Will “Cheat Day” Ruin My Progress?

Diet is an important part of your fitness regime. While each person may have minor differences in their requirements based on their goals, everyone agrees that eating healthy is a top priority. What becomes more controversial is patterns of eating, intermittent fasting or multiple small meals throughout the day. Whether you should have a cheat day or not is also debated. Some say it will ruin your progress, while others suggest it may help boost progress. Cheat days are reserved for people on restrictive diets. It is considered a way to boost your metabolism by eating whatever you want. Can it really help you lose weight?

Are you thinking of cheat days or cheat meals.

There’s a big difference between the two. One starts at dawn and ends when you finally fall asleep. The other focuses on eating one meal that’s higher in calories. Both can be a problem if you aren’t carefully choosing your food. If you opt for a cheat day and consume all junk food and sugary treats, you’ll probably eat twice as much as you would in a normal diet day. Cheat meals are often junk food and high calorie food, particularly those that contain sugar.

How could cheat days possibly help?

The theory surrounding cheat days is that it boosts your metabolism and causes the body to produce leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells the brain you’re full and it’s time to stop eating. The body has to increase its metabolism to burn all the calories you consumed by overeating. That can prevent metabolic slow down that may occur on a super restrictive diet. There is still a lot of debate whether cheat days boost leptin, but most scientists agree it does boost metabolism. However, that boost is between 3 and 10% and only lasts 24 hours.

You can’t starve yourself into a better body.

If you’re trying to build a body that wins championships, or even one that is the best version of you, you can’t get there by starving yourself forever. You’ll deplete your glycogen stores and won’t maximize the benefit of working out, since you’ll tire too quickly. That means it will be less efficient and the fatigue can even cause injury. Whether you have a cheat meal or a cheat day, it can replenish that glycogen and boost your energy. It’s similar to carb loading two or three days before a marathon. However, it may improve your performance, but still can slow your weight loss.

  • If a sugar addicted was part of the reason you gained weight and broke the habit, consuming junk food and sugary products on cheat days can really set you back.
  • Some people feel cheat days actually help them stick with a restrictive diet. They learn to ignore cravings, since they know that they’ll be able to eat the food they crave on cheat days.
  • If you’re preparing for competition, it’s important to stick with the dietary regimen created for you. Cheat days should not be part of it. Cheat days can also create a negative cycle of restrictive eating and binging.
  • If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or other health issues, like high blood pressure and following a special diet from your health care professional, cheat days should be avoided.

For more information, contact us today at Jarfit


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