Whether you’re cutting back on calories, limiting your sugar, or steering clear of processed snacks, saying “no” to a food you love is always hard. Willpower can seem easy for a short period of time, but when you are committed to your health the thought of never being able to enjoy your favorite foods can drive you crazy! We often think a “healthy” diet involves depriving ourselves of our favorite not-so-healthy foods. While you can keep this up in the short-term, there comes a breaking point.
The idea of a “cheat day” was created to describe a period of time where dietary rules and restrictions are thrown out the window in favor of temporary indulgence. Some people may choose to “cheat” once per week, while others may choose to “cheat” on special occasions, like birthdays or holidays. While the frequency may vary from person to person, having a designated period of time where it’s acceptable to eat anything you’d like can often lead to overindulgence and bingeing. Some registered dietitians have even found that people who binged on high-calorie foods during “cheat days” were more likely to consume a greater number of calories on the days following.
Throwing “cheat days” out the window may just be the key to indulging without derailing your progress and ditching that diet mentality.
The term “cheat” is loaded. It implies you are doing something that you would normally categorize as “bad” or “against the rules.” Instead of enjoying your meal, you feel guilty for eating “forbidden foods.” Instead of “cheating,” try treating (yourself)!
Having a healthy relationship with food means enjoying the treats you love and fitting them into your lifestyle. These can be healthy foods you find especially tasty or they can be less-healthy snacks enjoyed in moderation. Occasional treats can help you find a balance that will make your diet sustainable for long-lasting change (and prevent you from feeling the need to scarf down all the desserts at a buffet when given the opportunity).
At Noom, we promote healthy eating as a lifestyle and not aggressive cycles of deprivation and indulgence — think moderation, not deprivation!
Tips for Treats
- Avoid treats when you’re famished — you’re less likely to be able to control your portions.
- Do it yourself. Craving a cheeseburger? Instead of fast-food, opt for a homemade alternative. Cooking allows you to control what ingredients go into your meal and trying new recipes is fun!
- Get some advice! A Noom can help you get a better idea of how you can fit the occasional treat into your lifestyle without sacrificing your health goals.