First up, I want to give a shout out to Angela for creating a lighter, healthier, and delicious mac n’ cheese dish. I tried it out last night and it was pretty good. Next time, I think I would add a few more seasonings though. As good as it was, I think it was still missing something. I did add a little sage to the sauce, which combined so well with the butternut squash. Sage and butternut squash are sort of like that annoyingly, happy couple. Don’t separate them or things could get ugly.
My original mac and cheese dish would be a great meal for your “cheat meal” or “cheat day” if you use one. Which brings me to the topic of the day…(funny how that happened)
To incorporate a cheat day or not into your diet
There are definitely mixed opinions on whether a cheat day is necessary or not. Some say that if you are trying to be pretty strict and eat a very clean diet in order to lose weight, then devoting one day per week is essential. The theory is that when you are being pretty strict with your calorie intake, your body goes into famine mode. When you incorporate a day with excess calories and carbohydrates, it actually gives your system a shock and revs up your metabolism, which results in more weight loss.
Another benefit to a “cheat day” is the ability to stay on track with your healthy eating goals during the rest of the week. If you continuously restrict yourself of certain foods, it’s just a matter of time before you fling yourself off the proverbial wagon and dive headfirst into a bowl of pasta, covered in ice cream. However, knowing that you have one day per week where you can allow yourself to enjoy all of your favorite foods may help you keep your will power for the remainder six days of the week.
The downside to be aware of:
Know yourself, your will power, and the effect that food has on you. Cheat days can be useful, however, they can also lead to a slippery slope. If you find that you begin to fantasize and obsess over food and about your cheat day, then this cycle may be unhealthy for you to follow. Also, for some people, giving into a cheat day could result in a decreased will power to stop eating those “cheat” foods once that day is over. This could, in turn, lead to overeating and an increase in eating junk food in the subsequent days. So know your triggers.
I don’t necessarily plan a cheat day, but it generally ends up happening. Most weekends I generally consume more calories and unhealthy foods than I do during the week. However, I also tend to have a small treat pretty much on a daily basis. I don’t like restriction and as soon as I tell myself I can’t have a certain food, I want it even more. So most days I just strive for balance and allow a day for a little more lenience on my splurges.
What are your thoughts? Do you use cheat days? Do they work for you?