instead of choosing one treat that fits into a healthy lifestyle.  Here a few examples non-food rewards:  new gym bag, new running shoes, flattering workout outfit, massage, haircut, new accessory, water bottle, lunch bag, grill, movie night, Pedometer, tablet, etc.


3)  You can have a cheat day when you are trying to lose weight.  I wrote blog post on this concept called, “Coffee’s for closers.”  The main idea is that there is no food reward, until you put the effort in to reach your goal.  If you are trying to lose weight, but eat whatever you want on Sundays you are just holding yourself back from reaching your weight loss goal(s).


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