Is it Okay to have a Cheat Day?

Good question. Well….

Yes.
No.
Maybe.
Depends.

Okay, we’ve cleared that up.

Oh alright, I’ll answer it .

“Is it okay for me to have a cheat day once a week?” is something I get asked often. And while the obvious answer would seem to be ‘yes’, I’m going to throw a spanner in the works and say… ‘actually, it depends’.

It depends on (1) what you consider to be a cheat day and (2) the psychological and emotional consequences of your weekly splurge. If the term ‘cheat day’ is a euphemism for a high-calorie, twelve-hour, unconscious eating binge, then I’m going with… no. Don’t do it. Similarly, if breaking your normal healthy eating pattern throws you into some kind of mental and emotional tailspin or if it opens a door that can’t be closed… then, no. Don’t do it.

But… if a cheat day means a burger, some chips and a couple of beers on a Sunday (or your equivalent) and it doesn’t have any negative impact on your overall motivation, commitment or mindset, then by all means…. Cheat away.

A cheat month on the other hand…..

Love to hear your thoughts / experiences.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan December 24, 2013 at 6:39 am

I call myself a weekend junkie. I eat healthily through the week and allow myself to indulge a little on the weekends. It works for me, as if I have an indulgence or two I find myself craving healthy and am back to healthy eating within a meal or two.
Love your blog and your great encouragement ….thank you

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Glenise Mcnally December 24, 2013 at 7:38 am

Totally agree on the cheat day option. As all of your posts indicate it comes down to common sense.
I have just completed an eight week fitness challenge and came 3rd which made me feel great. Only had a couple of days when I indulged a little but overall I knew I would be silly to myself considering I was committed to taking on the challenge in the first place. I am committed to sustaining and improving my fitness, realizing it can be a slow process, with a few backward steps along the way. But like anything in life if we really want it, it is a choice we make.
Another enjoyable and interesting post Craig.
I have looked forward and love reading all your articles.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all those you love a safe and happy Christmas and a full filling and a fun new year.
Regards
Glenise McNally.

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Desiree December 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Yes, I think your “take” on a cheat day is pretty much where it’s at. Having been there on more occasions than I’d like to admit, I have found personally – that – if U R going to do it, have a Plan, don’t just go in “Free falling” – because – U may find that the Paraschute might not open. Without the Plan before & after the deed is done – You may find it all too easy to justify keeping that door open – & the consequent erosion of your hard earned Self Belief. If I can’t maintain Balance in my life, & “cheat”, then for me it just isn’t worth it.
Incidentally, saying No to those who may want U to join them on the ‘Runaway Train’ is kind of empowering.

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Geoff Jowett December 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Superb.

Reply

Nerida December 27, 2013 at 6:24 am

I’ve learnt over the years that with cheat days you have to be careful. I was once told by a trainer that I had to have one cheat day a week. I didn’t like that and totally ignored that advice until I tried it. I now find that instead of having a whole day, a meal is alot better and I usually go out with friends for breakfast. I decide what I am going to eat beforehand and stick to it, no matter what someone else might be eating.

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