By Sophie DeHenzel
Cheat days are quite popular in the health and fitness industry, especially when it comes to any form of dieting. However as common as cheat days may be, the question lingers: Are they good for you? The answer can be yes and no.
First, let’s define what exactly we are discussing. A cheat day is a day during the week (usually a Sunday) during which a person can take a break from their diet or restricted meal plan and eat whatever they would like. So this means that for one day a week, anything (pizza, cake, cookies, ice cream, etc.) is fair game. Come Monday, eating habits go back to normal.
For many people, cheat days can be great. They offer the chance to indulge in cravings and can also act as a day where they don’t have to think about following a specific meal plan for the day. Cheat days can also be something to look forward to and can make eating clean the rest of the week worth it.
Before you get ahead of yourself and think cheat days are the bomb.com, they aren’t for everyone. For many people the thought of having one day a week where you can eat whatever you like without any limitations is a nightmare. For some, cheat days can trigger binge eating, which means various foods are consumed in large quantities until the body becomes physically ill.
Binge eating for some people can be a result of being so strict with their nutrition during the week. It can also be brought on by the thought of not being able to enjoy those cheat foods for another whole week. People who have a hard time indulging responsibly on a cheat day not only set themselves up for physical damage (eating until sick) but mental damage as well through feelings of guilt and self-hatred after the binge is over.
Whether or not cheat days are good for you totally depends. If the idea of having one day a week where you can relax on your dietary parameters and indulge in a few cravings responsibly (eating a few slices of pizza and not the whole pie), then cheat days can be great for you. If you have trouble controlling your intake on your cheat day and find yourself exhibiting binge-eating qualities, then it may not be the best idea for you. Instead, sprinkling in your indulgences throughout the week in small portions may work better.
Jason DeHenzel has trained some of New York’s most prestigious clients, including high-profile lawyers, advertising executives, movie producers and musicians. Sophie DeHenzel is a Pn1-certified nutritionist and former downhill ski racer. The pair founded DeHenzel Training Systems, a 2015 Home-Based Business of the Year from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. DeHenzel Training Systems develops customized fitness plans for clients of different abilities, experience and commitment. Find out more at dtsnova.com.