When contemplating dieting, most people don’t want to fully commit to suddenly eating healthfully and the appropriate amount of calories, so they like the idea of having cheat days. I’m sure that you’ve heard the concept of cheat days. These are days that are set aside that allow you to eat what you want. In example, you work hard at your diet all week, but on Saturday you can eat whatever you desire. The theory is that it’s easier to stay away from high calorie/high fat foods most of the time if you know that you can guiltlessly have it on your cheat day.
While that may sound reasonable, being better most of the time (and it certainly could help some people), here’s why I take issue with it. If you’re having a difficult time sticking to your diet, it may be too restrictive for where you are in your journey for lifetime eating and healthy weight maintenance. It should be a gradual process of tweaking you diet (and exercise) so that it’s not overwhelming.
My other problem with cheat days is that it keeps you desiring those less healthy foods. You can change what you desire by making small, better choices over time. Like going from whole milk to 2%, to 1.5%, to 1%, to skim. By the time you get used to skim milk, 2% tastes like cream and you don’t care about ever having whole milk again… no cheating even wanted.
So, while having a cheat day may help you lose weight, Id challenge you to simply be more gradual with your changes so that sustaining them becomes effortless.