A question that is often asked by dieters is if it’s better to have one cheat meal a week or an entire cheat day ? Well the answer to this question is quite complicated, but just know that it all depends on how much self control you personally have and how long you’ve been dieting.
Benefits Of Cheating On Your Diet
This might sound crazy, but there are actually many benefits by choosing your splurges wisely. The first is what it does for you mentally because for anyone to be on a diet 7 days a week without cheating is incredibly difficult, particularly if you’re dieting for 12 weeks or longer.
Secondly, prolonged periods of caloric restriction causes your leptin levels to drop. Leptin is a hormone that maintains your energy and when it reaches a certain threshold it sends signals to your brain that you have a sufficient amount stored, but when leptin levels drop the signals that are sent to your brain to say you have enough energy will stop and your hunger levels will start to increase rapidly which results in you mindlessly binging on all foods.
Lastly, not only will your leptin levels drop, but your thyroid hormones will also start to decrease which results in a decrease in your metabolic rate. Which means your metabolism will become much slower and so will your fat burning hormones. Basically having some junk food once a week will do a lot to help reinforce your mental fortitude, raise your leptin levels and increase your thyroid hormones.
Cheat Meals And Cheat Days
A cheat meal is where you plan a meal that you love/crave once or twice a week, where you eat reasonably and don’t end up going back for more. To keep it simple just eat what you want until you are satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. For example, if you love pizza eat a few pieces and not the whole thing.
A cheat day is where you eat whatever you want for an entire day, so that you get full and stay full. Although never eat so much to the point where you make yourself feel sick. Cheat days can only be done once every 2 weeks and only if you are making good progress on your weight loss. Measure it like this – for every 3 lbs you lose you can have one cheat day. If your dieting correctly and safely 3lbs is a good amount of weight to lose every 2 weeks.
How To Prepare For Your Cheat Meal/Day
- Do It On Leg Day/Your Biggest Workout Day: The reason for this is damage control, so hopefully after your splurge you won’t have gained much weight or fat. It is much better to cheat on a big training day than say a rest day because you will burn much more calories on that particular day, so that means you are allowed to consume more calories without seeing the effects of it the next day. If you cheat on your rest day you can be assured that the scale will sky rocket the next day, if you don’t want that then follow this tip and do it on your hardest training day.
- Stop Calling It Cheating: Of course if you call this your cheating you are way more likely to feel guilty after it. Remember you earned it and it doesn’t mean you have failed on your diet, so enjoy it while it lasts and get back to your normal routine the day after. Look at it like this; you are simply rewarding yourself for hitting your diet goals and for the progress you have been making.
To sum up both cheat meals/cheat days are effective and it’s up to you to decide which is better for your lifestyle because a healthy lifestyle is one that isn’t centered around dieting; it allows for some indulgences. Just know that as long as you eat healthy wholefoods most of the time a few splurges won’t set you back too much, especially if you follow the tips above on how to prepare for these splurges.
If you have anymore questions about cheat meals or cheat days then please feel free to leave a comment down below.