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“Cheat Day” is a way people on restrictive diets ease their misery once a month, or once a week, or only on days that end in “y.” Does this make sense? Or, does being on a diet that makes you miserable make sense?
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How Do You Define “Cheat Day”?
Ok. I hear the term “cheat day” from my patients often. “Cheat day.” How do you define “cheat day”? Is that a day you choose every week? Once a month? On your birthday? At holiday time? Hmm, and which holidays would that be? There can be a lot of holidays depending on how we define “holiday.” Well, the dictionary definition of cheat is “act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination.” Oh my. I’ve heard cheat day as it relates to eating described as eating “clean” for six days of the week, and on the seventh day, you eat whatever you want…junk food, highly processed food, sweets and desserts… and so on.
The theory behind this strategy is that if you designate/strategize/calculate a day or meal that you will be free of the rules or the strictness of your eating plan you are using for six of the days of the week; you’ll see this cheat day as a reward for making through the majority of the days of the week. The methods or actual definition of the cheat day or meal varies from person to person, but here’s something they have in common… Having an eating plan in the first place, we need to be free from. Eating healthy… a healthy “diet”… Can NOT be temporary, especially with diabetes. So, our eating plan can’t be 6 days of misery followed by a day of cheating… You simply can’t do that forever. Fortunately, eating healthy most of the time doesn’t have to be miserable… All foods can fit.
Here Are My Tips For Keeping Your Health Inline, Especially Managing Diabetes:
Say no to riding the roller coaster – don’t feel guilty about the cheat day or meal that sends you on that up and down-track of thinking: Well…since I started eating foods not on my eating plan, I may as well continue eating whatever I want. Instead…think about the enjoyment of food, not that it is a reward, but it’s a good thing to eat foods you love.
It’s a matter of balance – When I say this, I am talking about balancing out the carbs and portions of the indulgence or “cheat” food. For instance, if we want to have a slice of cake to celebrate our birthday, then we can reduce the amount of carb we would typically eat at that meal and use the carbs for that piece of cake. Choose the foods you love and leave off the foods at that meal that are not a favorite, like maybe the dinner roll. And, keep in mind you will have two sources of carbs in that cake if it’s a cake with frosting. You have the choice to just eat the cake without the icing too.
Be Sure To Check Out – Chocolate Chia Pudding
Stay clear of the “all or nothing” eating thought process. If you do indulge (“cheat”), keep moving forward. Having a meal that you eat differently doesn’t need to totally derail your eating plan. Managing diabetes is about averages… Eating healthy most of the time, keeping blood sugar in range most of the time.
Ok, here’s a little personal story. You may have heard me say this previously… I love chocolate. So… I balance in a piece of chocolate every day, yes, I do this every day, and it helps keep me on track for not having urges to “cheat.” The piece of dark chocolate that I eat has 4-5 grams of carb, so I know how to fit it into my total grams of carb for my meal. Did you notice in my chia pudding recipe that I developed in an earlier video that I made sure it was chocolate flavor using cocoa powder? Yes, that was on purpose as having a chocolate option as a snack or dessert. The key here is to be flexible with your eating plan, so you don’t feel that you are missing out.
The big concern for people with diabetes is that we want to keep our blood sugar as steady (in target range) as possible to keep our risk lower for developing complications from diabetes. We can do that AND fit in foods that feel like cheating….except it’s not. Join me next week, and I’ll share some more chocolate cheats.
Be Sure To Check Out – What Can I Eat When My Blood Sugar is Out of Range?
Until next time, Cheers to your health.
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