Ok, so I know I just posted a blog but like I said, I went on a walk with my fiancé and I was discussing a topic that came up today while we were shopping, and I don’t want to wait to post it until next weekend!
Under Armour. One of my favorite stores on earth. First thing I saw when I walked into the outlet store today was a tank top that read, NO CHEAT DAYS. Instantly, I was like WTF. Why did this make me so fired up?? Because this is what we are inundated with in the fitness industry today. As a personal trainer, a business owner, and a freakin’ female, I am trying to help people, especially women as well as myself, be the healthiest version of themselves they can be. “It’s just a tank top,” you say? To most, yes it is. To me, it is an entire mentality. It’s like… diet fame. These days, it’s so cool to be on a diet. Everyone wants to know which diet you’re on. Do you count your macros? OMG you eat carbs? Oh you only eat between 12pm and 8pm? And if you are NOT on a diet, forget it! You mean you like how you are?? What is wrong with you?!?!
So if you promote NO CHEAT DAYS, this could go one of two ways. One way, I love. But let’s start with the other way. NO CHEAT DAYS meaning you are so tight on your diet that you follow your meal plan everyday. All clean, all the time. Kudos to you! Really, you are doing your body well feeding it the cleanest foods in proper amounts, as far as you know. Maybe you read a book or you hired a personal trainer or a nutritionist to develop your meal plan for you. However you got it, you are killin’ it. Meal preppin’, snack packin’, nutrient timing, tight meal plan. This way, there is no room for cheat days, because everyday is getting you closer to your ideal body, inside and out. Your mind on the other hand? Well, we probably aren’t addressing that with this NO CHEAT DAYS.
This is life and there is nothing wrong with enjoying your food. The foods you eat do not make you GOOD OR BAD person. The foods you eat should not dictate your self-esteem. As we know, life is unpredictable. There is so much to try to plan and schedule that maybe, sometimes, eating doesn’t have to be one of those things.
Now, let’s look at the other possible way we could rock this NO CHEAT DAYS tank. In this way, NO CHEAT DAYS means we don’t have cheat days because we are not on a restrictive diet/meal plan. If we are “allowing” anything, we are “restricting” nothing. If we are not restricting, we cannot cheat! I personally, have tried to do away with “cheat days” for many reasons. My main issue is the connotation that “cheat” has. We all know cheating is bad, cheating is wrong, and if we do it we should be ashamed of ourselves. But these days, when it comes to food, it’s all the more accepted and for some, praised. How good can we feel about ourselves if we are “cheating?” Why is it “cheating” to enjoy some of our favorite foods? If this day is called a “cheat day,” what are the other days called? A “restriction” day? A “faithful to my diet,” day? If we do a “bad” thing by cheating then should we feel bad or should we enjoy it? And if we don’t enjoy it, why do it?
I haven’t posted a blog on restriction yet, but I am going to. But as far as the “cheating mentality” goes, I know it doesn’t serve me well, personally, so I want you to examine how it serves you, if it does at all.
The “cheating mentality” has rarely evoked a positive experience for me. It’s only cheating if you’re currently restricting. And if you’re restricting you are fighting a fight that can’t go on forever. Sooner or later, you’re going to lose your grip, and not just for one “cheat day.” I’d rather find a way of eating in which I don’t have to plan cheats. I’d rather eat in a way that doesn’t pigeon hole me to certain foods on certain days. And I absolutely rather eat without guilt and shame. This is my focus for me, for my clients, and for anyone who doesn’t want to be at war with their body or their food anymore.
A life with NO CHEAT DAYS can be lived one of two ways. You don’t have to succumb to the diet mentality and diet industry, selling you the newest and latest way of eating to lose weight. Just because you aren’t restricting doesn’t mean you aren’t eating healthy foods. I eat healthy foods most of the time just because I feel better when I do and my body does crave them. But I also know that sometimes, meat and veggies just aren’t going to cut it. And that’s ok. It doesn’t make it a cheat day, it makes it life.