It seems like everyone who exercises or diets these days has a cheat day. They’re all the rage.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for cheat meals/cheat days but they need to be used wisely.
If you’ve been dieting for 3 days then personally I don’t think you need (or deserve) a cheat day yet. It can start a downward spiral back to bad habits if used incorrectly.
How many of you have ever planned on having one piece of chocolate or a couple of crisps and ending up eating them all? The dangers of cheating is it can have similar results.
Some people start dieting have a cheat day and it quickly turns into a cheat week and before you know they’re back to their old bad habits. A routine needs to be built first.
If you’ve only just started eating healthy and then you have a day of eating unhealthy foods then:
1. It can be too many calories for the body to deal with
2. It’s likely you may eat a few more of these foods some time soon.
I think cheat meals/days should be used once you’ve got into a good routine with your diet and exercise. After a couple of weeks of clean eating and good quality exercise then you should start thinking about pencilling in a cheat meal into your weekly plan.
Some people will have a whole day of eating crap, in my opinion this is a bit too excessive and may halt your progress, I’d say a nice unhealthy meal on a saturday or sunday night is perfect!
No matter how well you’ve dieted and exercised in the week if you eat a dominoes pizza, a pack of cookies, tub of ben and jerrys a big bar of chocolate, portion of chips and a couple of pints of cokes/beer your body is going to have one hell of a job consuming that without storing fat. It can be easy to consume 5000 calories on a cheat day like that.
Maybe just the pizza would give your metabolism a kick to tell it ‘I’m not being starved lets speed up and start burning serious calories again’ as well as giving you that psychological boost and feeling of satisfaction. So you need to enjoy it, savour it then move on back to your clean eating.
It takes someone with very strong will power to eat clean all the time, I know I can’t do it. I’m human, I have a few treats on the weekend, sometimes a few too many.
If you feel like you don’t need a treat don’t have one for the sake of it just keep going with your clean ways until you do need one.
An important step is to pencil it in, e.g. Curry saturday night. If you know this is coming up you can look forward to it and also it will stop you reaching for that chocolate bar or slice of pizza on Friday night.
Cheats days and meals should not be used for the sake of it or because everybody else does it. They should only be used to accomplish something specific which can be physical or psychological and it should all relate towards your specific goal.
Just to make it clear this is my top 3 reasons for when you should use cheat days/meals and why:
1. When your metabolism has grinded to a halt after following a calorie restrictive diet.
2. If you’ve gone low carb. Cheating will help to refill glycogen stores which have been depleted from following a low carb diet (prolonged high intensity exercise also lowers glycogen stores).
3. For a psychological boost. If you’ve eaten clean 6 days a week then the cheat can give you a mental boost to continue with your healthy eating ways (that’s my main reason for using them)
So if you’re just a bit bored with healthy eating or you’re feeling stressed then that’s not a valid reason for cheating if you really want to achieve some serious results.
Don’t get me wrong we’re all human, if you end up eating some unplanned bad food in the week it’s not the end of the world. Either right it off or call it your cheat meal instead and skip the weekend one. You could also try a mini fast, this works well for me, I won’t eat for 12-18 hours after a cheat meal and I feel great then.
You need to earn the right to cheat if you really want to see some results.
Do it right and these cheat meals and days can prove to be an almighty weapon in helping you to burn some serious fat!
Jamie ‘Earn Your Cheat’ Stedman
PS You can eat anything you want on a cheat meal but I would try to avoid:
– Loads of alcohol (especially not before the meal)
– Loads of deep fried food
– High fructose corn syrup
PPS Drink loads of water during and after cheat days/meals. This can help you to stop feeling so bloated.