Food And Cheat Days



It’s hard to believe we are already moving quickly into another year, and yet another holiday is behind us with the celebration of Easter this past weekend.

For many it’s a time of worship, family gatherings, and well, food. As things go with holidays there are special treats and meals that are prepared as we gather in celebration.

Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Food is meant to be savored and appreciated.

Therefore, I found it semi-amusing when I was asked on Saturday not once, but twice, in different conversations if I allowed myself  “cheat days”.

If you don’t know what this means, in some dieting plans there is a day in the week you’re basically allowed to just eat whatever and enjoy it without any (supposed) guilt for doing it.

The first person to ask me was a friend… he simply inquired if I allowed myself to do that… to have days of indulgence.

The other person was an employee in the store I had chatted with briefly. She was telling me about an asparagus dish involving bacon and she laughed and said ” I know you look really disciplined, but I figure you’ve got to have some cheat days along the way too!”

Ok, I admit, I don’t really “see” myself like others do. Does anyone ?

I know I am a bit more muscular looking than a lot of people roaming around so perhaps there’s an idea I don’t ever touch anything that might be considered “off limits”.

That idea kinda makes me laugh….

So here’s the deal… I’ve never subscribed to the idea of having “cheat days” and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, why would I just want to bomb a whole day needlessly ? And what if I didn’t want anything “off limits” on cheat day ? What if I really need a piece or two of chocolate on a non-cheat day ? Or there’s a special celebration?

On another thought, it also begins to set you up for thinking of foods in “good” or “bad” terms. The idea being you eat bad foods on your cheat day… good foods the rest of the time…

On a personal opinion I’ve just never seen it as a productive idea.

What has helped me be successful and lose weight is balance and moderation of allowing myself things which has kept me from feeling deprived or the need to binge on something because I have withheld it. Somehow, this seems to have worked as I’ve lost weight these past few years and maintained my fitness goals.

This is how I counsel people who are trying to find a balance of losing weight and living this thing called life.

That being said, even though I don’t like setting foods into “good” or “bad” groups, you need to have an awareness that there are definitely foods that support optimal health, keep you well and energetic, that contribute to weight loss and support your fitness goals.

These should make up the majority of your daily diet.

Then there are foods that are enjoyable and make life fun but should be consumed in careful moderation.

There are some “foods” I will never put in my mouth as I see them as wasted, useless, calories that do nothing for me.

When you begin to see foods in this light it also removes guilt that people tend to put on themselves for eating “bad” foods.

I can’t tell you the times I’ve heard people apologize because they had a treat at a party or a piece of birthday cake or something similar. Or worse, feel they have to punish themselves or “work it off”.

Seriously, lose the guilt, stop apologizing. When you make a decision to have something, own it and move on.

As you progress and eating healthy begins to feel what is more normal and natural to you, those other foods honestly, will have less attraction. You will feel better eating healthy foods and (personally) I don’t feel so great if I have a day eating foods my body isn’t used to anymore.

In brief:

Eat healthy, whole foods the majority of the time.

If you need or want something special, consider a small amount to meet that need. Take a moment to decide if it’s really what you want.

Is it something you really love or are you eating it because it’s there?

Don’t lock yourself into one day to go off the tracks. There’s no point in wasting a day or ruining your efforts for the week.

Think moderation and balance.

Guilt is not a part of success. Don’t entertain it.

If you really overdo, just refocus on your goals, pick up, and keep moving forward. Quitting isn’t an option!






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8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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