That’s right, I cheat. On our low-carb diet and daily exercise that is. There is a lot of back and forth about whether cheat days ruin your progress, or fire up your metabolism; whether they erode your willpower on non-cheat days or give you an iron self-discipline. For me, the reality falls somewhere in between these extremes.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m striving for slow, sustainable progress, but I don’t really see much of problem with not losing because I have a single cheat day. I can definitely see a fluctuation depending on how well I maintain my discipline throughout the week, but that one day of indulging and no step-counting doesn’t seem to make a difference. Maybe sometime, I’ll go an entire week without a cheat day and see what happens.
The main reason we keep a cheat day is regarding the willpower camp. One day a week we splurge on all those things that are taboo in our diet, like Cane’s chicken…mmmmmm…
Ahem, I digress. You see, all week we walk away from donuts, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and cake. And always saying no when you can remember just how good those things taste eventually takes its toll. Rather than pretend we don’t ever crave those naughty things, sneak them when no one is looking, or eventually cave, binge, and regret, we’ve chosen to set aside one day a week where it’s okay to have those things.
Not ALL of those things, of course, but the ones that we really want. When we first started this change in our lifestyle, we would eat anything and everything that we couldn’t have during the week. And that was okay. We ended up making ourselves sick more than once! But what happens when you figure out a food you used to love makes you feel like crap? You don’t really feel like eating it so much. Or at least, not so much of it. So by allowing ourselves the opportunity to eat horrible things we used to love, we’ve been able to determine what foods we really love, and which ones we were just eating because we could.
Does this mean that we are perfect every other day of the week? Of course not! We are human, after all. But it sure makes it easier when there is an apple pie sitting on the counter on Thursday, and I can tell myself, “you can have as much of that as you want on Saturday.” It’s amazing how many times that craving has reduced in two days, or disappeared completely.
And come Sunday morning, with all those cravings at bay, it’s time to begin the fresh week and get my butt back in gear. So I don’t look at it as undoing all my hard work throughout the week, instead, it’s like a hot bath after a long day at work. I sure don’t want to spend all day in the bath, but I can look forward to it, enjoy it, and feel relaxed and rejuvenated after.