We have set-up quite the interesting predicament for ourselves by creating a meal or entire day that is influenced by all of our biggest indulgences or “excusing” us from keeping to feeding our bodies the nutrients it needs. Some fitness enthusiasts will encourage a cheat meal or a cheat day for the extra energy boost; however, there is no real scientific proof that a meal or whole day filled with your favorite “no-no”s will heavily impact your next lift.
Just like with other things, humans (athletes included) love to be categorical. We find comfort in the structure of placing things into definitive boxes. With cheat days, we have inherently deemed some food as “good” and some food as “bad” – placing an attached categorized emotion to food. It’s true that there are foods that are more healthy for you than others, but that milkshake does not need to be assumed to be the enemy or intrinsically “bad”.
Let’s use an example: say it is Sunday night and you have eaten pretty clean throughout the week but for some reason or another, you are just CRAVING ice cream. If you don’t have that double chocolate chip cookie dough with Reese’s pieces, it won’t be good for anyone who comes within your reach. You went for an extra-long run today. You deserve that ice cream, right? It’s time to challenge that type of conversation with yourself. Following the “rules” doesn’t mean you get the ice cream as a prize. You’re not cheating, you’re eating something that is satisfying. You’ll be cheating yourself if you continue to have ice cream every night from here on out (even if you are eating clean and running extra). The ice cream isn’t the problem, but we’ve made it that way. Call out that type of conversation.
All aboard the shame express.
It’s funny, but really not funny at the same time. A lot of us go into immediate defense mode when having to face that one-way ticket on the shame express that we’ve bought for ourselves. We have attached emotions to food and how it can make us feel (more than physically).
It’s time to cheat the cheat meal. It’s time to listen to your body.
March 03, 2020