Should You Have a Cheat Day? – Cheating Yourself or Cheating the System?
Alright, it's time to lose weight, pull out the cooking pans get out the food scale, and download your favorite calorie tracking app.
This summer, you're gonna take it even more seriously than last summer.
where your efforts lasted an amazing two weeks.
but not this time! You do everything right from eating healthier home meals with a bunch of vegetables, to cutting down your carb intake to roughly 10%.
But then, just one week in, those naughty naughty cravings kick in, and you look miserably up into the ceiling and tell yourself, "I can really go for some pizza and ice cream right now!" Mmm.
why not have a cheat day? Warning, Up ahead you will find some opinions! If you don't like what's said or disagree with it, that's fine, just leave your disagreements in the comments! Okay.
Cheat days are simple.
A day in a month, a week, two weeks, or whenever where you can splurge on all your favorite junk food and satisfy your gluttonous desires You get a quick taste of your favorite food and then return to you insufferable pattern of pain you call a die dei-t Sounds good.
Well, actually it is.
When you're dieting, you're also considered cutting.
During a cut, hormonal changes changes take place in the body where it shifts the energy allocation state to catabolism.
That means that your body begins to break down stored energy, mainly in the form of fat, of course, , but it'll also wither away some of your muscle mass, especially if you're not resistance training.
And even if you are, it'll be very difficult for your body to build more muscle muscle since you're not providing enough nutrients to do so.
(not enough minerals) The thing is, the longer you stay in a cutting or dieting phase, the more profound these effects on your body takes place.
By introducing a cheat meal, or some call it a nicer term of "re-feed day," you can in a way reset the effects of catabolism, therefore the hormonal effects aren't as potent.
And since diets and cuts usually restrict the amount of carbs you eat because it's easy to do so, your net glycogen stores go down as well.
Glycogen is important for providing quick energy for the body.
When you have the cheat day, you will be able to replenish your glycogen stores since, be honest, most of your cheat food are carb heavy.
So there you have it, cheat days are good! But, remember, weight loss is ultimately a numbers game Eat too many calories overall and you lose the game.
You can argue that a calorie is not a calorie and certain macronutrients digest differently meaning different effects on your weight but in general, this is the best way to track it.
You might lose some water weight if you eat fewer carbs and salt, but no real weight such as coming from fat.
For example, let's say that if you eat 2000 calories per day, you won't gain weight.
This is considered your energy balance.
In a span of a week, that's 14,000 calories to maintain your weight.
Going on a diet, you bring that daily calorie number down to 1500.
Now that's 10,500 calories per week.
Great, but that's before the cheat day.
Let's say, on Sunday, you go a little bit crazy and indulge on 3,000 calories worth of junk.
Now we're looking at 12,000 calories for the week.
Still good, you won't lose as much weight but still under 14,000 calories.
But let's be real.
3,000 calories is nothing.
Heck, that's probably just your breakfast.
Add the burger and fries for lunch and pizza and ice cream for dinner, you'll be lucky if you make it out with just 5,000 calories.
And if you did, that will add to the grand total of 14,000 calories for the week.
All that hard work the first six days completely obliterated by a happy and hungry Sunday.
Moral of the story is, have your cheat day, just don't go absolutely berzerk.
So, physiologically, cheat days have some good benefits, but it's certainly not required and in fact can be completely ignored if you just go on a steady caloric deficit where you eat food high in protein and fats since they will make you full and satisfied.
Hurray for Keto Dieters out there.
And also stay just slightly below your energy balance, about 250 calories less or so, , and have that occasional treat without indulging too much, then you'll be perfectly fine.
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