The Anatomy of a Cheat Day: Social


Everyone who has been on a diet has heard of the infamous “Cheat Day,” and they can happen for various reasons.   For example, many are of the opinion that a cheat day is needed, either for a break for your metabolism or a break for your soul.  Sometimes it is a holiday; yesterday was the Fourth of July.  I have decided to begin a series that outlines why, in my mind, people utilize “cheat days” in their dieting.

Preteen Dieting

When I told my nutritionist that I had been dieting off-and-on since I was twelve, her eyes bugged for a second.  I did not realize, what with our dieting culture, that this fact would be all that surprising given how cruel this world can be to overweight preteens.  I could show you journals  that show meticulously mapped out recordings of how many calories I had eaten for that day, and the afterward elation of flagellation that was written afterwards.  Preteen girls can be just as cruel to themselves as society can be to them.

Weight: My Broken Record

Weight loss has been the broken record of my life.  It is my fatal flaw that will leave me bitter and babbling on my deathbed. People who have known me long enough have seen my neuroses and my everlasting quest to keep this area of my life in check.  Even typing this, I am inwardly cringing, because even I get tired of the same thing being spun out and re-hashed over and over again ad-nauseam.

Weight: Everyone’s Broken Record

I find that the topic of weight is an area of secret contention in so many lives.   We see it in our entertainment, from The Biggest Loser, to My 600lb Life, to Dr. Oz.  People have opinions about weight, as well as their own public and private battles.  This is why declaring “I AM ON A DIET” is such a charged statement, and needs to be navigated wisely.  It is a topic that solicits so many responses:

Why I Hate Letting People Know

1. People get uneasy, because they see your diet as a direct commentary on how much they eat.

2. People get opinionated, and try to spout off every fact and falsehood they know on the subject.

3. People get motivated, and see your momentum as their ticket or wake-up call to future success.

4. People get concerned that you aren’t eating enough and verbalize this loudly.

5. People are overly-fascinated, and want to know every detail of your plan broken down and explained.

6. People get falsely-supportive. They offer to work out with you and plan healthy meals with you, but rarely hold up on their end of the bargain.

7. People get distant.  People are used to you eating and socializing like you always have, and any change seems threatening.

8. People get pushy.  This may be on purpose or unwittingly done, but a lot of people love to push food. “Oh, just try a bite,” or “You really have to eat like this for the rest of (specified amount of time).”  It gets exhausting.

9.  People scrutinize.  People like to see others fail.  Now that you are dieting, every choice you make is under a microscope, whether you like it or not.

The Take-Away

It’s funny, I can let this all out for the world of social media to see, but it is so hard to calculate in “real life” whether I want people to know that I am making changes.  The social implications of dieting are so diverse, that sometimes it is just easier to take a cheat day.  For example, yesterday was the Fourth of July.  Rather than explaining my current situation to my entire family, or even touting my success, I just let it be.  I ate what I wanted, and today I am going back to the positive changes I have been making.  Is it weak to set aside your physical convictions for your mental sanity?  That’s a great question, and I would love to hear anyone’s opinion on this topic in my comments

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One thought on “The Anatomy of a Cheat Day: Social”

  1. I understand what you mean. People who haven’t consistently struggled with weight just don’t get it. Sometimes you do have to give yourself a day to eat how you want because it will drive you crazy otherwise, but I’ll bet you still made different choices than you would have before your “diet” days. It becomes such an engrained part of you that you do it without thinking. Good for you for getting back onto it the next day. That’s the important part, not getting derailed cm

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