Why you shouldn't do cheat days if you're prone to binge eatingshare on: facebook | twitter | google+ | reddit
I saw a quote a few months back, I think it was within a tweet by Martin Berkhan, but I can't recall the original author...
It was something like:
A cheat day for a binge eater is like an alcoholic "just having one drink".
If you aren't familiar with alcoholism, one drink of alcohol can send an addict into a tailspin, causing them to fall off the wagon and back into the hellish grips of alcoholism.
Sounds eerily similar to a stress-induced three-day food binge while on a diet...
This rings true for me, so I wanted to offer an alternative to cheat days that has worked for me to aid in the prevention of binges and keep me on track with my diet.
Watch a video version of this post or keep reading below!
As I've said in other posts and videos, the nature of a diet is one of restriction. You must make some kind of sacrifice in order to lose weight.
Because that restriction is usually on food (the very thing that is so intimate to a binge eater), it can cause a very real issue with diet setbacks when you push it too far or some extra stress comes into your life.
For many dieters, a cheat meal can be very helpful at releasing the buildup of mental stress caused by prolonged self-control.
I get pizza on Sunday? Oh hell yes!
For me though, a let-loose-on-food pass means more than just a few slices of pizza. I know myself enough to know that at this point in time, eating a bunch of pleasure foods and forgetting my diet ends up leaving me feeling guilty. And of course, guilt leads to stress which for me leads to more eating.
That's where hate spirals begin! SPIRALS OF SELF-HATE! OH NOOoo!
It doesn't have to be permanent, I'm forever open to changing my internal triggers over time, but at this time, stopping those negative spirals means nipping them at the bud. Avoiding (as best as I can) situations or actions that cause guilt or stress.
For that reason I very much agree to the opening quote.
Fortunately, I have keyed into a better way.
What has worked for me is that, rather than do cheat days (treat days?) or meals, or whatever, work on making your diet more gentle so you don't need such a release. By gentle I mean, sustainable. How can you maintain a calorie deficit in a way that won't build up stress to wobble out of control and crash?
Three ways to start are:
- Make your calorie deficit smaller so you don't feel it as much.
- Use intermittent fasting so your meals are still large and satisfying
- Base your diet around food you love to eat so cheating doesnt make sense.
These are ideas i'll be covering more strategically in Diet Coach In-A-Box by the way (which is about 1/4th complete...)
That's it! No cheat days for bingers. :) Peace.
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