I used to be the cheat day queen. I was so "good" during the week and when Friday night rolled around I was ready to eat something fun and wind down with a glass (or bottle) of wine .
This was a long standing ritual for me. It became the thing I looked forward to all week. Unfortunately those Friday nights often set the tone for the rest of the weekend. I would start to have these conversations in my head to rationalize how good I did all week and that a few fun meals won't hurt me. In reality, I was ruining all the progress I made each week by eating whatever I wanted on the weekends. I wasted years in this vicious cycle because I made every excuse I could think of not to change. There were four major steps that I took that helped me break this cycle for good and today I want to share them with you.
It could be anything:
You were busy. Or maybe you were bored.
You were traveling. Or maybe you were at home.
You had to work. Or you had no work to do.
You had family/social meals. Or maybe you ate alone.
Busyness, boredom, travel, work, or social outings don’t inherently cause overeating. Instead of falling back on the tired victim-of-circumstance narrative, take the opportunity to ask yourself what’s really going on. Are you bored? Stressed? Sad? Happy?
Do this over and over and over, and you’ll start to see some patterns.That’s your opportunity to change your behavior and do something else to address those emotions instead of overeating.
Take Responsibility For Your Choices
“I’ll turn down dessert today... but I’m going to splurge this weekend and eat the whole damn pie.” #treatyoself
With this mindset, one act of self control gives you the excuse to give in elsewhere. This rarely pays off. It usually just amounts to a lot of mental gymnastics that help you avoid making tough decisions and help you justify overeating. Start taking responsibility for your own choices. Let your deeply ingrained values and principles guide your eating behaviors. And when you do choose to splurge, own it! “I’m choosing to eat this tub of ice cream on Saturday night. I’ll probably feel nauseated and anxious afterwards. In this instance, I’m fine with it.” All choices have a correlating outcome. You control the choice.
Give up "Cheat Days"
You wake up on "Cheat Day" morning like a little kid at Christmas. You go all out, eating all the stuff you didn’t permit yourself during the week. As evening nears, you start to freak out. So you eat (and maybe drink) even more. Because tomorrow, it’s back to reality. Back to being "good". And no fun. You don’t need to “cheat” because there’s nothing, and no one to “cheat” on. Maybe you enjoy some dessert on a Tuesday night because you’re in the mood for it, or maybe you don’t because you’re satisfied from dinner. What and when you eat is up to you — and your hunger and fullness cues. No matter what day of the week it is.
Let Go of Food Rules
Food rules tell you:
what you can & can’t eat
when you can or can’t eat it
how you can or can’t eat it
how much you can or can’t have
These rules take up a lot of mental energy and set you up for saying "screw it". Let’s say your #1 food rule is Don’t Eat Carbs. But this Friday night, you find yourself out with friends, and everyone is having beer and pizza. You hold out for a bit. Finally, you give in and grab a slice. That means screw it it, you’ve “blown your diet”, so you might as well keep eating. Cue the binge and uncomfortable after effects. Ditch the rules and let hunger be your guide. Non-dieters (aka “normal eaters”) eat when they’re physically hungry and stop when they’re physically full, no matter if it’s Wednesday or Saturday, morning or evening, work lunch or happy hour.
If you get serious about taking just one of these tips and working to change the behavior it can have massive impact on your health and your weight long term. Not to mention improving the relationship you have to food! If you still feel overwhelmed by all of this or have tried on your own and failed more times than you would like to admit, schedule a free 15 minute call with one of our experts to see if we can help you here.