Well, I’m still alive, so that’s a good thing.
In all seriousness, yesterday was one of the better days I have had in a long time. It felt good to eat whatever I wanted. More importantly, I had a good day with my parents and enjoyed the taste of certain foods instead of shoveling them into my mouth not knowing when I would allow myself to eat them again.
My Thoughts Going Into The Cheat Day
I didn’t really know what to expect. Part of me feared that I was going to just keep eating because I had restricted myself for so long. The other part of me was worried that I would eat myself sick as I have done in the past.
I can remember certain birthday parties or holidays where I would just keep eating and eating and eating. Eventually, it got to the point where I would either feel sick, or I would feel so guilty about myself and what I ate that I would make myself sick.
It was almost as if my brain would take over and I couldn’t control anything. Think of it like a little voice in your head saying “Okay, we don’t know the next time we are going to taste a piece of cake, so we might as well try to eat as much as we can now.”
I will be the first to admit that this mindset is not a healthy mindset to have. So going into this cheat day, part of me was concerned if that same mindset would make an appearance again or not. If it did, I was worried that it wouldn’t only stay for one meal, but that it would stay the entire day.
The good news is that none of that happened.
What Happened Throughout The Cheat Day
It was actually an enjoyable day. My family and I made a late brunch of bacon, eggs, pancakes, fruits, you know, the typical American breakfast. I forgot just how much I enjoyed these foods.
In the past, I would have kept eating and eating until every piece of food was gone from the table. That was my stopping point. But yesterday, something strange kind of happened to me. After one plate of breakfast, I felt… full. Very rarely have I ever felt full like that.
I don’t know if this feeling was because of a mindset shift in knowing that I was going to be eating more good food later on in the day or if it was because I knew that there would be another cheat day in a week so I didn’t have to worry about not enjoying these foods again for a while.
Either way, I was feeling good – feeling good about what I ate, feeling good about the rest of the day, and feeling good about myself.
Throughout the rest of the day, I continued to feel full and satisfied. Normally when I feel full I will get hungry again in a few hours or so, but yesterday, I felt satisfied for a good portion of the day. I continued to snack throughout the day, but it honestly wasn’t much.
I don’t think I ended up eating dinner until around 7 or so. I had half of a pepperoni and mushroom pizza, and that was it. Again, I thought I might be eating the entire pizza just because I didn’t know when I would enjoy it again, but it felt as though something in my mind shifted and was controlling my hunger. I didn’t feel the need to over-indulge because I knew that next weekend I would be doing the same thing.
For dessert (probably my biggest weakness as I love sweets), I had a scoop of ice cream and a bowl of Reese’s Puffs. That’s it. It sounds kind of boring, but I was feeling full, and again, I didn’t feel as though I needed to stuff my face.
Throughout the day, I felt alive. I felt as though I was living in the moment, enjoying the taste of foods as they hit my mouth, and just enjoyed time with my family.
From a bodily perspective, I was feeling good. After feeling tired and lethargic for a few weeks, my body was finally feeling energized and back to normal.
How I Feel After My First Cheat Day
So, what about today? How am I feeling after my first cheat day?
Honestly, I feel good. I may be a little bloated, but not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t count calories yesterday, so it was nice to have that weight lifted off of my shoulders, but I also didn’t feel the need to overeat because I knew I would be enjoying good foods again soon. That definitely helped to make yesterday more enjoyable.
The only hard part for me was sleeping. I slept like absolute sh*t and don’t know if it was because of the sugar I consumed or the amount of caffeine I had. I had a difficult time falling asleep as I was super hot, and then kept waking up throughout the night with night sweats.
But, aside from my lack of sleep, I feel AMAZING! I have no regrets about my cheat day. I enjoyed every moment of it and am excited to have another one next weekend.
How My Thoughts About Cheat Days Has Changed
Overall, I can confidently say that my thoughts around cheat days have changed. There was something liberating about yesterday. I realized that I didn’t need to stuff my face until I was sick because I would be enjoying myself again soon. I also realized that allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted for one day a week isn’t going to kill me or “make me fat.”
I guess what I am trying to say is that it gave me hope. It gave me hope in knowing that my fears of gaining weight immediately would not come true, and also that cheat days can actually do both your body and mind more good than harm.
I don’t want to say that my fears of food are gone, because that would be a lie. But yesterday was such a huge step in the right direction for me – one that will only continue to help me as I progress.
Before You Go
Just a quick side-note, if ever you feel embarrassed, just remember that I am a soon-to-be 27-year-old male who needed my family’s help in order to retrain myself how to eat. I am not embarrassed about my eating disorder, and neither should you be.
Everybody struggles with different challenges in life. You shouldn’t hide those challenges because you are scared or worried about what others think of you. Do yourself a favor and seek help however necessary. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to get your life back on track. Be vulnerable, be courageous, and above all else, just be you. You are you and that will always be your greatest strength.