Weight-watchers and gym rats enthusiastically look forward to the dawn of the cheat day of every week. Sumptuous foods, most of the time unhealthy, that satisfy your mind and body are downed without any caution while cheating. Despite being a day that’s uplifting to any dieter’s spirit, cheat days are not as rosy as they appear.
Benefits Of Cheat Days
After five or six consecutive days of training, any health-conscious individual would be doing much injustice to the body and mind if there’s no day of rest. This is that day of the week is the cheat day, wherein your body can take some downtime to recharge its batteries and not worry about what to eat. Cheat days have a few benefits.
- Time for muscle repair: For people who have intense workout regimes with cardio and strength training, a day off allow the muscle to recover and recuperate. This will, in turn, make them supercharged to endure the workouts in the upcoming week.
- A day for your sanity and satiety: If you are a huge fan of oily, sugary or salty foods, you are not likely to consume them on days you are training. However, a large number of people claim that looking ahead to their cheat day keeps them motivated. A cheat day also prevents you from succumbing to your cravings.1
Downside To Cheating Too Much
The biggest disadvantage with celebrating cheat day of the week is the risk of indulgence. Not all humans are iron-willed when it comes to resisting food. Moreover, if you are one of those who had recently adopted clean eating practices, a cheat day will put you back to square one.
Unless you have followed a healthy diet for 3 weeks in a row, cheat meals are not mandatory. Your body needs time to adapt to any dietary change and binge drinking or eating on a cheat day will also take you farther away from your weight loss goal. Your cheat meals should also be nutritionally balanced and devoid of any unhealthy ingredients to help you keep on track.2
Impact Of Cheat Meals On Your Metabolism
Several studies have proven that a day without calorie restriction has the primary influence on the hormone leptin. Its main function is to regulate appetite by signaling to the brain that you are full. It’s released by fat cells and when its levels fall, you feel famished and tend to overeat.
Practising caloric restriction on a regular basis can cause a drop in leptin levels. This causes your thyroid hormone to fall which are responsible for the maintenance of your metabolic rate. Although this keeps you from having the impulse to indulge in overeating, prolonged calorie restriction can make your metabolism sluggish and muscle adaptation poor.3
On cheat day, your increased intake of calories causes a spike in leptin production. This raises your metabolism a bit and might help you burn a few calories. The hike in metabolism is just 3–1o percent within 24 hours. In comparison to the insane amount of calories you need to consume for this to happen, the rise in metabolism is very minimal.
You can increase leptin production by having foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Scientific researchers have recommended that sticking to a healthy diet, at least 80% of the time is enough to boost your metabolism and supplement your training. Make sure that your cheat meals are well-within moderation so that you don’t slack on your fitness regime. Whenever you celebrate your cheat days, avoid gluttony and its pitiful consequences!
|↑1||do Vale, Rita Coelho, Rik Pieters, and Marcel Zeelenberg. “The benefits of behaving badly on occasion: Successful regulation by planned hedonic deviations.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 26, no. 1 (2016): 17-28.|
|↑2||Benelam, Bridget. “Satiation, satiety and their effects on eating behaviour.” Nutrition Bulletin 34, no. 2 (2009): 126-173.|
|↑3||Farooqi, I. Sadaf, and Stephen O’rahilly. “Leptin: a pivotal regulator of human energy homeostasis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89, no. 3 (2009): 980S-984S.|