Health & Fitness: Will a Cheat Day Hurt You?

By Ashley Aragona on March 17, 2013 from Health & Fitness via

Being in the fitness industry, professionals get this question all the time, “Will a cheat day hurt me?” Well, the answer isn’t a simple yes, or no. As with anything, it all depends on you and your goals. If you are preparing for a fitness competition, photo shoot or specific time set goal, then possibly, yes. If however, the goal is to become healthier, lose weight and feel better, than in most cases, no. Listed below are three reasons why I believe that cheat day can actually have some benefit, if done properly.
First, let memake it very clear that the cheat day does NOT mean it is a day to eat anything and everything you want. Rather, it’s a day to indulge yourself in a favorite meal, or food that you wouldn’t normally eat during the week. For example, if you love dessert and haven’t been eating chocolate, have some cake. If you normally eat salad while everyone at Sunday dinner has pasta, you eat the pasta. I don’t particularly condone eating Dunkin Doughnuts for breakfast, KFC for lunch and a whole Little Caesars Pizza for dinner, although I am human (and a female) and know that sometimes the body “wants what it wants”  But, in all honestly that kind of cheating is exorbitant and will probably reek exorbitant repercussions on your digestive system as well; especially is you have been eating clean.
So, that being said, these are our top three reasons why I think the Cheat Day is ok; again, in most cases.
1. Gives the Participant Something to Look Forward To
Let’s face it. Eating clean, and working out can be hard; especially if you are new to the whole routine. Cutting out your favorite foods and drinks can be downright depressing and disheartening. Having a “cheat day” at the end of the week can give the participant that extra push they need to get through. Side note: it also makes the food taste SO much better if you’ve worked for it.
2. Keeps You Motivated
Having a cheat day in which you reward yourself for working out hard and eating right can keep you on track to start the next week fresh and on the right foot. If you enjoy yourself one day on the weekend, the positive result on your mind and soul can motivate you to accomplish even more the next week. It also keeps you motivated to work hard in order to feel good about rewarding yourself.
3. Keeps Social Relationships in Tact
This can be one of the most important positives of a cheat day. Americans as a culture tend to enjoy time with our friends and family around the table, or plates of food. If you live a lifestyle in which this is frequent, being on a diet can severely damage the fun of those relationships. In fact, it can turn that time from a fun affair into a downright miserable experience. “Sure…this celery tastes great… while everyone else is eating hot wings and pizza!
Allowing yourself to enjoy the company and the food has psychological benefits that can outweigh the possible negative physical ones. Sharing time with your family or friends can keep you positive, motivated and sometime be the exact medicine the doctor ordered after a long week of work and perseverance. In addition, all of the “oohs and aahs” from your friends and family of your weekly results will be just icing on the cake.
So to sum it up:
  • Photo Shoot, Fitness Competition, Special Medical Conditions, Time Sensitive Results- CHEAT DAY = PRETTY BAD
  • Goal is to be healthier, happier, and fitter – CHEAT DAY  =  NOT SO BAD… just remember
The goal is to indulge yourself, not gorge yourself!
Have a wonderful week fitness pals!
Yours in Health and Fitness

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