What to Do After a Cheat Day?
Whether or not you trust cheat days, they do happen from time to time. It may be a few extra drinks at the big game or that extra-large slice of pizza at a family gathering.
We’ve all been there, regardless of the circumstances.
A cheat day’s consequences extend beyond a bloated or upset stomach.
An unplanned cheat day in the middle of a tight cut phase or new fitness program can do more than wreak havoc on your waistline; it can also sabotage your fitness drive.
Cheat days get into your head, making you feel like a loser. As a result, you’re left wondering why you even bother trying.
If your entire personality is based on your ability to stick to a plan, you will blame yourself ten times more than everybody else if you deviate from it.
The bottom line is cheat days will happen, but it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your goals. That said, here are ten things to get your body and mind on track after a cheat day.
1. Be Consistent with Your Workouts
Every type of exercise, no matter how intense or light, or even how long, benefits your health.
If you need to recover after a cheat day, do some exercise, but resist the temptation to exercise to expend the calories you ate.
This mindset is punitive and will not drive you to work out regularly. Instead, choose something you enjoy doing and work out for as long as you have.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Beating yourself up after a cheat day only increases your stress level, which negatively impacts your overall well-being.
There will always be moments when you consume more calories than you planned.
It’s demoralizing and bad for your mental health to criticize yourself in these situations. So, be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you’re doing your best!
3. Change Your Perspective on Cheat Days
If you change your perspective toward cheat days, you’ll never have to worry about what to do after one!
Cheating means you’re doing something immoral or unpleasant when you’re simply eating for pleasure.
Eating for pleasure is acceptable and healthy, and we all do it on occasion.
When you accept this notion, you’ll be able to eat a reasonable amount of less nutritious food when you want to instead of eating massive portions on cheat days.
Changing your perspective can also help you be more consistent with regard to your eating habits rather than abandoning them for a while.
4. Don’t Turn a Cheat Day into A Week
After a cheat day, seize the next opportunity to re-establish your healthy routine. There is no optimal time of day, week, or month to resume healthy eating.
Have a balanced meal during lunch if you had an extravagant breakfast.
If you went on vacation and took more cocktails, desserts, and fast foods than normal over the week, get back to your regular eating habits as soon as possible, whether on a Monday night or Sunday afternoon.
5. Eat Foods You Crave on Most Days
You might not even feel the need to have a cheat day if you eat foods you enjoy daily.
Learning to love these meals is really an important component of building a good rapport with meals and your body.
Some people like to incorporate their favorite foods into their daily routines, such as fries or ice cream. Regardless of your pick, don’t be too tight with your eating habits.
This usually results in a yo-yo pattern of being ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ for a while, then being ‘bad’ or ‘cheating’ for another, which is clearly unsustainable.
While starving oneself for an extended period of time is never a smart idea, fasting can be beneficial to your health.
Obviously, a good time to fast would be after a cheat day when you’ve consumed extra calories.
It doesn’t have to be a whole day dedicated to fasting. Instead, you can simply skip a meal or consume all of your calories in a single sitting.
Whatever you do, ensure the calories counteract the ones you consumed the day before. Also, ensure you drink a lot of water to avoid being dehydrated or feeling unwell due to hunger.
7. Have a Balanced Meal
When you’ve had a cheat day, it’s best to get back to eating properly as quickly as possible. Prepare a well-balanced meal that contains plenty of fiber-rich, non-starchy vegetables.
Pair your vegetables with nutritious starchy carbohydrates and proteins. See if you can get close to a balanced dish with around double the amount of veggies to starchy carbohydrates.
8. Practice Tuning into Your Hunger or Satiety
After a cheat day, you might want to reconnect with your hunger and satiety signals. These signals will help you not overeat whether you’re having a garden salad or French fries.
Either way, the aim is to eat until you’re partially full, not stuffed. When you master this skill, you’ll be able to control your portion sizes regardless of where or what you’re eating.
You could also realize you prefer a lighter meal after a heartier one or that you don’t require a snack following a hearty meal.
This move can help you bounce back from cheat days and better regulate your appetite daily.
9. Remind Yourself of Other Good Habits You’ve Adopted
Being healthy involves participating in a series of actions on a regular basis. It’s not all about the food you eat.
Therefore, to get back on track after a cheat day, take a step back and remember all of your other healthy habits.
Perhaps you worked out most days in the current week, drank plenty of water, meditated, or slept at least 8 hours most nights.
Since all of these habits contribute to your general health, it’s worth celebrating any of them you engaged in.
10. Sleep It Off
After an episode of overeating, getting adequate sleep is a smart move to battle cravings and start the following day well.
Although everyone’s sleep needs are different, health professionals recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep every night.
So you’ve gone ahead and had a cheat day; what’s the problem? Well, nothing. In fact, you should incorporate cheat days into your diet if you’re struggling to keep up.
The important thing is that you resume your diet fully after this short period of indulgence.