Cheat Days – Love them or Loathe them?

Hey guys! How’s your week going?

Mine has been good, but my schedule is out of whack because we are still traveling. We were supposed to receive our paperwork today…but it didn’t come in. Since it’s the weekend now, we have to wait until Monday to receive it. Grrr…I wanted to throw a small fit this morning, but then I remembered that God is in control, and His timing is perfect. Trust. A constant life lesson being learned by this girl.

Sorry for the lack of posting this week, it’s always crazy when we are out in the states because we are getting all those things done that we can’t get done living in the middle of nowhere. 🙂

However today I wanted to write about a topic that I’ve read and thought about quite a bit, but never really sat down, thought through, and formulated my opinion. So here it goes…I probably won’t be popular, but here’s my opinion on cheat days.
*All opinions expressed are my own, I am not a certified nutrition or fitness professional, all I write about has been learned through personal experience.

So,cheat days…

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What are they: Many people who are watching what they eat or trying to eat healthier may implement something called a cheat day. Which is when they pick a specific day during the week where they can “cheat” on their healthy eating. Choosing to eat food, or dessert, that was formerly deemed “bad” in their realm of day to day food choices.

For example: Say Jane has been eating healthy all week, and exercising. She has scheduled a cheat day on Saturday and on said day has a lunch out planned with a friend. They will grab burgers and oh, those delicious seasoned fries, and afterwards she’ll indulge in the caramel macchiato with extra whip cream that she’s been jonesing for all week.
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Then Sunday it’s right back to the grindstone.

Why I think healthy eating and cheat days just don’t jive:

1. Healthy eating is a 24/7 lifestyle.
In a conversation with a friend this last week we were discussing that eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. A change of how you eat 24/7, using food to fuel your body in the way God intended it to be fueled.
In my opinion this means eating the most natural foods that we can most responsibly consume, in their most natural state. While listening to our bodies, to be sure to consume the proper amounts of the nutrients that we most require.

Having a cheat day is like having a vacation from our lifestyle….every week. Source
But is it…

I don’t know about you, but I already feel like I’m behind on work, ministry, projects I want to accomplish…and I certainly don’t feel like adding “behind on my healthy lifestyle goals” to that list if I can help it. Choosing to cheat in my opinion, is lack of focus, and commitment. If we really want something, we go for it, 110%, we don’t pull back, or take a day off. Lifestyles are lifestyles and that’s just my humble opinion. Which leads me to my next point…

2. Cheating takes us 2 steps back.
We’ve all been there, like “Jane” who I cited above. We’ve worked hard all week and are feeling super great, and then “cheat day” rolls around. We have the freedom, and the lack of will power, so we take it, and tell ourselves it’s our cheat day so it’s okay. And we fall 2 steps back, after working so hard to bound forward.

Life is all about balance, don’t get me wrong…but think about your work for a second. Would you work hard all week on a project, complete it with pride, and then not turn it in to your boss on time just because it was your day off, and you weren’t required too? I would hope not. That one little move would negate all of the hard work you had previously invested.

Please hear me out, I’m not saying that you are a terrible person if you had a cupcake at your daughter’s birthday party, and now you’ve taken two steps back, and who knows if you’ll ever reach your goals. No…that is not my point at all.
My point is: I guess I don’t understand why someone would make conscious efforts, when they are going to make a conscious decision to exploit those conscious efforts? That is what cheat days are to me.

With that said, let me say something about healthy eating.

Healthy eating does not mean never eating certain foods. image

I mean you all know I love me some dark chocolate!

It means putting the most healthy foods into our bodies that we can in our present and given circumstances. It’s about balance, enjoying life, and not being so hard on ourselves.

So if you are at your mother-in-law’s, and she has made that killer artery blocking lasagna again what do you do? You eat a proper portion, balanced with fiber rich veggies, and a tall glass of water, and call it a victory. Catch my drift?

Nobody is 100% perfect 100% of the time. Source

Healthy eating for me is a little dark chocolate when I’m craving it, or homemade mac & cheese when comfort food is what’s in order.
But making a conscious planned choice to be unhealthy? That just doesn’t fit the lifestyle I’m trying to portray here on the blog, or practice with my family.

And one more thing…

3. Putting “cheat foods” into our bodies doesn’t feel good.
A night long belly ache the desperate effort to run it off in the morning, and the feeling of failure as we end up walking half our run because we have a pizza rock still sitting in our gut. Been there…don’t ever want to go back.

