What are your thoughts on “cheat meals” or “cheat days”?
I get asked this question often. Let’s tease it out a little.
We’ll start by considering the definition of cheat (as found on Dictionary.com). As a verb it means to violate rules or regulations. As a noun, a cheat is someone who acts dishonestly or is a fraud. It can even refer to victimization by taking an unfair advantage over someone.
I didn’t read anything good about “cheat” in those definitions. Did you? And if you apply that to the idea of cheat meals or cheat days, then it leads you to consider that you are violating rules if you have a cheat meal. Or it would mean that when I “cheat”, then I become a fraud. That by eating “healthy” 6 days a week or 20 meals a week but “cheat” a day or a meal, then I’ve fooled you or myself along the way?
Have you figured out where this is going? I imagine you have. All things related to “cheat” are negative. And when it comes to something related to me or how I eat, I don’t need anything negative labeling me. I have enough struggle in my mind fighting off negative thoughts, comparisons, etc. I don’t need to weekly refer to myself and my eating habits in any way like I’m cheating and being a fraud.
Here’s the deal, I don’t like the term “cheat” when it comes to how I eat. (Actually, I don’t want it to describe me in any way!) If I choose to eat chicken and veggies or 2 slices of pizza, I’m going to own it. (Not become a victim of my choices as the definition may imply.) I don’t need to explain or justify it according to a “cheat”.
This goes back to what I am all about, what this blog and my programs are about. We….you and I….need to find what works for our unique body. When we do that; when we become a detective, we learn how our bodies respond to foods. We know when we need to fight off a craving or when we can trust ourselves to have just enough to satisfy. We also know that if we’re training for a big event, say we just did a 15 mile training run, and we want pizza for dinner that night, then we can, and we should if that sounds yummy and satisfying! And if we did absolutely nothing today but still want to have ice cream at the end of the day, we can have it. And not only have it, but we can enjoy it in the process. And why do we enjoy it, because we’re owning our choices.
Can we have pizza and ice cream everyday and expect that we’ll stay fit and healthy? Probably not. But if you’re honoring your body, you’re going to learn what makes it feel good and healthy, and you’ll want to eat mostly those things. There will be room for what someone else may call a “cheat” but it will just be what sounds good and tastes good and makes you feel good at that given meal on that given day.