Most people who train regularly, especially those who compete, understand the importance of a deload week. You push push push, then you back off and are able to come back stronger. Most people who train hard also eat for performance, and I'm going to argue that sometimes you need a diet deload, too.
When most people "fall off the wagon" they really go off and their dinner plate looks like this:
|Dessert coming up next...|
And thats often because because you waited too long to "deload" from a strict eating regiment. It's akin to getting burned out from training, and then not stepping foot in a gym for a month.
So just as a training deload doesn't mean that you stop going to the gym for a week, a diet deload doesn't mean you go nuts on the empty calories. It just means that you allow yourself a mindful selection of food, and maybe dessert, that
you often avoid.
For me, that often means eating something with rice or noodles, because I love things like pad thai and bim bim bap. If some dessert looks really delectable, maybe I'll share it with ManFriend Matt but keep my main course inline with normal "performance eating".
Why would someone do this? Isn't this "cheating" and just a sign of being weak??
No. We push hard. Even steel bent enough times is going to break. And just as your body occassionally needs some extra time to recover, your mentality towards food could use the same thing. And it's super beneficial to occasionally experience the "normal" eating that you probably see everyone around you do.
I like to take a full week of mindful off-diet eating. I usually find that I do that every 2 months or so and I generally do it after a competition where I've been pushing really hard in both training and strict in diet to make weight and recover my best.
Then, as with training, it's back to the grind stone with a little better mindset.