How Cheat Days Help With Weight Loss
Your hard work is paying off with your diet and workouts, and you keep making progress!
The weight loss goal is in reach, and you decide to treat yourself. It might be a snack, a cheat meal, a cheat day, or even a weekend.
When Monday comes, you weigh yourself for your weekly weight in and the number on the scale seems to have gone up?
Here is the real truth: Yes, on the scale you've gone up a couple of pounds, BUT this is NOT a sign of you putting on FAT.
If it is not fat, what is it? Are cheat days a good idea for your diet and fitness plan?
What are cheat days?
First, a quick overview. What exactly is a cheat day?
“Cheat days”, despite the negative connotation, are planned breaks from your diet plan. For the sake of simplicity we will refer to it as a "cheat meal" or "cheat day", but it should be noted that no food should be demonised or put in the 'bad' list if you want to live a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Rewarding yourself with scheduled breaks from your diet plan, may help you stick to your diet plan, build better habits, and achieve long-term success.
What you plan to indulge in on your cheat day depends on the individual’s tastes and appetite, but the key idea is to let loose and enjoy yourself with something that isn’t on your diet plan.
No matter what type of diet plan you may be following, incorporate meals that you can look forward to helping make the diet plan sustainable!
Sustainable eating means not completely cutting out the foods you really love, as severe restricting can lead to bingeing and will lead you back to square 1.
What are the benefits of a cheat day?
Cheat days can be a great tool to help motivate you to stick to your long term transformation or weight loss goals and also remind you to live a more sustainable lifestyle and diet.
Use cheat days to build a positive relationship with food.
View your favourite dessert or comfort food as a reward rather than a coping mechanism.
Something that you should keep in mind is that a cheat day isn’t a license to binge eat. Binge eating on your cheat day may lead to eating-related issues and hurt your ability to self-regulate. If you struggle with eating disorders such as binge eating, you should first focus on seeking further help with this rather than going on a diet.
How often should you have cheat days?
There is no hard and fast rule on how many cheat days you should have. Or even if you decide between a cheat meal or day. Ultimately, it depends on how well you self-regulate and what your goals are.
It’s so easy for your cheat day to become a cheat weekend, and then a cheat week. Before you know it, you may find yourself in a binge eating cycle. It is important to understand what will help you stay motivated.
The goal is to develop a sustainable, long-term plan. What you should consider are your body composition goal, and how fast you want to reach them. Think about how the extra calories (if any) from your cheat meals will impact your goal.
We would recommend "cheat meals" over "cheat days".
Do cheat days ruin your progress?
A cheat day every once in a while will not erase weeks and months of consistent workouts and healthy eating.
Cheat days can help keep you stay motivated long-term if you practice mindful eating. But remember, this doesn’t mean you can get carried away on cheat days. It is important to always stay within reason and it will go a long way to help you develop healthy eating habits that you can sustain.
Do not stress about any sudden weight gain after a cheat day; it’s not fat but just water weight.
Just make sure after you’ve had your fun, you get back on your fitness journey and keep working towards your goals. Changing your body composition and losing weight is a long-term process, but if you do it right, you’ll have long-term results!
Bottom line: it’s OK to indulge once in a while!