I like to abide by the 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80% of the time. The rest of the time enjoy life a little! We aren’t machines and let’s face it, sometimes you don’t want to think about “being good”. So, here are the “rules” to keep in mind for your cheat day or cheat meal:
- Be intentional: This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Proper nutritional habits requires a lot of planning; your cheat day should always be included in your planning. If you have an anniversary dinner (which I have this weekend) or birthday / going away party etc one week, plan on that being your cheat day. Then you plan meals around that. If you plan your meals properly, you won’t have to use a cheat day because you’re on the road one day and breakdown and eat a cheeseburger. Then you can use your cheat day for something worthwhile, like two bottles of wine & chocolate…
- Keep it sane: If you are eating healthy 6 days out of the week, on your cheat day don’t eat a stack of pancakes followed by a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and end up eating pizza for dinner and drinking beer all day long. Don’t go all crazy on your cheat day - as this progresses, you will only end up feeling sick & gross after.
- Remember Moderation: You made it through a week of healthy eating and you are craving chocolate cake. So you go to the store on your cheat day and there aren’t any slices of chocolate cake, only a delicious looking, meant for at least 8 people chocolate cake available. Don’t eat the entire thing because you don’t want to waste it. If there are leftovers, don’t keep it in the house. Throw it away or give it away, so you aren’t tempted later that day or on the following day when you’re back on the diet.
- Cheat days = Reward days: You just made it through 6 days of a diet that most Americans wouldn’t dream of doing. Don’t feel guilty afterwards. They are your reward for being a rock star.
- No accumulation: You can’t carry cheat days over from week to week so you can have a bender the following weekend. If you don’t use the cheat day one week, it’s gone.
- Finally, it’s ok to say No: Cheat days aren’t mandatory. If you don’t use one, that’s fine, that just means you’re hardcore.