Healthy Nudge: Cheat Day
(One day a week, satisfy your cravings.)
Sometimes you have to give in a little and treat yourself.
Changing your eating habits for the healthier is commendable, but kicking anything unhealthy off your menu for life is setting yourself up for failure. Living without roast beef subs and onion rings is a deal breaker for me.
Even on cheat day, no fair eating anything that will put you in the hospital.
Life-threatening health issues trump cheat day. If you're diabetic, cheat day doesn't mean you can binge on chocolate sundaes. Or if caffeine destroys your mood stabilizer's effectiveness, you should probably rethink washing down chocolate covered coffee beans with Pepsi. Cheat day is not about self-destruction.
Cheat day doesn't mean you eat everything that doesn't eat you.
Ordering a large pizza, roast beef sub, fried chicken, French fries, onion rings, potato salad, a half pound cheeseburger, a quart of mac and cheese, a chocolate shake, a hot fudge sundae and an entire pecan pie, seriously? Let's keep it real.
Keep a list during the week of foods you drooled over the most.
When you get to your cheat day, look over the list. Cross off anything you're not seriously jonesing for. Usually I either choose one food and have a lot, or two or three foods and have modest to small portions.
For instance, I love coffee with enough hazelnut creamer to make it taste like coffee ice cream. I reserve it for breakfast on cheat day, accompanied by biscuits. (I've pared my biscuit recipe down to make only two biscuits, and I 'health' them up by adding oatmeal, shredded coconut, raisins and lots of heart healthy cinnamon to the batter.) When cheat foods are a little healthier, and the portions are reasonable, they won't send you three indulgent steps back after two healthy steps forward during the week.
When you're picking up foods for cheat day, buy single portions only. No large economy size. If you can go to a restaurant and buy yourself one serving, and not even bring the stuff into your home, do it that way. Like, go to the ice cream parlor and get yourself a cone or a sundae rather than to the grocery store to buy the ingredients which sit in your freezer tempting you over to the dark side. If your cheat is something homemade, whittle down the recipe to a single portion; OR have company, make the full recipe, and when your company leaves, insist they take the leftovers with them.
Little deals: If I want extra on cheat day, I exercise more during the week to earn it. I do fifteen minutes of exercise, four times a day. But if I see temptation to overindulge on the way, I add extra exercise sets each day during the week so I don't ruin my healthy progress on cheat day.