When we eat “cheat foods” our body feels like it’s under attack. We feel yucky. Period. And no one wants to feel that way. We work hard to be full of energy, stay free from sickness, and live life the healthiest way possible. So choosing to have a day where we know we won’t feel our best afterwards, is just crazy to me. I won’t do it. Plain and simple. But that’s my humble opinion.

But…do I believe that you can do “cheat days” in the healthy way? Yes. Some people can.Those of us with a will-power of steel.
Personally, when I have indulged in junky foods, it just makes me crave them more. And I’d rather not be under that kind of pressure. Healthy decisions and keeping my diet in perspective regarding my situation, and environment is a much more manageable lifestyle for me. Just sayin’.

So…that’s how I feel about cheat days. If you like cheat days this is in no way a personal attack, I understand that certain things work for certain people, and if you dig cheat days and they help you keep on track with your healthy lifestyle goals than by all means do what works.

Cheat days…love them or loathe them? Tell me about your experience with the cheat day method. Does it work for you? Why or why not? What is your favorite personal healthy eating strategy?

Happy Weekend!!
~ Liesl

Link-ables + 10 Minute Plank Workout

Happy Thursday!!

How’s the week going? Sticking with your workouts and healthy eating, I hope so!

I’ve been doing well with my new diet goals. Sometimes the sweet tooth hits in the evenings, but my quencher is 2-3 dried apricots and a cup of tea. And smart snacking is all about being prepared! Every weekend I make an arsenal of healthy snacks that are ready to grab when hunger strikes.

This last weekend I made a double batch of these, and froze half for next week.

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And also a new version of my PB Protein Balls.

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Seems like you all loved the links last week, so here’s a few of my favorites from this week! What have you been reading? Pass it on!!

LINK-ABLES

BEAUTYApple Cider Vinegar…has many uses you probably never knew about

ON A BUDGETI seriously want to get into this. Better for health +better for the wallet= Awesome

GET FIT – Did the Sweaty Bodyweight workout the other day…it was as sweaty as I remembered

CLEAN EATING – the term is thrown here and there, but what does Clean Eating really mean?

PICNIC FARE – wanting to try your hand at Homemade Baked Beans? These look amazing!

FLAVOR5 herbs that pack a nutritional punch

SMART SNACKINGCurry & Almonds = Party in my mouth

SMOOTH SLURP – I wanted to put basil in our smoothie the other day…I was out voted. But, now I know I’m not crazy. 🙂

HEALTHY HABITS – Love the idea of soaking nuts for nutrients…and overnight, totally doable.

WORK IT! – looking to tighten your tummy and strengthen your core?
Try this core burner!

Plank it Out - Core Burner

Add this Plank Core Burner to your exercise routine 3xs per week after a cardio or strength workout and watch your core tighten up!

**Note: This is a tough workout, so don’t feel like a wimp if you need to rest a few seconds at anytime during the workout. But, do just that, rest a few seconds and get moving again. Be constantly aware of your form, keep your back straight and your core tight throughout the movements.
Also, if you are just starting out with your exercise routine, or coming back after an injury, please check with your doctor before adding anything new or intense. Use common sense, and listen to your body. 

Explanation:

Low plank toe tap – In an elbow plank position swing your right leg out to the side and tap your toe on the ground, coming back into plank swing your left leg out to the left side and tap your toe on the ground, come back to plank. Keep alternating for the time duration.

Side plank hip lift – In a side plank position slowly lower your hip to just above the ground. Using your core muscles lift your hip towards the ceiling, then slowly lower and repeat.

Plank pike jump – In a straight arm plank position jump both of your feet in towards your hands so your body bends in a pike position. Immediately jump your feet back out to plank. Continue jumping in and out for the duration.

Reptile plank – 

Low plank w/ alternating hip tilt – In an elbow plank position keeping your core tight and back straight, slowly tilt your left hip until it lightly touches the ground. Come back to the start and tilt to the right. Keep alternating sides for the duration of time.

If you try the workout let me know if you liked it and if you’d like to see more workouts like this one!

What is your favorite go to snack? Why?
If we have them, my favorite snack is celery sticks and hummus. But, I also love a good bowl of yogurt with fruit and cinnamon, a homemade protein snack like muffins, protein balls, or bars, or an 1/2 an apple with raw almond butter. Yum!

Have a great day!

Liesl