For people who are dieting and undergoing rigorous workout, the inspiration to keep on can stem from anything. On especially tough days, “cheat day” is one of the things one can look forward to and get that immediate surge of motivation. Despite this, unmanaged cheat days can be detrimental to your weight loss. Here’s a list of how to properly manage your cravings on your most awaited cheat day.
1. Develop a Healthy Relationship With Food
As mentioned, cheat days can both be good and bad. This duality banks on what type of relationship one has with food. For people who see food falling under two categories, as either good or bad, see themselves as bad whenever they eat “bad” food. They are then filled with guilt after every consumption and in turn, can get easily disheartened. On the other hand, if people see food as a reward, dieting becomes a punishment.
Cheat days are a sure success if and only if people who do it can
- Do it with without guilt and negativity
- Abide by just keeping cheat day to a day
- Pick themselves up right after the cheat day
2. Go for Organic, Non-GMO Foods
Cheat days don’t translate to throwing your diet plan out of the window completely. Instead, it’s more about mindful satisfaction of cravings. So it best to ensure that every caloric indulges is worth the while. Meaning, there is at least some quality. Go for non-GMO and organic food as much as possible. Although the search for non-GMO foods can be quite tricky, it can be done with the help of the non-GMO seal, and careful ingredients check.
Going organic, on the other hand, can be as easy as keeping a mini garden in your backyard. Guided by keto diet, one can opt to grow low-carb vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, green beans, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, and many more. Perhaps the only hurdle is keeping pests such as ants and mites and many others. Luckily there are many ways to get rid of insects bugging your plants naturally.
3. Think It Through
Ironically, cheat day that rightfully serves its purpose are those that are well thought of. To avoid cheat days becoming plain weight-gain days, have a schedule, and follow it to the dot. It also helps to focus the cheat day on that one food that you’ve craved the most that week. The key is to keep the satisfaction of food cravings to a single food group. Meaning, if you are craving for desserts, alcohol, and carbs, consuming that cake indicated that beer and pasta are for next time.
4. Drink Lots of Water
Dehydration can sometimes feel like hunger. So to avoid overconsumption on cheat days, keep yourself well hydrated. Water can also help inhibit the feeling of cheat day bloating.
5. Splurge On Food Before Bedtime
If your cheat day isn’t set explicitly on big dinner, schedule your cheat day way before bedtime. A couple of studies suggest that eating later in the evening, especially before bed can lead to small yet significant weight gain, in contrast to eating the same amount of food earlier that day.
6. Listen To Yourself
At the end of every cheat day, it is best to look into and listen to what you feel. What do you feel emotionally and physically? If at the end of every cheat day, you feel even more miserable due to bloating or guilt, then it indicates that you over-cheated on your cheat day. The best cheat day is one that leaves you feeling good and energized to get through yet another week or strict diet and stern workout.
7. Work On An Enjoyable Everyday Diet
Diet in itself is hard. What makes it even harder is when you have to consume food that you don’t like. Extreme portion eating also contributes to overindulgence on cheat days because finally, you can find joy in what you eat. Attainment of your health and weight goal doesn’t translate to hating eating altogether. Coming up with recipes that include foods that you enjoy can help encourage better self-control during cheat days and even make dieting less of a chore.
It is also important to note that going hungry is never an option when it comes to attaining your weight goals healthily. Eating regularly throughout the day instead of going hungry is the best way to keep cravings at bay
8. Keep A Food Diary
Cheat days are believed to be beneficial as it increases the level of leptin in the body. Leptin which is induced by eating more than usual can help hasten metabolism by 3-10% in just 24 hours. In some cases, it can also help promote psychological health as it makes it easier for some people to stick to a strict diet if there is a cheat day to look forward to. Keeping a food diary will help you manage your cravings better and aid in planning small indulgences without sacrificing your current diet.
9. Manage Stress
Stress plays a significant role in food cravings. More often than not, long-term stressors can result in sugary and calorie-dense food cravings. Regular work breaks and deep breaths are only some of the simple means to reduce stress. One can also opt for mindful stress-relieving practices such as tai chi, yoga, guided meditation, and many more.
10. Eat Breakfast
A recent study showed that for people who make the first meal of the day, a priority, savory and sweet cravings are decreased later in the day. High-protein breakfast such as those that include oatmeals, eggs, peanut butter, or tofu makes it even easier to stay feeling full up to the next meal.
As mentioned earlier in the article, cheat days can both be beneficial and detrimental to one’s diet. But if done right, cheat days can be highly beneficial not only to the heart but also to the mind and body. Cheat days make it easier to stick to a stricter diet, enhance metabolism, and keep the fun in eating even for someone who diets.