I honestly think that no healthy lifestyle is complete without a cheat day now and again. There are “off” days, which to me are days where the calories or points or whatever are good, but the ratios might not be there; for instance, I could eat something like 5 Snickers bars in a day and be within my POINTs…I didn’t get a lick of nutrient in there, but I ate to my allotment. Those can come more frequently, because the gains they create are merely temporary and not worth worrying about. A cheat day, a TRUE cheat day is more rare, more precious. It’s the kind of day that becomes a battle between you and your pantry, and you’re going to win because you’re bigger and hungrier. It’s the kind of day where you finally sit down at night, not wanting to look at another morsel of food for the next month. They cause a gain, and they’re well worth it.
Some of you may say, “Well, I cheat, but it’s really just to have a slice of cake after dinner once every few months.” To you, I say HA! A slice of cake is amateur hour in the Ash household. Here, our mouths open when we wake up, and they shut when we go to sleep. Cookies, cakes, candy, nothing is safe in this house. Those year-old Peeps clinging to life at the top of the fridge? Gone. The girl scout cookies in the basement freezer to be saved for a “later” date? Guess today is “later” than the day I bought them. The fake strawberries in Liam’s toy shopping cart … well, perhaps those will go unscathed.
I think a day like that is necessary. It should be rare, certainly. You can’t lose weight by watching yourself during the week and eating everything in sight on the weekends. We’ve tried. You can, however, still lose with a day here and there (in our case, once a month) filled with whatever you might dream of eating. At the end of the day, I’ll be crying to Will, telling him that it’s all over, that I’m going to be fat for the rest of my life, and he rationally reminds me that it was just one day and regardless of what I ate today, I’ll still wake up tomorrow lighter than I was when I started. And tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow is not a cheat day, and I know it. So, I’ll dust myself off, remind myself why I started my journey, and be able to muddle through another few weeks of dieting, as I look forward to the next cheat.