Can “Cheat Days” Ruin Your Fitness Journey?

The latest diet talks in Fort Lee, NJ, revolves around cheat days for dieters. Some people say it’s an effective way to ensure you stick with weight loss plans, while other professionals believe it may harm your chances. Who is right? First, let’s look at what cheat days are. They’re not days you eat pints of ice cream, cookies, and cake until you’re semi-conscious of all the sugar. Cheat days are days you permit yourself to indulge in a couple of pieces of pizza or a dessert after dinner.

Cheat days are part of a healthy eating strategy.

If you’re eating healthy food, you’re not dieting, but you probably are losing weight. When you choose healthy eating as your road to weight loss, sometimes you eat a piece of cake or sample a cookie. It’s not the end of your focus on eating healthier, but part of it. Healthy eating means focusing more on whole foods and reducing the amount of highly processed food and food with added sugar. It’s all about moderation.

Theoretically, cheat days should boost your metabolism.

Your body is hardwired to survive. When food is scarce, the body slows metabolism to ensure there are enough calories for vital functions. That makes it harder to lose weight. Planned cheat days increase caloric intake periodically to keep the metabolic fires burning high. Short-term results indicate that a cheat day can boost metabolic functioning by up to 10% for up to 24 hours.

You might slow your progress with planned cheat days.

If you’re increasing your calories by an extra 500 for one day a week, it will slow weight loss progress. It’s mathematical. It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound. If you cut your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose a pound in one week. If you have a cheat day that week, it will take you 8 days, not seven, to lose a pound. However, you’ll be less likely to feel deprived and more likely to stick with your healthy eating plan the rest of the time. If food with added sugar is your weakness, cheat days may make it harder. It feeds the sugar addiction, keeping it alive.

  • Cheat days don’t mean you eat everything in sight. It means you permit yourself to consume an otherwise forbidden high-calorie food. Focus on portion control, too.
  • If you’ve given up food with added sugar, don’t include those types of food for a while. Wait a month before you do and you’ll probably find the food tastes way too sweet. It’s because you’ve retrained your sense of taste.
  • People who never seem to have a problem with their weight and can eat everything tend to eat more like people who diet and include cheat days. They eat healthy most of the time, but when they want a specific food, they eat it. It never becomes an issue.
  • Plan cheat meals around special occasions so you can join in the fun. On the cheat day, eat slowly and savor the food, allowing your stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so you’ll eat less.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

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