I have no fraudulent meals – or deceitful days.
Although my diet is healthy, she is not without joy. What most people call "fraudulent meals" is what I call "conscience" instead. Semantics? Could be. But for me there is a big difference between the two – a difference that may be the key to being able to tell if cheating is right for you.
John Berardi, Ph. D., CSCS, co-founder of Precision Nutrition, once had a cheat routine, but he gave it up. "I gave myself permission to decide what I wanted all week," says Berardi. "Maybe I enjoy a dessert on a Tuesday night because I'm in the mood for it or maybe not because I'm satisfied with the dinner."
This form of eating, also known as intuitive eating, empowers the person to make food choices for themselves rather than dictating a special day or meal.
Berardi says, "For most of the people I've trained, cheat tagging means the rest of the week is purgatory. Cheat Day is the happiest day of your week. You wake up like a kid at Christmas on Cheat Day morning, "he says.
For this person, cheating is less a small indulgence and more a Thanksgiving, but once a week. This person follows a diet that I believe is so restrictive that it is not sustainable.
However, Berardi recognizes that cheating meals work for some people. "The idea of a weekly cheat day can be of use both mentally and physically," he says. This is the person who needs a meal or a day to be pampered. With this allowance you can stay on track for the rest of the week and week after week. If this is you and a little cheat works for you, then it's definitely going on.
Not only Berardi and I have growing concern about "fraud." New research also changes the perception of the profession.
A A study published last month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied found that people who ate an indulgent dessert actually restricted their total calorie intake. Those in the study who ordered a healthy dessert ate more. From this one might conclude that a cheat meal (or a cheat course in this case) can help you stick to your diet.
But a growing body of research has tested the theory that cheat meals favor disturbed eating disorders. Although statistically not statistically strong, the results suggest that cheats may promote disturbed eating and eating disorders, especially in healthy men.
So, ask yourself, are they more of the type "cheat meal" "conscience" type?