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Cheat Days; Forget About Them

Cheat Days; Forget About Them

Caoimhe Mahon

There is nothing wrong with you wanting to start eating healthier, increasing your fruit and veg intake, maybe cutting back on fizzy drinks and cakes. In fact, it is even encouraged.

However, the idea that we have to militarise our eating habits into six strict days of healthy eating and one day to binge is having negative effects on our generation mentally, physically and emotionally.

Food Should Not Make You Feel Guilty

We have all been there sitting in a restaurant craving that sticky toffee pudding for dessert but politely handing back the menu because we had our ‘cheat day’ yesterday. The idea of cheat days, therefore, creates guilt around eating certain foods. This should not be the case, we should not be feeling guilty for wanting a packet of crisps when studying or biscuits to dunk in your tea when watching Netflix. Cheat days from their very name fuel negative mindsets about food. I mean who or what are we cheating on anyway?

Why Cheat Days Have To Go

Of course, a healthy diet is really important so too is getting all the nutrients from those healthy greens. However, we are not talking about having chocolate and donuts as meal substitutes everyday. We are talking about having a healthy and balanced diet alongside a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This means having a healthy relationship with food and our body. Cheat days prevent this from happening. Why? You might ask.

Cheat days can often lead people to consume an excessive amount of food that they otherwise would stay away from in one day. This can lead to stomach aches, bloating, fatigue and headaches because people are indulging in lots of the same types of food in multiple sittings.

What follows, however, can usually be worse than the day itself because many of us are left feeling guilty and ashamed of ourselves and our bodies meaning that the next six days are even more militant than the ones before and the next cheat day all the more excessive. This leads to an unstable and negative cycle of eating habits.

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Rethink Your Relationship With Food

Remove the cheat and replace it with a treat. This means readjusting our mindsets and transitioning from a state of negativity to one of positivity. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet, yes, but do not be afraid to incorporate small treats into your day.

Reward yourself rather than punish yourself. A small treat per day for something positive or something you have achieved acts to promote a healthy lifestyle by avoiding binges, reducing cravings and importantly teaching us about balance and self-love.

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