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It’s almost the weekend! And I know what you’re thinking of – “Rewards”
Everyone deserves some rewards, especially if you’ve worked hard eating healthy meals from Mondays through Fridays. But if you’re lining up at Starbucks to buy your favorite drink and heading to Shake Shack for cheeseburgers – then you’re doing it wrong.
Now you might ask me, “Is cheat day bad?” “Don’t I deserve some reward?”
Okay, here’s the thing – being healthy shouldn’t be a punishment instead, it’s a lifestyle. If you feel that you’re being punished then that’s not the ideal way of living healthy.
Yes, Weekend Weight Fluctuations Are Normal
Studies show that on average, people weigh the most on Sunday night, and the least on Friday morning. This said, it is possible to lose weight during the week, then gain a little during the weekend, and still make progress overall.
But! Binge Eating is NUH-AH!
The problem starts when you lose out of control. If you’re experiencing this then chances are, “cheating can be a sign that your diet is too restrictive — If you’re binge eating or developing a bad relationship with food, that’s a problem.” Says Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO.
So, what happens during cheat day?
- A cheat day won’t improve metabolism.
Unfortunately, eating more to burn more calories isn’t quite how your body works. (So, what does? Exercise.) Your metabolism does increase after you eat, but if you binge on 1,000 calories’ worth of pizza, your metabolism doesn’t ramp up to burn 1,500 calories to handle what you just consumed. You’re back to square one.
How to avoid: I recommend a Mediterranean-style diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy (especially yogurt), peanuts, and unsaturated fats. To know more, here’s a recipe book!
- A cheat day can give you a sugar crash—and cravings.
Sugar gives you a rush and drop, and it’s incredibly addictive. If you take a bite of choc – you won’t just stop from one. Do this every day and you’re prepping up for cravings all week.
How to avoid: Battle sweets with healthy sweets. My top pick is making fruit pop and sweetened honey!
- They can feed guilt and negative feelings.
This happens to most of my clients and to close people I know. Mind setting is powerful. If you are looking forward to Ice-cream night on Saturday, then all you can think about from Mondays through Fridays is how gross you’re feeling – that’s not healthy and it kills your appetite. Instead, review your diet and check out why you feel less motivated to eat healthily. As Hultin said “If you’re overly fixated or suffering from guilt, those are signs of a bad relationship with food”
A Better Way to Treat Yourself
The ideal way to approach a cheat day is to know yourself. Figure out what’s sustainable for you.
While the single-day binge can be helpful for some people, occasionally indulging in smaller portions of your favorite foods may be more sustainable for the long haul in others
If your weekend cheat days feel out of control, or if they’re hurting your body or your mindset—kick those negative thoughts to the curb. Take a more positive approach, by calling it a “treat,” instead of a “cheat.”