Updated: Apr 7
The infamous ‘Cheat Day.’ A day where all diets are off and we can eat however much of whatever we want, right? Well, that’s how I used to look at it.
I would look forward to my 'Cheat Day' the whole week and then when it finally came I’d eat donuts for breakfast, tons of pasta for lunch, a whole pizza, and then some ice cream for dinner. Instead of “cheating”, it became “splurging”. In many ways, I was ruining everything that I had worked so hard for that week.
I treated this as a day where I was out of control and was cheating on my "diet" I had worked so hard for all week.
We must recognize the difference between occasionally having food we wouldn't normally eat and just completely over eating. If we view these “treats” in the right perspective, we end up having more control instead of it having more control over us.
If you haven't read our article on fasting and feasting yet, I would recommend reading through that to give you a bit of context. Check it out Here.
Our times of 'feasting' must be goal oriented. What we eat will directly correlate to the results we get. Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle? Are you trying to achieve both? What body type are you? The answers to these questions will have a huge influence on what and when we need to be eating. No matter what your goals are, you have to have some room every once in a while to have some fun and rest from all the hard work you have put in. There are times for fasting and times for feasting.
There is a huge physical benefit to having times of feasting every once in a while, especially when you’re not wanting to plateau with your weight loss. When we eat for weight loss our body becomes accustomed to the negative energy balance and our metabolism can start to slow so that we can survive.
So, having a day/meal where we can eat higher calories than we would normally so that our body can have that calorie variance. By having this calorie variance, we can make sure that all of the metabolic processes in our body don’t plateau or slow down.
A 'treat' is perfect for this because first, it will keep our body on its toes and our metabolism high; and second, it is something that we can look forward to so that we don’t get burned out on what we are trying to accomplish.
With that said I don't love nutrition strategies or diets that drastically reduce caloric intake. While there are times for this in extreme cases, most of the time people see initial results, but long term their body doesn't run efficiently. I have seen this time and time again...
Here is an example:
Let's say you need $2000 per month to run a non-profit efficiently. But consistently you are only bringing in $1100. Something is going to have to give. You will have to do one of two things:
Bring in more money so you can have the resources you need to do everything to its fullest and with excellence.
Reduce your capacity and do less with the limited resources you bring in.
It's similar with your body and metabolism. If we constantly give it less than it needs, it will shed fat at first, but after a while it will have hold on to fat because it doesn't want to go without those storages for emergencies. It won't function optimally
Pretend you lost your job... You have some savings to fall back on, but eventually they start to diminish. The closer they get to empty, the less likely you are to spend money because you don't know when you will get income coming in.
My suggestion is for you to eat the right things, in the right amounts, at the right times. It's ok for you to have a slight calorie deficiency at first, but we must be intentional in how we are fueling our bodies. We must think of what our bodies need, rather than what it doesn't need.
But with that said, feasting can be good for us if we do it in the right amounts and at the right times. It can give our body the energy it needs to not plateau.
If we use these times of feasting strategically and make sure that we exercise on the days that we have it then we can eat our cake and have it too in some ways, as long as it’s a delicious chocolate quinoa cake.
I’m not talking about extreme diets that people try to do and then splurge later on. I’m talking about a lifestyle of balance that is sustainable. We must make sure that we are getting all of the essential nutrients that our bodies need. One of the biggest problems with having a 'treat' nowadays is that people try to go for foods that have zero nutrients.
The problem with this is that our bodies still need all of the macro and micronutrients daily to thrive. So, the next time you have your treat try having a healthier alternative to those cookies and that ice cream you love! Make the effort to fit as many micronutrients into your macronutrients and make the 'treat' worth your while.
Lastly, it is about how you are thinking about these times of feasting. These are not times of guilt where we go off of whatever we have been doing during the week. They are times that are built in for us to enjoy life and the people around us. When we use the word 'cheat' it has a connotation of guilt and it's like we are cheating ourselves out of life and results.
The main time to feast is not when we are alone. It is when we are with others. It's to feast and celebrate with those we care about. Feasting is not primarily about us. It is about gathering with others and being able to enjoy that time. It's not that we can't ever feast by ourselves, but MOST of our feasting should be with others and in the right amounts.
Get help discerning what the right amount of feasting for you in this season. If you are 400 lbs with diabetes and a heart condition and the doctors are telling you you MUST lose wight to live, then your feasting may be a bit less than someone who has gotten down to their ideal weight and is trying to maintain and multiply in their health. It's all about where you are at in this season and doing the right things to get you to a place where your body is an asset to you rather than a hindrance.
We must understand that there are times for fasting and times for feasting. You can read more about the principle of fasting and feasting Here
When you are ready to gain ground in your health this year and get on a plan that actually works, schedule a FREE breakthrough consultation and we will help you see breakthrough in your health! These are custom “breakthrough” health consultation calls for those who want clarity in how to gain ground in their health.