One issue is the addictive quality of salt, refined sugars, refined carbs and chemical additives.
Yes, I said addictive.
Cheat days on diets
New studies have shown (and lots of studies there are) that some foods have a very addictive nature.
Think for a minute – what is your drug of choice?
Addictive foods on cheat days
Are you a person who hides sweets in the nightstand (like those little Easter chocolate eggs?). Or are you a salt-a-holic who has a cheezie stains on your fingers like a nicotine stain on the hands of a smoker. (I know – I’ve had both)
What about refined carbs like doughnuts, pastries, and Twinkies.
Now think – are you eating this stuff because you are ‘allowing’ yourself a cheat day / meal? Or was your craving so overwhelming you could almost not help yourself?
Built in cheat days into a diet plan can have devastating effects. Its like a smoker butting out and then on Saturday gets to light up. You know all that will do is kick the addiction back into high gear. And clinical research at very high levels are beginning to show the same potential with our foods.
“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it…We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”
~ Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse
What about all those chemicals in packaged foods?
Again, more and more studies have been showing a connection between the ever growing problem of obesity with food additives. MSG is one of these additives that has been in our food supply for 50yrs and has been known to cause the ‘user’ to want more.
One small group of researchers put together a comprehensive book for the layperson that outlines the hazards of common food additives like fluoride, MSG, aspartame and more. It is called “The Slow Poisoning of America” and it is shocking.
Back to cheat days on a diet.
I’ll confess my thing is salt. I love chips. Potatoe chips, nacho’s, or whatever salty delivery system I can get. I know BBQ and All Dressed have more salt than regular but prefer these anyway.
I also know that once I am away from chips for a few days my cravings are lessened so I need only exercise my willpower at the grocery store and just not buy them. I cannot have chips in the house and not eat them. I may be fit, a personal trainer and a nutritionist. This all means I just know better – It does not give me some magical form of super will-power.
So I don’t buy them. But if I do eat some chips like a cheat night of nacho’s or Halloween when everyone and their dog has boxes of little chip bags around – my cravings come back as strong as if they never left.
Does this mean you can never have a cheat day? No it doesn’t. It means you need to be aware of what you are up against and have a good solid plan of how you are going to deal with it.
Which means if today you decide you are going to enjoy a Boston Cream filled doughnut with your work-friends at lunch. Then by all means – enjoy the heck out of it. But BEWARE that you will potentially have much stronger cravings the first few days following that indulgence.
And decide. Would you rather continuously have to fight renewed and stronger cravings, or would you rather allow those cravings to dissipate over time by replacing the ‘treat’ with a more healthy and non-addictive treat – like an apple or pear.
Once you have set out onto the road of health and fitness, just re-affirm that decision when the going gets rough. If you have gone a few days without your drug then realise your cravings will only get worse if you do give in. Remind yourself it will be easier to exercise your will-power for the 60 minutes over lunch than it will for the following three or four days while the cravings have to subside again.