Most all of us have had some type of insecurity about our bodies at one point in our life. We might have even tried a new crazed diet to slim down a bit or even tried skipping meals to fit into a certain outfit or look good in a certain photo. Eventually these fad diets we try out end abruptly after our cravings and hunger take over and inevitably end in a cheat day. Not all of us go through this but more often than not I see close ones feeling guilt because they cheated on some new diet.
After years of struggling with my own insecurities and trying out any diet under the sun, I have finally found a lifestyle that fits perfectly. A huge factor in this was eliminating terms like 'cheat' and 'diet' from my vocabulary. When we put these negative and somewhat positive terms of things we do in life, it makes it harder for us to get back on track. After we have cheated on a diet we usually feel horribly guilty and find it difficult to stand back up and try again. Even the term diet insinuates that what we are about to do won't necessarily be fun but will make us feel better.
Now I believe in living a healthy lifestyle (not diet). I try to eat whole foods as much as possible and I listen to my body for what it needs supplement and craving wise. Since I make sure my cravings are met I never have an urge to binge on cheat worthy meals because my body always feels satisfied. Not only am I happier with my body than I have ever been, but I am no longer looking to lose pounds fast because maintaining my health has become my main importance. Eliminating the term "cheat day" could be the greatest thing I have ever done for myself and you should do it as well!
Your mind associates cheating with evil.
Cheating has never been good in society. Whether it is cheating on a test, a significant other, or a diet, we have associated the word with bad things that we should never do. Because of this, we feel even more guilt when we do these things that are supposedly bad for us. When it comes to food, our cheat meals could even turn into cheat days where we binge constantly. Once our mind has already filled up with guilt it is extremely difficult to pull ourselves back up.
A huge thing you can change is what foods you have on your "cheat" list. If you have a huge sweet tooth, you should have sweets. If your body is craving something and you deny that food it could turn into an eventual binge that will bring even more shame afterward. For instance, I have a huge sweet tooth craving. Instead of denying this or packing my stomach with unhealthy foods, I have chosen healthy foods that fulfill my cravings like fruits, dark chocolate (yes, this is good for you in moderation), or granola/nut mix.
The point here is to change habits instead of words. When we continually grab healthy alternatives, our body will start to crave those more than the unhealthy snacks we used to crave. I still have my occasional slice of cake or binge on chips during a movie. That is okay! It is perfectly fine to eat these meals when we are having a good time or enjoying the moment. As long as you are listening to your body and giving it healthier options, I promise your body will thank you.
A cheat meal can sometimes turn into a binge fest.
I have seen it before and I have done this myself. After dieting for a couple weeks, all willpower is lost and I grab a large family bag of chips to inhale. Afterward, my guilt would become so magnified that I would continually eat to fill that guilt. This usually is associated with emotional eaters (like myself) and can be extremely difficult to dig our way out. Again, this happens when we are starving our bodies of certain cravings. The human body is a magnificent thing. It can literally tell us what it needs and will fight illness on its own. When we have a certain craving there is usually a reason behind it. For instance, if you are craving coffee all the time, there is a possibility your body is in need of iron. Listening to our bodies and giving it what it needs (in healthy doses) is the greatest way to overcome that "cheat day."
If you've been having a certain craving for days on end you can always research what they mean. Most of the time it is because your body is trying to desperately tell you something. Then find healthy versions of that craving and munch away! You don't have to eat spinach and chicken every day to lose weight. You just have to listen and feed yourself with foods that give your body supplements and vitamins it needs.
Changing up your food palette can also help with your "cheat days" as well. There are certain foods we don't like and, let's face it, junk food tastes amazing. For some reason, we become creatures of habit when it comes to our daily meals. Instead of sticking to the same thing day in and day, out try new things each week to expand your meal horizons. This can crucially help you find healthy options to junk foods you love dearly. For me, fruit and nut mix has become a huge staple in my snacks that replaces a lot of the sweets and chips that used to line my cupboards.
While I believe in loving ourselves just the way they are I do know that sometimes we feel the need for change. Even if we are in a confident state of mind we might not feel as healthy as we could be. When we start eliminating trigger words like "diet" and "cheat day," we can start to actually form healthy habits for our bodies and our minds. A healthy lifestyle is not a sprint and "slips" are bound to happen. Just pick yourself up and remember that you are doing amazing.