Cheat days are days when we resolve to eat whatever we want in whatever amount we want just because, or with the hope that this will help prevent us from feeling deprived so we will be able to continue eating in a certain way (usually to follow a diet) for longer.
This a nice “everything in moderation” approach, right? No 😬.. at least not for all of us. Obviously everyone is different, and maybe this approach works well for some folks. However, most of the time, I have seen it end in frustration, confusion, and feeling betrayed by our bodies and our will power.
How can we fully enjoy some indulgences here and there without totally going off the rails?
The pattern most people fall into is restrict --> binge --> restrict. They will restrict calories, food groups like carbs, or specific foods and then schedule their “cheat days” for a holiday, a party, or the weekend.
The problem with cheat days is they leave us disconnected with our bodies and our intuition. We don’t check in with what our bodies need, or if we’re even hungry in the first place.
Eating or not eating because of external influences regardless of what our body needs or our hunger level… what does that sounds like?
... A diet!
If we’re really interested in living a life free from diets, we also want to consider how we can live a life free of cheat days.
The more effective way is to focus on our mind-body connection.
Are we really hungry or are we uncomfortable in another way (tired, thirsty, anxious, overwhelmed, lonely, fixated on "forbidden food", etc)?
Try identifying what kind of discomfort(s) you experience right before your cravings or feelings of "screw it, I'm just going to eat this" hits. Once we know what the discomfort is, we can start nourishing ourselves with things that will actual help us feel better. Not just numb us or distract us for a few minutes.
This helps us create distance between the discomfort and the decision we will eventually make around food. This is one of the foundations of mindful eating.
I’m willing to bet you’re reading this now because you KNOW you are capable of starting the new year feeling fresh, energized, and eating on your terms.
And I just can’t stand seeing more folks fall into the destructive food drama of the holidays and new year. I CAN’T do it 😝!
So, please consider skipping the restrict/binge approach, and try creating more distance between the discomfort and the decision.
Want to learn more about fostering healthy eating habits and how to stop falling into the same old traps? Join me for Overwhelmed and Overeating! A self-paced program that will help take away the conflict and confusion that develops in our relationship with eating.
What you can expect:
You will have access to all Overwhelmed and Overeating resources right away, so you can get started with the area most important to you, and go at your own pace.
Five weeks of support from Sarah with in-app direct messaging, and daily reminders for gentle accountability.
Quick, prompted journaling to help bring clarity and track your progress over the 5 weeks.