Cheat Days: How to Use Them to Your Advantage
A lot of people ask me about my diet, if I have cheat days, how I stop myself from eating “bad” and how I eat healthy foods.
This blog will answer those questions and maybe bring up some new ones! Always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me on any of my social media with your fitness/nutrition questions! I love replying and helping you guys reach your goals!
Do I have cheat days?
YES! I love rewarding myself for my hard work. For me, “cheat” days aren’t negative. I call cheat days reward days. Why? Fitness and working on your health is like a personal development job. You take time off work right? Yes, exactly. So the same concept applies while you're working on your body; you can and should have days where you kick back relax and enjoy the body you work so hard on. Rewarding yourself shouldn’t ruin your self esteem or make you feel as if you're “failing” or “cheating”. If you let your mind go there you’re going to always end up in a state of self conflict- “am I good enough to reach my goals if I can’t even keep my diet in check”? This can lead to you giving up on your goals and going down a self destructive path instead of accepting that you're not perfect. Let me break it to you... nobody keeps their diet perfect at all times. Mental health and enjoying what you’re doing in life should always come first. However, don't forget that there is a difference between the occasional reward day/reward week and just having a "bad diet".
How do I stop myself from "eating bad"?
The easiest answer to that question is that I don’t "stop" myself from eating bad. I have just gotten to the point of lifestyle maintenance that it doesn’t take a lot for me to stay disciplined. I would genuinely rather eat healthy foods than to eat bad. It also helps that my entire life I grew up eating fruits and veggies and home cooked meals r rather than sweets and processed foods- early habit forming- thanks mom and dad!
I bolded "habit forming" because habit forming is the answer to success for people trying to change their diet. I mentioned above "lifestyle maintenance" which is where you all should aspire to get to. What does that mean? It means your lifestyle habits are so strong that they are carried out without conscious effort. I wake up in the morning and I drink my cup of water, eat all my morning fruits, take my vitamins and eat my Greek yogurt religiously without even thinking about it because I established it as a lifestyle habit over a long time.
Keep reading to see my best tips to embed healthy eating into your lifestyle.
How do I embed healthy eating into my lifestyle habits?
I understand that some people haven’t been working on their fitness long and don't have a lifetime of dedication to fall back on when their cheat days turn into cheat weeks... I’ve been there too, don't worry! My best tip to avoid this cycle is to figure out what works for your body and what makes you feel good- who wants to stop doing something that makes them feel good, right? And the best way to find out what makes you feel good is to try out different meal plans and diets and stick to one you're comfortable with that helps you see results. It's a process... be patient and you will find the perfect fit for you! If you’re going to have cheat days or are starting to lack motivation to eat well because your cravings are going crazy, simply start optimizing your cheat days to HELP and not HINDER your goals.
How do I make my cheat days work with me and not against me?
When I’m craving sweets but am trying to avoid eating unhealthy snacks, I turn to fruit and protein balls!
My favorite sweet fruits are mango & pineapple. Mango contributes to my goals by being high in carbs and fiber. Pineapple possesses skin brightening vitamin C which is good for general health and immunity as well.
Protein balls are one that are becoming super popular in the health and fitness industry! Sometimes I buy them from Booster Juice or I make them with chocolate chips, women’s best protein powder, peanut butter, oatmeal and vanilla extract! They contribute to health and fitness by being rich in protein and fiber (peanut butter and oatmeal) and at the same time satisfy your sweets cravings with the chocolate and vanilla... it’s a win win!
OK, so pizza.... pizza is a pretty big craving that people suffer from. Make some homemade pizza and top it with veggies, cheese, avocado and if you're not vegan freshly cooked meat from home- beef/chicken. You're still eating your pizza but having cooked it from home you can control the amount of oil, freshness and make sure you're getting the macros you need according to your goals!
Instead of running straight to potato chips or McDonald's french fries drenched in table salt (which helps hold water weight and causes bloating), eat foods with a natural sodium content like nuts/cottage cheese as an example. This way you're satisfying your salt cravings but at the same time getting macros like protein/fats that are healthy for your body and will help you progress to the fitness level you desire.
Where do I start?
Where to start? Your grocery list & meal plan or lack thereof.
If you don't have a grocery list or meal plan in place, you don't have anything to hold yourself accountable to! If you go to the grocery store not knowing what you're going to get you're going to get the things you're comfortable getting and those are usually the packaged foods, sweets and snacks that you're trying to avoid. Booty by Kali meal challenges will give you meal prep plans, grocery lists & recipes to help you reach your goals.
Let's start eating toward your goals! Visit the "CHALLENGES" tab to join my next challenge!