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Cheat Days

Posted on February 23rd, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Cheat days are usually prescribed to a weight loss client to give them a rest from their strict eating routine. It has been said that this technique can contribute to long-term success.

I was listening to Dr. Stephen Krauss’ audio series on Building a Successful Mind and he referenced some research that shows people who have scheduled cheat days are 1.5 times more likely to regain weight they’ve lost than those who don’t have cheat days.

Most people like the idea of cheat days or meals because they get to relax and splurge, but Krauss states that these types of behaviors might actually hold us back from cementing our habits. In other words, to make our new eating a long-term habit, we need to practice it 100% of the time for quite a while before we can think about straying.

I like this. What does everyone think? Use the comment section to discuss

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4 Responses to “Cheat Days”

  1. Liza says:

    I occasionally have cheat days. I have not found them disruptive nor have gained weight from them. If you have a cheat day it should not be to gorge or splurge all day long. Pick one thing you would like to have and eat it in moderation.

  2. Amanda says:

    I agree that no cheat days are better, I was talking to a friend about this today that told me to go ahead and have some fries with lunch. I asked him if he would give a recovering drug addict drugs?

  3. Matt Schoeneberger M.S., CPT, CES says:

    Amanda, I like that argument. People will scoff at the idea of comparing junk food to drugs, but I think it’s a good analogy.

    It reminds me of one of our least favorite sayings we hear far too often. “Everything in moderation.” What a terrible thing to say.

    First, and this is kind of a nerdy response, everything in moderation means you have to have moderation in moderation. How does that work?

    Second, everything is not good in moderation. There are some things that are not health promoting, no matter how small an amount is ingested. So if you’re looking to achieve optimal health, you shouldn’t ever ingest these things. Arsenic in moderation? How about lead? Bacon explosion?


  4. leanwellnesscenter says:

    I talked to a friend of mine, who for some reason didn’t chime in here, and she said she could agree both with the research and you at the same time. Basically, she wonders if the research shows that people who schedule cheat days initially during weight loss plans don’t cement their habits, but if you wait, say, a month before starting cheat meals/days you are able to set habits and are therefor not drawn back to ‘the dark side’.

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