Essentials of an effective weight loss plan – Part IV – No Cheat Days!

Stop the cheat day!

I can’t begin to count the times I’ve heard the question “Do I get a cheat day?”.

Every time I hear that question I immediately know the person in front of me needs food relationship counseling. The entire concept of a cheat day sets you up for failure immediately. The idea is to find a manageable long-term lifestyle not set yourself up for deprivation followed by excessive consumption. This reinforces the all or nothing mentality that undermines the entire process and ensures you will always be in a state of discontent.  

Does this mean you can’t have some meals throughout the week that aren’t ideal? Absolutely not! It truly is all about the 80/20 rule. Eat, move, and sleep well 80% of the time and your body can cope with the other 20%. If you are constantly working hard Monday through Friday on dieting only to blow off your weekend I’m certain you have experienced little progress.  

I advise my clients on first focusing on their daily routine. The days that don’t include social get-togethers or out of the ordinary events. Having hamburgers and drinks in social gatherings are secondary to the decisions you make on all the other days that are uneventful. That muffin and frappuccino at Starbucks on a typical Monday is where I suggest clients focus on first.  If you are miserable all week and counting the time until you can eat whatever you feel like you have earned, you need to reevaluate the way you are approaching food.

Food was fuel before it was the drug we have turned it into. While it is easy to fall into this pattern I assure you it breeds short-term success at best.