When following a strict fitness regimen, whether your aim is to be healthier, or look better, or both, it’s inevitable for you to get tempted to eat something that could possibly destroy your firmly-maintained diet. Craving for something is only natural, we’re humans.
Giving in to temptations occasionally is not bad even if you’re trying to get fit. That’s what cheat days are for.
What are cheat days?
Cheat days are scheduled days when people who are on a strict diet get to eat meals or foods that are not part of their recommended diet. Simply put, these are days when fitness buffs get to eat whatever they want.
Cheat days help boost your metabolism as well as your psychological well being. It is believed that some diets fail because people who are on those strict diets feel deprived because they are restricted from eating what they really want to eat. This feeling of deprivation may lead to anger or frustration which can result in that individual under the strict diet to throw their efforts in dieting out the window and totally give in to what they crave for.
When you have a cheat day, you have that special day when you can spoil yourself and indulge in not-so-healthy foods without having to stop dieting. You can go back to your usual strict diet the day after.
It may seem ironic but cheat days actually help you lose weight faster. When you’re already slim or lean, your body’s metabolism slows down because there’s no fats left to burn. Eating food high in calories (as the usual case in cheat days) causes your metabolism to go up once again. The food you eat during cheat day turning to fat is unlikely because you got a boost in your metabolism.
Having cheat days also let you eat what you want without feeling guilty; and you don’t have to worry because cheat days (so long as not done too frequently) won’t immediately make you fat. You won’t lose your progress in dieting just because of a cheat day.
However, cheat days can be tricky because some people just can’t go back to their healthy diets after getting a taste of cheat meals. This is most common if you include sugary foods to your cheat day meals because sugar can be addictive. It takes a strong will to go back to your healthy meals after a cheat day.
You have to carefully watch yourself and have some self control when you feel like turning your cheat day into a cheat week. Cheat days, although highly anticipated, can cause damage to your progress – but only if you have problems with moderation and self control.
Some people go for cheat meals rather than cheat days. During cheat days, you get to eat whatever you want for the entire day; on the other hand, cheat meals simply mean eating what you want for lunch then going back to your recommended diet for dinner. Some people opt for cheat meals rather than cheat days to ensure moderation.
When you’re on a cheat day and you feel the urge to turn it into two consecutive days of cheating, it may be the start of a problem. Think about how far you’ve come and the efforts you’ve already exerted just to be able to be fit and ask yourself if you really want to throw those efforts away.
Cheat days aren’t for everyone. Whether or not cheat days or cheat meals are good for you depends on how well you can control your cravings.