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Say Goodbye to Cheat Days: Embrace Food Freedom Without the Guilt Trip

Jun 14, 2024

Have you ever felt stuck in an endless loop of restrictive dieting during the week, only to go overboard on your designated "cheat day"? You're not alone. Many moms have experienced the feelings of guilt, shame, and physical discomfort that often accompany these planned binge episodes.

The cheat day mentality promises freedom - one day to indulge in all your cravings without rules or restrictions. But in reality, it frequently backfires, leaving you feeling worse than before you started. 

So what's really going on here? Why do cheat days so often lead to feelings of regret and overindulgence? The answer lies in the way we categorize foods as "good" or "bad."

When you ban certain foods and deem them off-limits, you create a scarcity mindset that only amplifies your cravings. It's human nature to want something even more when we're told we can't have it. By labeling treats as "cheats," we reinforce the message that these foods are bad and should be felt guilty about eating.

No wonder we often think, "I better eat as much as I can since I won't get this again for a while!" The deprivation mindset sets us up for a binge when we finally allow ourselves to indulge.

The Language Trap

The words we use around food play a huge role in perpetuating these unhealthy cycles. Terms like "cheating," "being bad," or saying you "fell off the wagon" imply a morality about what we eat. Would you really call yourself a "cheater" in other areas of your life? Probably not. But when it comes to food, these charged words can negatively shape our self-perception.

Even phrases that vilify certain foods as "dangerous" or "illegal" can backfire by making them even more appealing and triggering feelings of deprivation. Maybe you said this before, "These cookies are so dangerous' when I would eat them." With language like that, no wonder we feel compelled to binge on so-called "dangerous" foods when we finally allow them!

An "All Foods Fit" Approach

So what's the solution? An "all foods fit" mentality that removes the moralization around food and gives you full permission to eat what you want when you want it. As counterintuitive as it sounds, this mindset of food freedom can actually diminish cravings, binge urges, and feelings of guilt.

When no food is off-limits or labeled as "good" or "bad", you eliminate the scarcity construct that drives overeating. Without deprivation, the mystique and allure around "forbidden" foods fades away. You begin to eat in a way that feels satisfying while honoring your hunger and fullness cues.

Have awareness of your current thoughts: 'How can I enjoy this food in a way that leaves me feeling good?' Can I stop when satisfied? Is this food what I really want, or am I using it as a way to cope with my emotions?"

It's about making room for all foods as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, not bingeing on "cheat" foods just because you're "allowed" that day.

The bottom line? It's time to ditch the cheat day struggle. Stop branding yourself as "good" or "bad" based on what's on your plate. When you give yourself full permission to eat anything without rules while still checking in with how your body is responding you'll finally break free from cravings, bingeing, and food guilt.

Embrace an "all foods CAN fit into a healthy lifestyle" approach and leave the cheat day mentality behind for good. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

If you need guidance & support on your postpartum health journey, while feeling IN CONTROL around all food, check out The Postpartum Shift program. It provides meal plans, snack ideas, and recipes to optimally nourish moms during pregnancy, postpartum & breastfeeding and teaches you how to navigate cravings and emotional eating. 

Did you find it helpful, Mama? Please share it with other Mamas!

Hey mama,

I'm Brooke Miller,

Before becoming a mom, I chronically dieted & thought "eat less, move more" was the healthiest option. I dealt with exhaustion, mood swings, hormone imbalances (not getting a regular cycle), high cholesterol and weight cycling. I felt like something was wrong with me.

Before I got pregnant with my first son, I discovered the balanced nutrition approach I teach inside The Postpartum Shift. Once I implemented the framework, I was energized, gained strength, got my period back, lowered my cholesterol & maintained my healthiest weight. I continued this during my pregnancies & postpartum periods and recovered quickly after birth, made more than enough milk for my babies, had energy (even with the sleep deprivation) & stable mood. Postpartum was really enjoyable.

With a decade of experience as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor, I created The Postpartum Shift to help moms boost energy, mood, metabolism & milk supply to have a stress-free & enjoyable postpartum experience.

WORK WITH ME

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