Does the thought of cheating on your diet get you excited? It does me. I eat clean Monday through Friday and once the weekend rolls around, visions of hamburgers and chocolate bars start swirling my mind. And because I believe in balance I don’t consider indulging ‘cheating,’ but rather allowing myself an occasional treat as a ‘reward’ in a sense. In fact, I eat ice cream and pizza just about every Sunday and I don’t feel bad about it since it’s a rare occurrence.
Apparently, having a ‘cheat day’ is quite a popular topic as Dr. Oz is dedicating an entire show to the idea. He’s calling it ‘Fat-urday,’ saying we should eat whatever we want one day of the week because it will lead to more weight loss.
This means if you eat healthy the six days of the week, Dr. Oz is giving you a license to eat whatever you want on Saturday be it donuts, milkshakes or an entire plate of french fries. Or all three!
To demonstrate how this can be beneficial, Dr. Oz selected three women to participate in a Fat-urday by giving them $100 to spend on whatever food they wanted, and then filmed their day of indulgence.
“I want you to have your Fat-urday, but I want you to do it right.” he told them. “People who cheat lose more weight. You can’t cheat every day. But it turns on your metabolism and stimulates your thyroid gland so your body can let go of the weight.”
But is having a cheat day really healthy? DietsInReview.com’s Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley, RD, weighs in on the topic.
“I am all for making room for a high-calorie treat, but I am against a weekend of ‘cheating.’ That advice could be dangerous. People who successfully maintain healthy weights don’t look for excuses to overindulge. Their daily diets are not so restricted that they feel boxed-in and need to cheat,” she said. “Furthermore, people who maintain healthy weights over the course of a lifetime usually don’t overeat on weekends or at parties. Instead, they maintain a mindset that makes them want to eat healthy food most of the time.”
Mary explained that for dieters, a weekend splurge can undo their weekday dieting efforts. “For example,” she says, “a 3,500 calorie deficit attained by dieting and exercising Monday through Friday can easily become undone by eating and drinking 1,750 extra calories for each of two days. Ultimately, the dieter feels like he or she is working hard but not getting anywhere.”
Instead of cheating, Mary recommends forgoing both under-eating and over-eating from day-to-day by keeping a steady balance in our diet. And her reasoning? “The thyroid does not have to be ‘tricked’ by us mere mortals,” she says.
‘Fat-urday’ will air today. On the show, Dr. Oz will discuss why we desire to cheat on our diets, how to cheat properly, and how this practice can actually benefit a weight loss plan. Check your local listings for official show times.