I am not a big fan of planned cheat meals or cheat days and I will tell you why. First of all, the word “cheat” implies you are doing something wrong. Our foods choices are just that - choices. There is no right or wrong per se; it is about what is best for us individually. For me, I do not eat meat, so do I go and eat meat on cheat days???? In my case - never! However, if I choose to eat a piece of cake on my birthday is that cheating? For me the answer is “no,” because I am not cheating. I am choosing to eat something I normally wouldn't eat every day because it is a special occasion.
I think it is much better to focus on high quality foods every day and limit or move away from foods we decide are not in our best interest. When we live for cheat days then we are saying these foods are ok to eat once a week. We then begin to look forward to cheat days vs. focusing on what is best for us on a regular basis.
How do we define a cheat day? Do we eat a full day of food that is total garbage and then spend the next three days regretting it and waiting 2-3 days for the food to be eliminated from our bodies? By then we are only days away from the next cheat day (if we set them up as once a week).
I think the intention of a cheat day is honorable, but I just don’t know how effective they really are at changing our long term view of food. My goal is to only eat the best foods for my body and as I continue on this journey my diet has got cleaner and cleaner. One day there will not be any cheat foods. Food I once wanted will no longer appeal to me. Sugary sweets and other unhealthy food will be totally replaced by healthy alternatives so there will be no need to cheat.
I understand it is a journey and we all need our tricks, but please be careful with this one. The best option may be one that gives you the opportunity to enjoy the unhealthy meal or occasional sweet on special occasions and avoid making it too complicated or timing days filled with foods that do not support our long term health.