Most people like to think winter is the season when cravings for yummy comfort foods are strongest. But, if you’re currently on a fitness journey, you know all too well that fall time can be just as tempting. There’s an old principle that we should never treat ourselves with food, but does this wisdom still stand? Find out what top trainers suggest about cheat day.
1. Go for a Cheat Meal vs. Cheat Day
The fitness community is at odds about the benefits of a cheat meal versus a cheat day. The reasoning implies that “treating” or “cheating” on your current eating plan can help amp up your metabolism and add some diversity to your diet. These are variables that can be incredibly helpful if you’re currently in a plateau, or thinking about ditching your plan altogether. A little cheating may give you something to look forward and boost morale. However, stay on the safe side and stick to one meal rather than a whole day, says NASM- certified trainer Chardét Durbin.
2. Be Selective
Trainer Rachel Vaziralli refrains from using the term “cheat” since that creates a negative connotation about food and your behavior. Instead, she suggests sticking with your workouts and mindfully enjoying a few treats here and there. That way you can avoid a full-on binge that undermines your results. A great way to do this might be choosing a yummy dessert one or two days a week, or enjoying a rich food made in a healthier way (like cauliflower crust pizza!).
3. Let Go of Guilt
Bottom line: if you make the decision to enjoy something that’s not strictly on your plan, do it and move forward. Allowing yourself to fall prey to guilty feelings may only sabotage your plan. That is, rather than having one cheat meal you go on a bender and toss your plan out the window. Savor your treat and then carry on with your plan without beating yourself up about it.
All in all, how you manage to treat yourself is totally up to you. Listen to your body and do what makes it feel good. Plus, work with a personal trainer one-on-one to develop a diet and workout routine that best suits your body’s unique needs. If they tell the occasional cheat day (or meal) is okay in your situation, go for it!
Header Image Source: Max Nelson on Unsplash