Why “cheat days” are a bad idea

As you begin the holiday season, I would like to share some important insights with you to help you stay on course and succeed.

I’ve heard this many times over the years: “I allow myself onscreenshot-2016-11-22-08-58-01e cheat day a week.” Or “I allow myself a cheat every Friday night.” Or “I have a couple of slices of pizza every Saturday.” Or the comments from naysayers such as “A little bit can’t hurt” or “Everything in moderation.”

If you truly have a food sensitivity or food allergies or food addiction or auto immune disease this will NOT work out well for you. It has nothing to do with the few calories ingested. The implications are also far greater than the high-carbohydrate exposure of an indulgence.

  • Appetite is stimulated for several days following the cheat. Re-exposure to gliadin-derived opiate peptides will erode your will, typically giving way to consuming a flood of junk. The junk food industry has deliberately formulated its products to create irresistible cravings.
  • Once the food addict puts the chemicals (sugar, flour, wheat) into the system they ignite the binge.
  • Inflammation is re-ignited, an effect that typically lasts for about one week.
  • Re-exposure after a long period of wheat/grain abstinence can also re-trigger autoimmune inflammation, swelling, and pain that can last for months–months from one indulgence.
  • Given the incredible bowel toxicity of gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, and wheat germ agglutinin, toxic to the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and colon, you never fully regain the chance to restore healthy bowel flora with occasional indulgences.
  • You can experience re-exposure reactions. The most common: joint pains, skin rashes, acid reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, anger, anxiety, mental “fog,” depression. These typically last from a few hours to several days.

Some effects are immediately noticeable, many are not. You may be perfectly happy while bowel flora is changed, or autoimmune inflammation is gathering steam.

The key is to never go back. If you are wanting pancakes for breakfast, a big plate of spaghetti, or a big slice pizza, cheesecake, a cookie, or other indulgence, make them without wheat, without grains, without gluten-free junk replacements, without sugar. Also, if you are taking in sufficient quantities of fat and calories, you should not be experiencing cravings or hunger.

For many of us – we CANNOT just treat the few extra pounds. We must look to the factors allowing the abnormal conditions to emerge in the first place.

The holidays are especially hard. We know those relatives who disagree with us, and we dread in advance their judgmental looks or hurt faces when we don’t indulge in their binge triggering dishes. I always find that talking with someone I trust about my plan to stay on track helps me get clear about my intentions and it also helps me stay accountable to the plan itself.

Ask yourself how you want to feel before you begin eating. It takes all the emotional charge away and focuses on self-care instead of how food tastes or the cravings you are having. Remember,if you are taking in sufficient quantities of fat and calories, you should not be experiencing cravings or hunger. So don’t starve yourself in preparation for a big holiday meal. That sets you up for failure. The calories are not the only issue, not even the biggest issue for most of us.