The truth about dieting is that it sucks-let’s be honest here no one likes eating grilled chicken, rice and vegetables all the time. We all crave a nice bowl of macaroni and cheese with bacon on occasion, or maybe a big bowl of ice cream or a double cheeseburger.
We shouldn’t feel about it either, we are hardwired to crave these foods-and the people who make them are well aware of it. We are designed to seek out foods rich in sugars, fats and salts, hence why we crave these types of foods instead of a veggie burger.
These are all foods that we love yet are told that are bad for us, but is it alright if we do so every so often?
How Does a Cheat Day Work?
As mentioned prior, sticking to healthy diet can be miserable, even more so if you are someone who is regularly active. Exercising burns up more calories and naturally makes us hungrier-craving many of these foods which we are told to avoid.
A cheat day on the other hand involves eating whatever the person wants, without having any limitations. This means you can show down on all of your favorite foods all day long, without having to worry about it.
The idea behind this system is that by pigging out on one day a week it will better keep you on schedule the rest of the week. Essentially you will be satisfying your cravings for all of the calorie rich junk food for this one day, to help satisfy yourself for the entire week.
While the idea of a cheat day or even a cheat meal may seem amateurish, it is a thought shared by many professional athletes and bodybuilders alike. This idea works for these people because many of them are on a very restricted diet as it is, which makes it easier for them to burn off all of these additional calories too.
How Can Cheat Days Benefit You in the Long Term?
Can Improve Metabolism
Yes, the idea that binge eating one day a week will boost your metabolism does seem crazy, yet the science points in that direction. This has to do with the body and its ability to adapt its metabolism, and how our diet affects that.
If you are someone concerned about their weight, you are probably on a diet that restricts your calories to one extent or another. While this will help you lose weight in the short term, if you do not adjust those numbers your body will eventually adapt, and you will see less results down the line.
A way to get around this is to “confuse” your body by throwing in a cheat day once a week, which can throw your body for a loop. This all has to do with the hormones which control and regulate our hunger, which a cheat day helps to improve.
It Will Help You Stick to Your Goals
Any trainer, nutritionist, dietician or anyone else in the field worth their salt will tell you that sticking to your diet and exercise routine on a consistent basis is key. Doing so consistently is what will make that progression happen, albeit slowly.
This slow progression of things is extremely frustrating to people, as they do not see an immediate result of all the hard work they’re doing. This can be demoralizing and is the reason why many people give up on their diets.
Having a cheat day on the other hand can help relieve some of this stress and obligation, which can help you stick to your routine in the long run.
What Do I Have to Watch out For on Cheat Day?
While a cheat day is designed around the idea that you can eat whatever you like, try to do so in moderation. One major mistake people make on their cheat day is to just eat whatever they can even though they have already satisfied their hunger. They don’t want to waste their day, so they eat everything in sight.
Another mistake people make is that they give themselves a cheat say even though they don’t deserve it. If you are someone who is an athlete or someone who exercises regularly and is in good shape, it is a good idea to take a break and cheat every so often.
With that being said if you are someone on a casual diet and someone who isn’t too active, then a cheat day is going to do you more harm than good. Stick to a cheat meal once a week instead of a cheat day if this sounds like you.