A wise person once said, a little bit of naughty stuff every now and then is good for the soul, which is probably part of why cheat days when dieting feels so gosh darn good! They satisfy that part of us that just needs to rebel and bend the rules a little.
It might surprise you to know that cheat days can actually be an effective way to help you achieve your weight-loss goals, not just satisfy your soul. As strange as it sounds, cheat days offer a very specific benefit outside of satisfying those food craving we have, and making the length of the diet seem more bearable.
When you diet, the number of calories you consume is often reduced. After a while, your body starts to recognise that it isn’t receiving as many calories as it has been used to and puts the breaks on in regards to burning calories, as a means of preservation of energy. When you have a cheat day or cheat meal, your body is tricked into thinking it is receiving larger amounts of calories again and it reboots its metabolism back into top gear. So by eating the odd cheat meal, once a week, you can actually help enhance your fat burning capabilities.
The problem is that there is a difference between enjoying a big slice of lasagna with cake for dessert, compared to sitting down and binging on an entire pizza, chicken wings, fries, chocolate bars and anything else you can cram into your allotted cheat meal/day period.
Be sensible when choosing your cheat meals. Pick something you will enjoy and find satisfying, but still follow the basic rules;
- Avoid overeating.
- Opt for healthier options that you still enjoy
- Plan ahead, so that you don’t go crazy. Going out with friends or having a dinner party can be a great option for your cheat meal.
- Practice mindfulness. If you really enjoy your food, then slow the meal down a bit and practice mindful eating. This way you can savour each mouthful and will be much less likely to overeat!