A common question I hear among people who are dieting is "What about cheat days?" I've heard this a lot with the holiday season approaching. Some people swear that one cheat day (or meal) a week (or month) resets their body and helps them get past a stall. I have no idea if there is any science to back this up. Others say that knowing they have a cheat meal or cheat day coming up helps them to stay focused on the hard days.
I am not planning to have an all out cheat on Thanksgiving next week, but I might choose to eat something I don't normally eat. I won't gorge on chocolate pie and stuffing. I don't want to have to go through sugar withdrawals again.
A couple of things to consider when deciding to cheat or go off your plan:
- Will you be able to easily get back on your plan?
- What will you do if you can't stop?
- How often are you going to cheat?
I was thinking, in the 10 ½ months since I went keto, I have had a lot of opportunity to "just have one piece".
6 family birthdays
25 birthday cakes at work
9 monthly staff meetings with donuts
6 classes at church with meals
4 parties at work (baby showers, goodbye)
1 30th wedding anniversary
10 overnight business trips
And this list doesn't include donuts and bagels every Sunday morning at church or the random announcements over the intercom at work such as, "The burrito lady is here" or "There are ice cream sundaes in the lunch room".
For the most part, I have stayed on plan. On my 30th wedding anniversary (6 weeks into keto) I made the decision to celebrate. I ate bread, beans, and chocolate. I drank wine. And I felt very sick that night. I've had some popcorn a couple of times during family movie night. Lately, I've "cheated" not with chocolate but with fruit--such as apple slices or veggies--such as sweet potato fries.
I definitely do not want to cheat with bread and sugar. I'm getting close to my initial goal (about 20 pounds!). Once I reach it, I may make some adjustments. I might even, on a occasion, have "just one piece" of cake or bread. But I don't want to go back.
I'm not saying don't cheat. That is your decision to make. But be careful if you allow "just one" because you may find it difficult to stop there.
If you do choose to cheat--even if you overdo it. Don't stop there. Dust yourself off and start over. Immediately. Don't want until tomorrow. Or Monday. Or January 1st. Start over the minute you come to your senses.
What are your thoughts? Are cheat days helpful to you? Do they set you back?