Cheat foods are things you know you shouldn’t be eating, but do anyway because they just taste so good.

The nutrition nazis would say never to have a cheat food. I try to take a more reasonable approach.

Cheat foods won’t kill you. Cheat years are what does kill you, so you absolutely need to avoid those, but a food here and there isn’t going to cause much damage.

I think a lot of people struggle with cheat foods because they feel so guilty about them. If you feel the need to go to confession because you ate a piece of pie, how enjoyable is the pie really going to be?

Getting rid of the guilt is simpler than you might think. I do it by knowing how the specific food is going to affect me and making a conscious decision whether or not to make that trade. For example, I know that dairy makes me stuffy. So when I look at a dish with cheese on it, I decide whether to enjoy the meal and have a stuffy nose or not. Some days it is worth it, but others I would rather have clear sinuses.

You might know that some foods will stall your weight loss for a day. Again, you get to make that choice. Some foods might be addicting and as soon as you eat them, you fall completely off the wagon for weeks at a time. These foods are more costly.

Take the guilt out of cheat foods. It really detracts from the pleasure of the food. Instead, truly understand how that food will affect you. Weigh the pros and cons of that decision, and choose. Pay the price and move on.