Cheat Day!!!

What are the immediate things that come to mind when talking about a Cheat Day? Take a short cut? Look at the cheat codes? That doesn’t involve a whole day though. Cheating is taking a dishonest advantage. You find a way around the rules to best an opponent. You find the answers to the test. The purpose of cheating is to give yourself a leg up on the competition, to make yourself superior without the requirement of working in the weeds first. To take a short cut. To eliminate something distasteful and still get the full reward.

OK, if you’re like most people I know, they’re taking a cheat day in a diet or exercise program. You skip a day in your training program. You have Pancakes for breakfast…lots of pancakes:

The Rock Revealed His Cheat Meals, And You'll Wonder How On Earth He Puts  It All Away

But here’s the thing–How does cheating work to your advantage in those cases? If you cheat on your exercise program, then restart the next week, you hurt more! If you’ve cheated more than once, is it harder to go back to the exercise each time? If you know you’re going to be in pain for about 3 days after you resume, are you more apt to give up your program?

What if you’re like me and “cheat” by eating 1 chocolate chip cookie. That’s not cheating…that’s not even noticeable! How can a 2-ounce cookie make that big of a difference? Well, a steady loss program based on a torturous calorie limit and extensive exercise netted a loss of 1 pound in 1 month. 1 cookie (2 ounces!) gained 1 1/2 pounds back. It was the only aberration to the plan. I didn’t go out and have 12 pancakes, 3 large pizzas, and a table full of sushi like Dwayne does on a regular basis. Did you know he eats 6K calories every day and works out twice a day and can bench press 425 pounds? His entire job is working out. Mine isn’t.

The thing about Cheat Days is that these serve No Benefit. They derail you from your plan. They nullify all your hard work. If you’ve read any of my rants about weight control, you know that I follow a very strict diet of 1200-1500 calories in a day. I walk 1/4-1/2 a mile which is just stupid because I should be walking at least 5 miles per day. At least I’m moving. But what do I see as a result? Instead of being FAT and UNHAPPY, I am now FAT, and SORE, and SHORT-TEMPERED, and CONSTANTLY HUNGRY, and UNHAPPY. Cheating is supposed to give you an unfair advantage. Cheating on your diet and exercise gives you an unfair DISadvantage. You have to make up for the extra calories you consume. You have to be sore for another 3 days because you didn’t put in the time today. It’s short-term thinking: I get what I feel like I want today. Of course I have to start over tomorrow 1/2 pound heavier because I only walked 1049 steps all day and had 1 cookie. That’s not cheating, that’s failing.

2 thoughts on “Cheat Day!!!

  1. Very interesting thought process. Cheating is getting a leg up on the competition – dishonestly. How do we out cheat our diets? The idea of a cheat day (which should actually only be about one cheat meal a week OR doing the 80/20 rule for every day) is so that you do not overindulge later. Instead of a cheat meal think of it as a “treat yourself” meal. If your “treat” is the one cookie, and you weigh a 1/2 pound extra the next day, you have to take the whole day into consideration, did you walk more? Are you retaining water from the sore muscles? what are you doing to recover after your walks? Did you drink more water? (Did you know there’s a way to measure your sweat weight ratio?)

    If the scale is becoming more of a daunting nightmare, good health coaches will tell us all to throw our scales away and measure based off of inches. Are you gaining more muscle strength in your legs but losing fat? So you may weigh the same but your body will look different.
    Otherwise, the second-best suggestion would be that you only weigh yourself once a week. Let’s say you eat the cookie on Monday (gaining the 1/2 lb on Tuesday) but wait to weigh yourself on Friday at this point you will have either lost weight or maintained, and you would not have noticed that 1/2lb.

    I recently learned from my parent’s diet at the MRC that that-that 1/2 lb from yesterday hasn’t turned into fat yet, you have time to walk it off by next week.

    I want to encourage you to continue your journey towards better health Mama F, if you would like help, I have a few friends who would be happy to help. It’s possible you aren’t eating enough either. It’s possible your body may be in starvation mode and hanging onto everything you put in it. which would cause dramatic changes in weight gain. While yes, calories in vs calories out work for some people, ultimately all of our journeys look different and you need a plan tailored to your specific body needs. Speaking of which, I need to drink some more water.

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  2. Cheat days are definitely different things to different people (as you very well stated). To me, a cheat day is a way of rewarding myself and is usually something small. More of a token than anything. To basically give myself a pat on the back. “You’re doing well.” It doesn’t have to apply to a diet. I also have rest days when I’m highly productive for a prolonged period of time.

    I don’t like the name “cheat days.”

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