“On Saturday I’m having a meat lovers pizza for my cheat day and I can’t wait.”
Sound familiar? Chances are if you’ve been around anyone working towards a health or fitness goal the words ‘“cheat day” have come up. You might have even said them yourself.
But we believe that if you lose the cheat day mentality you can reach your goals faster and still eat a varied diet.
What is The Cheat Day Mentality
A cheat day mentality is a form of diet ideology. It is based on the concept that if you are “good” and follow your diet for a certain amount of time, you can then have a day where you are “bad” and stray from your diet.
Typically, the cheat day occurs after a week of following your diet to a tee. Then for one day you stray from your diet and eat whatever you want.
But this mindset and behavior has some associated negative effects.
The Negative Effects of the Cheat Day Mentality
This mindset puts food into two categories: good or bad. Over time, viewing food this way will create an unhealthy relationship with it. It also suggests that you need to cheat on your regular nutrition out of boredom, entertainment, or lack of sustainability.
The cheat day mentality can seriously hamper your progress. Unlike us, your body is not on a set calendar. One day of eating with reckless abandon can undermine all the progress you made during the week. It is possible to eat in a caloric deficit during the week, then tip the scales into a caloric surplus with one or two days of “cheating.”
As well as preventing the caloric deficit that is important for weight loss, a cheat day can cause digestive, blood sugar, and hormonal issues that will halt your fitness progress.
To make a consistent change in your lifestyle we recommend losing the cheat day mindset. Here is how we recommend doing it.
How to Lose the Cheat Day Mindset
To lose the cheat day mindset remember that consistency is how you will reach your goals.
Taking small steps every day towards where you want to be is more sustainable than large jumps. So let’s apply this to your nutrition.
In a normal “cheat day mentality week” you follow perfect nutrition for the majority of the week and then go off the rails for one or two days. But the strict rigidity of the rest of your week is often a recipe for disaster. Typically we find that clients can only maintain this rigidity for a couple of weeks before reverting to their old ways.
What if instead of being totally rigid you were more flexible?
During the week, plan the majority of the meals around your goals and make sure you remind yourself of the connection between healthy eating and your desired outcomes.
If one night you feel like you want a cookie or slice of pizza, then have it. Choosing to eat less nutritious foods isn’t bad, but it is important to recognize that consuming them too often may not be supportive of your goals.
The idea here is there are no cheat days—you are simply eating in alignment with your goals, and occasionally, not eating in alignment with your goals.
It is easier to be consistent when you are flexible and don’t impose restriction on your eating habits. Instead, focus on all you have to gain from eating nutritious foods that support your goals! With this mindset, you’ll be able to find nutrition behaviors that you can be consistent with for a lifetime!
Are you struggling with the cheat day mindset?
The cheat day mindset can be a tough one to break. If you are struggling with it, then find an OPEX Gym near you today.
Your coach will work with you directly to create a sustainable approach to nutrition that includes your favorite foods and helps you reach your goals.