I don’t know if there is a term I care for less in the weight loss world than ‘cheat day’. The name alone is a totally negative term.
First, the word ‘cheat’ is defined by Websters as:
1: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud
2: to influence or lead by deceit, trick, or artifice
3: to elude or thwart by or as if by outwitting
1 a: to practice fraud or trickery b: to violate rules dishonestly
Do any of these definitions sound like something you want to apply to your life? No one is perfect, and no one eats totally on plan all the time (I certainly don’t). But I don’t consider it ‘cheating’ when I go off plan. And sometimes those off plan foods are actually planned in. Then I have control over them.
Cheating also implies that the way you are eating is not something you can sustain for a lifetime. If you view your eating plan as so rigid and uncompromising that you cannot have some of your favorites – then how can you possibly expect to succeed in maintaining your weight loss (let alone getting to goal)?
I think it would be better to call it a choice rather than a cheat. There are too many negative feelings and associations with cheating: guilt, remorse, self loathing, the feeling of lack of control.
If you make a choice, then you are fully aware ahead of time as to the consequences of your actions. You can say, I am choosing to have this piece of cheesecake. It will not cause me to go off plan, it is not a license to abandon the rest of the day (eating wise), and I can get right back on my normal plan with the next meal.
That can eliminate the guilt, because if you are going to have something – why not truly enjoy it without the guilt?