People have various reasons to be on diet including weight loss, muscle gain or to improve their performance in sports and athletics. The need for these diets can be different but they all share one thing in common: “Cheat Days”.
A cheat is a kind of scheduled break from the diet. It can be considered as a holiday from the diet. The concept rolled out and buzzed in the trend along with the word “clean eating”. It is based on the ideology that a dieter can cheat the diet one day a week as long as he/she is religiously following the diet for the remaining six days. Now social media has increased the buzz around taking cheat days, especially for those who maintain their diet to gain muscles.
What Are Cheat Days?
Cheat Days are the days when you can reward yourself in little portions of your favorite food for maintaining the diet. Cheat days can be more of a psychological tool than being a physical tool. You should know that you are following a very strict diet when you desperately need a cheat day. The more you restrict some foods the more your mind will think of them making you crave for those foods. So it is advisable to keep your fitness journey enjoyable with a moderately strict diet.
Does Cheating Really Work?
Managing weight and body composition are considered to be very complex processes. It is very different for each individual and not everybody will respond the same to the same strategies and tactics.
It is a very well known fact that if you eat calories less than you burn, it is likely that weight loss will occur fast. So keeping this in mind the cheat day strategy can be fruitful only if you are able to execute a properly planned diet and maintain your low calorie meter.
Weight Loss And Metabolic Changes
Research has frequently claimed that using cheat meals will bring measurable changes in body composition and iit can also improve metabolic function by bringing fluctuations in the hunger hormone “Leptin”.
Leptin is a hormone used by the human body to suppress the feelings of hunger. Studies suggest that when a person experiences significant weight loss, leptin levels may decrease. But these results are inconsistent and thus not reliable.
A common theory related to weight management suggests that the lower the levels of leptin the more you are likely to binge eat due to the decrease in the levels of hormone leptin that sends out signals to the brain that you are satisfied and fulfilled. This may lead to unexplained weight gain.
Strategies To Consider
1. Being Mindful
One thing that can make sure that you can be successful is “Being Mindful” of whatever you are eating even on cheat days. Mindful eating is a strategy that suggests you take care of your body’s hunger needs. It suggests that you should start eating when you feel hungry but you should never stick to binge eating. You should stop yourselves as soon as you feel full.
2. Focus On One Cheat Treat
Another strategy that can be beneficial for your diet is that you can focus on on or maximum two meals. Don’t try to cover all your favorites on a single cheat meal as it will cause you to overeat.
3.Plan For Success
Prepare yourself to make the lifestyle changes that will bring you success. If you are in a place where you want to succeed by hook or by crook then it is very likely that you will give up on your temptations and distractions. Try to implement a plan on your cheat days as you do for regular diet days.
4. Make Your Everyday Diet Enjoyable
The most common reason behind the failure in following a diet is when you don’t enjoy your diet and feel the burden of maintaining it. Try to include tastier but healthier versions of your favorite food in your diet.
Binge Eating In Cheat Meal
A great concern with cheat day is mindless eating or its potential to get converted into binge eating. There are various causes of obesity. It is not always calories in and out.
Cheat Days can be difficult for those who have problems with addiction to food or overeating.
Even a cheat meal should be adapted mindfully with a healthy eating plan. Cheating should not mean that you ignore your hunger and eat as much as you can.
Cheat days or meals can be an effective way to maintain their diet for some people because they allow them to indulge in tasty food and satisfy their cravings. But for other people it can cause disturbance in their diet plans.