The Cheat Day, or Cheat Meal
You can take anything too far, but we should eventually swear off certain types of foods, because of how unhealthy they are. Rarely should we be eating French fries, chocolate cake, or potato chips. There’s just not much there other than clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. The sooner we can break the addiction to salt, fat, and sugar, the better of we will be.
Completely eliminating certain foods with no redeemable qualities is a goal worth shooting for. If you can ween yourself off addictive foods, you will eventually stop craving them. Like any addiction, (social media, shopping, 24/7 news, social media, porn, alcohol, gambling) the struggle is real to get off food with a “hit” of dopamine, because of how much this stimulates the brain. It takes time to rebalance the brain.
Over time though, this recovery happens as the brain’s anatomy changes for the better. You can replace addictions to food (or other potentially unhealthy things) with other healthy things like napping, exercise, music, or healthy foods which taste good. But it does take time. Some foods you may decide to stop eating completely, and I will let you make the call on that. I personally crave salty food, so I stay away from French fries or chips, because I know moderation is difficult.
Even though a ton of discipline and healthy habits are required (especially at first) to eat well, for most of us, it can help to take a whole day, or just one meal, per week, to eat whatever we want. These are the benefits:
- It’s a type of cognitive stress release.
- It’s a way to stay motivated during the week, when you have a special day or meal to look forward to.
- An occasional high-calorie meal can speed up your metabolism, because you aren’t accustomed to eating that much.
- A rare high calorie meals can temporarily aid in recovery or immune function.
The Cheat Day
Depending on where you are in your eating journey:
- If you’re just getting started eating better, ease up on Saturday and Sunday.
- If you have been at it for 6 months, and are developing healthy eating habits, one day per week eat whatever you want.
- If you’ve been eating healthy for at least 2 years and it’s now second nature, take one meal per week to enjoy something you previously couldn’t live without. You’ll be surprised how easy it is now to go without it.
For me, a couple meals on the weekend I load up on pancakes or some other type of heavy carbs like Pizza, because I know I’ll burn it off anyway. On Sunday night, it’s back to eating right!