To cheat? Or not to cheat?

Shakespeare was the first to ask that…I think.

If you’re trying to lose weight should you ever give in to your not-so-healthy cravings?

In my ideal world I eat a healthy, well-rounded diet every day; one that leaves me neither stuffed to the gills nor starving for more. The truth is that more often than not I’m trying to watch what I eat while maintaining some semblance of a normal social life (food is fun, it is, it always will be…and no one likes eating celery when other people are scarfing down cupcakes).

It is my need for a normal social life that makes me a big fan of the oft abashed “cheat day.”

I understand cheat day critics. For starters it’s pretty easy to go overboard when food is concerned, and when calories are being counted it is very easy to ride that slippery slope to dietary downfall.

But, here’s my argument for cheating. For the most part I don’t have a problem keeping my food choices healthy and my exercise regular, but without a regularly scheduled indulgence the egg white omelets and salads with dinner that I often crave would feel like punishment and not a healthy choice. Honestly, it’s all psychological.

I have, for years and years and years, tracked my caloric intake on Livestrong.com/thedailyplate (I know that Lance Armstrong is considered evil and all, but I still think his site has the best calorie counting tool out there—and it’s totally free!), but once a week usually a weekend day, I don’t think about how much protein I’m getting, I don’t check nutrition labels or think about fat grams. I just eat whatever it is that I want, and then the next day I go back to maintaining a system in of checks and balances. For some therapist-only-knows-why reason, this one day a week keeps me sated for the other 6-days of the week.

There are some arguments that having a cheat day tricks your metabolism into burning more, but I’m not entirely sure I buy that. I do, however, believe in the advice of the late, great Oscar Wilde: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Do you believe in cheat days? Or, do you steer clear of temptation?