“I can resist anything except temptation.” For most of us, that quote feels most applicable when we’re in the middle of changing our eating habits — also known as going on a healthy eating diet.
Let’s face it: cutting out foods like refined sugar, carbs and anything #coveredwithcheese from our diet can be a challenge, particularly when you’ve first started a new eating plan or when you seem to have plateaued in weight loss efforts. It’s one of the reasons that cheat days have become so popular.
What Is A Cheat Day?
A cheat day is a sneaky day that, while it may seem like any other, gives you license to eat whatever you want, without counting calories or sticking to your diet. Goodbye, plain chicken and broccoli. Hello, juicy burger. A cheat day can be any day of the week though most people will have theirs coincide with a weekend day.
The theory behind having a cheat day is that you’ll stick to your diet throughout the week and stave off cravings for those foods tempting you by reminding yourself that you have a cheat day coming up. And then, on said cheat day, you get to enjoy whatever food has been taunting and teasing you.
While the whole “cheat” bit makes it sound illicit, cheat days (or cheat meals) are actually something that bodybuilders and professional athletes often employ in their training programs. That’s because when you’re on a diet, such as the common low-carb diet, you’ve likely reduced the number of calories you’re eating. At the onset of a diet, you may even notice that the weight comes off quite easily.
But our bodies are smart. Over time, they wise up and realize that you’re eating fewer calories than what you’re burning. To offset this, your body adjusts its metabolism, slowing it down so that the body becomes more efficient. This is usually around the time when your weight loss stalls. By introducing a cheat day, the thinking goes, you’re introducing more calories for a limited amount of time, which is enough to trick the body into shifting your metabolism back into high gear.
3 Proven Benefits of a Cheat Day, Including Weight Loss
1. It can help you stick to your goals long-term.
Indulging in planned hedonic deviations — or cheat days to the rest of us — has been proven to help people stick to their diet goals.
2. It can boost your metabolism.
As I mentioned earlier, when you’ve been dieting for some time, you might find your metabolism slowing. A lot of that has to do with leptin, the “starvation hormone.” This is the hormone that tells your brain when you’re full, helps regulate energy and suppresses our desire to eat more food. All good, right? When you decrease calories, however, your leptin levels are affected. This reduction in leptin levels can make it difficult to keep losing weight, even if you’re still eating less.
3. It can help you make the right choice, right now.
Making your goals easier to achieve long-term and increasing your metabolism sounds well and good eventually, but what happens when you’re at the office and that box of doughnuts is staring you in the face?
The beauty of a cheat day is that it can help you make smarter choices about food in the present, allowing you to tap into the concept of intuitive eating.
With My pledge to keep these posts easy to read and not too long I shall stop here! I hope I have given you a little good insight into getting into a cheat day. I can part 2 this article with more in depth explanations etc. Just let me know!