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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is a "cheat day" anyway?

I subscribe to a few 'tips and tricks' newsletters that relate to health and fitness and I found this article interesting and so TRUE! It was emailed to me last week but I only got around to writing about it today. It's an article from a daily newsletter called Diet and Nutrition by Everyday Health and it totally put a "cheat day" into perspective.

The diet mentality says we are either on a diet or off a diet, or that if we eat something fun it is "cheating." This state of mind has proven time and time again to result in failure; just ask anyone who has struggled with weight. But year after year, some new, self-proclaimed diet expert writes a book that promotes this type of thinking because the idea of "cheating" or eating "forbidden" foods is alluring — and marketable.

The truth, however, is that for more than 40 years, medical centers across the country have promoted a lifestyle-change approach to weight loss that says there are no foods that are off-limits. So there's no need to beat yourself up for "cheating" and certainly no need to plan "cheat days."

According to this lifestyle-change philosophy, you eat according to a plan that does not eliminate foods from your diet. You simply choose nutritionally balanced, whole foods that help you control hunger, include some of your favorite (and perhaps less balanced) foods on occasion so you don't feel deprived, and always practice appropriate portion control. If you love chocolate cake, for example, then occasionally put it in your plan and enjoy it. Just balance that out with other healthy choices and, of course, stay active.

This approach gets rid of the guilt created by negative words like "cheating" or "going off your diet" and gives you the power to include your favorite foods within a sensible plan. This way of eating can last a lifetime; diets do not.

Last Updated: 07/21/2008
Weight-loss expert Dr. Martin Binks answers your questions on emotional eating, behavioral health, and weight issues. Dr. Binks is a clinical director and CEO of Binks Behavioral Health PLLC and assistant professor in the Division of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center.

And it just so happens that one of my favorite bloggers, Jen @ Prior Fat Girl (who's having a giveaway right now!), wrote about a very similar topic last week. Click here to read her take on "falling off the wagon".


MackAttack said...

I was thinking about this very thing today! I used to have a cheat meal or cheat day. No more. Now my focus is on eating healthy most of the time. If I have a high calorie day, I do. Great article!

Sugar-Free Cupcake said...

I agree that the idea of forbidden foods is a bad idea..it just makes you think about them and want them more. If the focus is healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet then its more sustainable...

Christine said...

I feel the same way about "cheat" foods! Nothing is forbidden, it just needs budgeted into my plan.

The cat pic is way too cute! ♥