As you start your fitness routine, you will realize that your hard work is paying off and that you are making some positive progress. As you approach your weight loss goal, you may decide to treat yourself. This can be done through a cheat day, snack or cheat meal. When you decide to weight yourself after your cheat day, you get stunned, you have gained 4 pounds. So, why has this happened? The good news here, is that the weight gain is not necessarily fat, so what is it? Understanding if cheat days are ideal for your diet or fitness plan is very important.
What are Cheat Days?
Cheat days are quite common among fitness and diet enthusiasts. In most cases, even the strictest dieters cannot survive on a protein and vegetable diet without having a cheat meal or cheat day. Taking a break or having a cheat day has proven to be ideal and has helped most stick to their diet plan and achieve long-term fitness success. Will one cheat day make me gain weight? This is a common question among those who are dieting or on a workout routine. Planning to indulge in a cheat day depends with one’s appetite and tastes. During a cheat day one is allowed to eat whatever he desires, be it pizza, alcohol, burgers, chocolate and much more. However, are cheat days a good thing, especially if you are looking to lose weight?
Difference between Cheat Meals and Cheat Days
Naturally, after having an intense workout for an entire week, one will feel the urge to treat themselves. That is where cheat meals and cheat days come in. Cheat meals and cheat days do not differ that much. So, what is the difference?
- Cheat days – During cheat days, one is practically allowed to eat whatever they want. Most people will eat anything they can get their hands on. Which may result in people eating twice as many calories as on a normal day.
- Cheat meals – Cheat meals are different the sense that one can eat healthy the entire day apart from one meal, whereby one can eat whatever they want. The cheat meal is something that is not part of their diet, usually junk food.
How do Cheat Days Affect Your Body?
Many believe that cheat days are ideal to help motivate on to stick to their diet plan. So, for those thinking will one cheat day make me gain weight, it is important to know whether this is the right step for you or not. Indulging in cheat days does not mean that one should binge eat and forget that they are on a diet or workout program. Binge eating during your cheat day can have negative effects especially with your ability of your body to self-regulate. It is a popular misconception that binge eating on your cheat day will boost one’s metabolism. However, this is not the case. In some situations, it may have the opposite effect. To avoid any extreme effects to your body, it is best to approach a cheat day with a plan so that it can end up having positive effects. You need to be more conscious for your body, so manage the things accordingly that fit in for your figure.
Cheat Days’ Physical Aspect
The belief of cheat days is that it leads to the increased production of leptin. Leptin is responsible for boosting one’s metabolism. The theory here, is that once you stop overeating, the body will adapt and burn more calories. Leptin is a hormone made up of amino acids chains. Research is still being done on whether this hormone does really increase after a cheat day. Binge eating or excess eating is thought to boost one’s metabolism by 3 to 10% within a duration of one day.
For someone who has been on a strict diet for long, their glycogen levels (stored in muscles) might be low or limited. This results into one feeling tired and can affect one’s workout performance. There is benefit of restoring glycogen levels through cheat days. Do you know how to do it? Yes, just consume more calories and carbohydrates. It will good for you. Nevertheless, extreme eating or indulgence in your cheat day may have negative effects on your weight loss goals.
Cheat Days’ Psychological Consequences
Cheat days has both negative and positive psychological consequences. It has proven to reduce or stop food cravings on other days. Nonetheless, for other people it may have negative effects. A cheat day for some may make them feel guilty or may end up only thinking about the next cheat day. This may cause one to lose focus on their fitness and diet goals. In some cases, there have been seen some eating disorder as well. This strategy can be more beneficial for you such as mindful eating as well as self-control practices, these are best in this regard. So, will one cheat day make me gain weight? This will entirely depend on you and how exactly you manage your cheat day and whether it is necessary for your situation.
Should one Cheat Regularly?
Most experts will encourage one to let loose and treat yourself one in a while and eat something you have been craving. Once you plan your diet, consider having a day where you can indulge, even if you are aiming to lose weight. Planning your cheat days will help you stay on track as you continue with your fitness routine. If one suffers from high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure, they need to be careful when it comes to cheat days as it can have negative impacts on their health.
The most important thing is to find out whether a cheat day is necessary for you and if it will benefit your diet. At the end of the day you do not want to indulge in a cheat day and end up going back to when you started before you started your diet program.