As we roll through the second week of the challenge, it has come time to introduce one of the most looked forward to features, the cheat day (also known as the re-feed day).
Over the years this has evolved. We have played with entire weekends (Saturday and Sunday) without guidance, and we have played with no wavering from the rules for 4 straight weeks. And there was degrees of success in both approaches but that was largely dependent on certain individuals mindsets.
The crazy ones benefitted form the hardcore 4 straight weeks, but the normal people (like most of us) would only get discouraged and often tap out after just two weeks.
And when we went to the “no rules” style weekends, people often never developed habits our routines that would serve them well after the challenge. They were so focused on just “surviving” until the weekend, that once it was all over, they had not taken the time to fall in love with a healthy way to make food choices. They still lost weight. They still looked better and performed better. But that progress was lost within a month of conclusion of the challenge.
This all has led to the “Cheat Window.” This cheat window involves a certain amount of time on a certain day where we do not have to adhere strictly to the guidelines of the challenge.
There are two major pitfalls to our normal nutrition choices. High carbohydrate breakfasts (especially carbs in the form of sugar) and high calories/high carb dinners before bed. Eating carbs/sugar in the morning often prevents us from actually being satisfied (and if we are, it does not last long because of the absences of dietary fat), and it gives us the taste of sugar which we will then crave the rest of the day.
You might think it’s a joke, but you taste sugar and you are no different than a shark who smells the blood in the water. That’s why we like to push our carbs out of our first meal of the day.
And eating a lot at night is really only recommended in the case of trying to bulk. Are you bulking? Didn’t think so.
Finally, sugar at night also leads to poor quality sleep. And since sleep is literally everything we do not want that.
This Saturday, challenge participants have the opporuntiy to relax their standards after breakfast (or after their workout in class at the gym) and before dinner. That means we must start the day with a challenge approved meal and finish the day with challenge approved choices. But if we feel so inclined, we are allowed to seek entertainment from our food between those two meals.
BUT DO NOT FORGET, the cheat window does not care about your goals. If you are 10+ pounds overweight and you want nothing more than to use this challenge to jumpstart your weight loss journey, then consuming all of your old favorite foods might not be a real bright idea.
AND ALSO, ADDICTION IS REAL. If you spent week one in cold sweats because you could not go grab a chicken sandwich and waffle fries then I really, truly would urge you NOT TO have that during this window of opportunity.
Why not? Why would I prevent your happiness? Because if you were so addicted to it that you had daily urges to have it then we need to use this 5 week challenge as a chance to refrain from those certain foods.
There will be those that find happiness just by eating a bit more fruit, or maybe reincorporating some cheese. There will be others that go and grab a restaurant meal without worrying about the ingredients. And then there will be those that mainline sugar for 6 straight hours.
Nobody is wrong here. But there will be those who then easily transition back to the challenge guidelines Saturday nightand then those who struggle to ever get back on track. Be smart. Enjoy the time off but do not squander this opportunity because you are unable to control yourself.
If you have any questions, your coaches are here to help.