In a protest against the health fads and diets we are constantly bombarded with, I’d like to wish you a happy National Eat What You Want Day. As you may have guessed, this day is fully dedicated to eating whatever you want regardless of its amount of calories, fat, or whether it contains gluten or not.
Luckily this year, the holiday also falls on Mother’s Day which is a special gift to mothers across America. People are encouraged to use their imagination in today’s celebrations and not restrict themselves to just only pigging out on junk food. Maybe there’s a strange or intriguing dish that you’ve always wanted to try but just didn’t have the courage to before. Or perhaps a new restaurant has opened down the street from you but you always felt guilty to try it out because of the high prices. Who says you have to wait until Thanksgiving to prepare a full-on turkey dinner? Today is the day to push that guilt aside and splurge in all ways possible.
On CNN, many people sent in examples of how they would be celebrating the holiday, showing pictures of foods such as a filet mignon with caramelized onions and an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. Others had more creative ideas such as guiltlessly eating other’s lunches in the community office break room, or simply disregarding the holiday because "every day is Eat What You Want Day" to them.
While it’s not advised to overindulge every day, a weekly “cheat day” can actually be beneficial. According to Men’s Fitness, consuming a high calorie meal once a week pushes your metabolism into overdrive by forcing it to break down a meal much larger than normal. After monotonous and strict dieting your body can begin to adapt and thus plateau. Eating a larger meal than average will replace your levels of glycogen, our fuel storages, which may have been lost due to dieting, exercising, or working out. A planned cheat meal can help you stay in shape more consistently plus gives you more energy for the workouts.
Increasing your carbohydrate intake can also enhance the performance of your training over following days. Anyone who ran on track or cross country may be familiar with the pre-race pasta parties or bagel breakfasts. Runners will commonly use this carb overload to boost their performance and energy levels.
There are also psychological benefits to cheat days. Just Eat explains that putting yourself in the mind frame of never eating any junk food actually encourages you to do so. Having a cheat meal should be thought of as a weekly release and in the long run can help you maintain healthy eating.