If you're on board with healthy eating, you might have a special day reserved for when all of that is thrown out the window. It could be a good thing for some people, as shown in a 2006 study done in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that cheat meals could be beneficial in a weight loss plan as it wards off feelings of deprivation. But here's why looking forward to your cheat meals could end up meaning you're cheating your way out of your diet altogether.
1. It might mess up your whole diet cycle
With a cheat day in place, chances are you will tend to feel guilty and overcompensate by going on a stricter diet for the next few days or even pumping more hours in the gym. And with every cheat day, your body absorbs a great amount of sugar, fat and refined carbs that could make matters worse. With that done, it could lead to a binging cycle, ultimately causing your diet schedule to spiral out of control.
2. By labelling your foods as a cheat meal, it might appear more enticing than it actually is
Chances are you tend to go big during your cheat meals, just because you only get to eat them once a week. Restricting these tempting foods for the most part of the week can cause a bigger craving for them.
3. Your regular meals will appear to be more unappetising
The point of a good healthy diet is to ultimately enjoy it. By doing so just to get to that cheat day, you could see those everyday meals as a chore in your lifestyle. The goal here is to love your healthy foods by enjoying the taste of it, instead of hanging on bitterly just so to relish in your cheat meal.
4. Cheat meals go against the point of eating in moderation
A diet doesn't have to be restrictive at all if you plan it well. You could always incorporate your favourite but not-so-healthy foods in your everyday eating plan, but do so in moderation. With cheat days, you usually give yourself the excuse that it's fine to plate on an extra slice of cake just because it's only for one day. It's best to stick to the 90/10 rule whereby you eat 90% balanced meals and 10% anything your heart desires.
This story was originally published in Shape on April 12, 2017.