Cheat Day — Yea or Nay?

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Renée Jones here with Pack Your Own Bag

Cheat Day!   Yea or Nay?

Do you incorporate a cheat day in your plan?

Some find it helpful, but we know that what works for one doesn’t always work for others, and you have to find what works for you. 

Cheat Day Considerations

If you want to incorporate a cheat meal or day, please consider these things:

  1. Avoid it in the first 90 days.  Consistency and routine help us stay on track.  The first 21 days help form the habit, but 90 days will make it your lifestyle. 
  2. Recognize that it adds a new group of decisions to make – what day, one meal or all day, will I or won’t I, etc. — and decision-making is taxing, and it drains your willpower. 
  3. A cheat may slow your progress.  Is whatever you’re about to eat worth losing a week or two of gains?  Will it be worth it when you next try to button those jeans or step on the scale? 
  4. Find Other Options:  Is there a viable alternative to your temptation?  Many products now come in a “low-whatever you’re trying to avoid” version.  There may be satisfying options that are still compliant with your goals.
  5. Realize: You can’t cheat your metabolism.  You can veer off the path, but there will always be consequences for it.  It will take longer to reach your goal, or it might throw you off for weeks.

Making It Work

On the other side, when would I veer from my nutritional path?

  1. Visiting my in-laws – relationship, respect, kindness, and decorum are more important than one meal now and again.  However, I choose carefully and return to my plan immediately afterward.
  2. If I’ve planned for it –  If I know I’m going to be challenged by a food I truly want, then I plan around it.  If I haven’t planned for it, I decline graciously.
  3. Special holidays – holidays are infused with memories and special foods.  Again, this is something I plan for, and I try a taste or two of the things I love rather than a double serving.  Remember it’s a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK/month.
  4. Thomas Fuller said, “A stumble may prevent a fall.”  When I was trying to extract sugar from my diet, I made a rule for myself:  “I only have sugar on Sundays.”   It didn’t take long for the sugar craving to die away, and within a month, I’d given up my Sunday-only option.  Sometimes allowing yourself a “step-down” rather than going cold-turkey can serve you.

How would a cheat day work for you? 

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