You have recently started a new workout program and diet –working out 4 to 5 days a week, getting good rest, as well as eating right and healthy –you are feeling great! You may be tempted to reward yourself for your hard work/dieting for just a day with your favourite cheesy pizza. And it's just for a day so how bad can it really be. Right? While this may seem like an ideal way to relieve yourself from the monotony and stress of a restrictive diet, and a perfect way to reward yourself for all the hard works you have put in, there may be a major downside to this. Read on to find how a simple Cheat day can turn into Cheat Week and so on and ruin your weight loss plan.
So what is a Cheat Meal/Day, anyway?
As the name suggests, a cheat meal or day basically describes a diet that veers from your regular, healthy, planned diet pattern. It often consists of high-calorie foods that would not otherwise be permitted on a typical diet plan.
A Cheat Meal, within the context of a planned-restrictive diet, involves allowing yourself a particular meal that you would usually avoid on other days for health reasons. Like a chocolate cake, a pizza, burgers and so on. This can be different for different people, depending on their diet preferences and goals. A Cheat Day on the other hand, as the name implies, involves allowing yourself to indulge in foods of one’s own choice for an entire day –be it fast foods, dessert or process snacks –pretty much anything!
There is no set guideline as to when or how often your cheat meal or day should occur. Most people will include one cheat may or day per week. However, this can vary from person to person depending on what the individual’s health or weight loss goals are. These types of strategies are found to be helpful when it comes to offering relief from the otherwise monotonous, structured eating plan. Additionally, they are adaptable and can be implemented alongside most diet patterns.Despite this, it is important to know that cheating strategies also have their downside as well. And it pretty much depends on how you decided to go about them.
The Downside of Cheat Days
When have you ever heard the word “cheat’ use in a good context? The negatives of a cheat day are indeed right there in the name. You cheat on your structured, healthy diet by taking a day in a week to indulge in whatever you want -any type of food is acceptable on this day. This may sound completely fine considering it is only for a brief period. But what most people fail to realize is that it is incredibly easy to overindulge. This can derail much of the hard work you have put in, the weight loss and the health gains you have made so far in your journey. And if a cheat day becomes aregular part of your week, you risk completely counteracting your dieting efforts.
Additionally, according to one study, it was found that overindulging in foods after what seems like a period of ‘dieting’ can trigger a cycle of feast and famine, and ultimately lead to binge-eating. This is particularly true especially when you consider your “cheat day” as the day to go all out on foods, which only worsen the problem.
Needing a cheat meal or cheat day in itself is a red flag to look out for. It simply means that your eating plan is not sustainable or too restrictive for your health and well being. This gives more room for overindulging on your set “cheat days” which can turn into “cheat weeks” if not controlled, which can counteract all your weight loss or healthy-eating efforts.
Lastly, it is also important to know that these setbacks in your diet can have a lasting impact beyond derailing your weight loss goals. There is enough evidence suggesting that binge-eating can make ‘obesity prone’ individuals less active throughout the day after overindulging compared to those who were less prone to obesity. This inactivity can put you at a risk for weight gain and even harm your overall health. Moreover, it is also suggested that it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for weeks while other studies have found that binge-eating lowers insulin sensitivity, which ultimately leads to diabetes.
What is the best way to approach Cheat Days?
Strategies like cheat meals or days aren’t one-size-fits-all. You have to know yourself and find out what is sustainable for you. A single-day binge may be helpful for some while an occasional small portions indulgence may be more sustainable for others. It truly depends on you and how you go about it. Here are some ways for a more healthy and sustainable way to approach cheat days:
- Pick a day of the week that will be your designated “cheat” day and stick to it.
- Pre-plan your meals for that day.
- Make sure you indulge your cravings
- Focus on one particular cheat ‘food’ instead of trying to cram all at once
- Be mindful of what you eat, especially on cheat days
- Avoid nutrient-poor foods on cheat days
- Do not starve yourself. Give yourself a small treat everyday
- Do not use foods to reward, punish or comfort yourself
- Make sure to be active even on cheat days
- If you do not feel like cheating, then don’t. Do not force it
Partner up with Healthy Supplements to stay on track
Healthy natural supplements that help suppress appetite yet give you the right boost to keep your metabolism up and running and burn calories is what you need to keep you on track with your health or weightloss journey. Supplements like Nutrixgold Juice, Turmlite Capsules and Weight Watchers Tea from Preserva Wellness are the ideal candidate for that. The rich Ayurvedic-empowered formulation in each of these products offers an effective yet nutritious way to boost metabolism, speed up fat burning, suppress appetite and help promote healthy and positive weight naturally. They are made using 100% plant-based ingredients, making them the perfect and safest addition to your regular diet, excellent for cheat days cravings!
The Bottom Line
While allowing one’s self to indulge in their cravings on a single meal or an entire day may be motivating for some people and help them stick to their healthy eating plan during the week, it can also be equally unhealthy for others, especially for individuals with emotional, binge or disordered eating tendencies. However, incorporating mindful eating and self-control practices are sustainable ways to make your cheat meals or days more successful. Moreover, flexibility is key; there is no harm in having the occasional treats unless you don’t go overboard with it. And lastly, swapping your cheat meals with healthier options is a great way to still indulge on foods yet not derail all the weight loss and health progress you have made so far.