If you eat well and train well then you will probably be familiar with the concept of a cheat meal or a cheat day.
A cheat day is when you pick one day of the week to relax and treat yourself by eating something you want as reward for your hard work throughout the week.
A cheat day/meal has proved to be very effective in helping people maintain a healthy diet.
I know with me I will pencil in a cheat meal and I will then have something to look forward to and it stops me from eating crap in the days leading up to it.
So mentally it has a benefit in that sense but also physically/metabolically.
When you lower your eating intake which most people do when they try to lose weight your metabolism thinks it’s being starved so eventually it will slow down, this means you will be burning less calories and ultimately losing less weight.
A cheat meal will prove to your body that it is not being starved and will crank up your metabolism again as a result, maximising your weight loss efforts!
So it is a great tool to use in your healthy eating and training program.
Of course though there are dangers and things you need to be careful of.
You need to be mentally strong enough to eat a cheat meal and then immediately go back to eating well. For a lot of people a cheat meal can be the start of returning to their own ways so if you are doing to use it make sure that you make plans for the meal after so you can get back into the swing of things straight away.
It’s a good idea to pencil in your cheat meal in the weekend because that is where you will be most vulnerable and more likely to go off track anyway.
Many people can go too far on a cheat day.
As you may have noticed I said cheat day at the top but have been talking about cheat meals since.
In my opinion a lot of people take a cheat day too far which is why I think you should have a cheat meal on a Saturday or Friday night and then go back to normal. This will help to reset your metabolism and then you are good to go again.
Some people (I’ve done this myself) will on a cheat day have a fry up in the morning, burger and chips for lunch and then a take away and 10 pints in the evening. You will do way too much damage there and will have undone a lot of your hard work in the week.
A better way to approach is it as I have said just have one cheat meal, don’t go overboard on portion size, savour it, don’t feel guilty, enjoy it and move on back to your hard work.
I’ve done this post as I’ve had a lot of questions recently about cheat days and how to approach them.
Alcohol on a cheat day can also be really bad for you. I’m not here to tell anyone to go alcohol free but if you are serious about your health, training and body shape then you need to limit alcohol (especially beer) as much as you can.
The entire purpose of a cheat day/meal is to regulate your leptin levels, reset your metabolism which creates a hormonal environment conducive to fat burning. Alcohol will ruin pretty much ALL of the positive hormonal benefits.
Cheat Meal + Alcohol = Fat Gain
1-2 drinks won’t be too bad but if you are having 3+ pints/drinks every cheat day then you will put on fat.
Remember though the reason why you are training hard and eating well.
It’s because you have a goal which you are desperate to achieve, to reach it there was always going to be sacrifices so just think about how good you will feel once you’ve reached your goal.
Quick stat for you:
It takes an hour of intense exercise to burn off 4 glasses of wine. So if you are drinking a couple of bottles a week and not getting the results you want, try lowering your alcohol intake by half and see what happens.
Train hard, live healthy and enjoy.
PS Any questions please ask and as always please share with the people who you think will benefit from the post.