Cheat day – worth it?

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Cheat day – another excuse for gluttony and breaking diet rules? Not necessarily. Today, however, we will take a closer look at him and try to advise the best way to plan a cheat day. It turns out that it can bring many benefits and not only in the form of improved humor. How to use cheat day during weight loss?

WHAT IS “CHEAT DAY”?
Cheat day, or “deceitful day”, is a term for temporary deviation from a restrictive diet during the reduction. Most often we associate with eating pizza, burgers and chocolate, but in reality it looks a bit different. Although it is a day off from the diet, it does not mean that it is worth going to the element and giving up control. It turns out that the planned cheat day can be equally pleasant, and by the way very beneficial for our body.

WHAT DEFINITELY IS NOT “CHEAT DAY”?
As you can guess, it should not be a day of gluttony, how often it is understood. It is assumed that the caloric pool accepted during the cheated day should not exceed 120-150% of the daily energy requirement. It is worth to keep this in mind, because eating a large packet of chips, chocolate and a liter pack of ice cream is almost 3000 kcal! Consumption of 10,000 kcal from “junk” food is not a┬ábig deal. As you can guess, one day of uncontrolled food can ruin our weekly caloric balance.

The adoption of a huge amount of highly processed products, mainly composed of carbohydrates, will not only deprive us of the effects of slimming, but also negatively affect the metabolism. One day of grazing is enough to weaken the metabolism and contribute to the increase in viscous resistance. This condition is manifested by the unrestrained feeling of hunger, despite the feeling of filling and the consumption of enough calories. In addition, it can cause inflammation in the body, a feeling of heaviness, weakness, drowsiness, deterioration of cognitive functions and concentration, etc.

A PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT
Many people indicate that cheat day is a great way to increase morale during weight loss. That’s true, but it should not be related to the deliciousness of the dishes. If during the reduction you eat meals that you do not like, the periodic cheat day is not an option. The correct way out of this situation is to change the diet to one that will simply satisfy us. There are many diet and healthy meals that are very tasty!

The psychological impact is based rather on the fact that in time of cheat day we eat more, we feel more fed, and in addition we eat something that we like very much. It can be a healthy burger with real beef and vegetables, pizza or any other meal that does not fit into the standard diet, but it can not be considered as “empty calories”. Raising the level of leptin (the hormone responsible for the feeling of fullness) and lowering ghrelin (hunger hormone) will increase morale and allow a more pleasant survival of reduction.

INFLUENCE ON METABOLISM
Why do weight loss effects decrease over time? One of the reasons is the slowing down of metabolism, or adapting the organism to a lower caloric supply. In the case of a drastic reduction in calories or starvation, the body may switch to survival mode, which leads to the so-called yo-yo effect. This is because the subsequent caloric surplus is stored by the body for “harder times”. It is a defense mechanism that is designed to survive another period of famine.

Considering that the caloric deficit predisposes to a slower metabolism, long-term reduction without periodic caloric intake (refeed) to which cheat day is actually used, may be difficult and ineffective. We would have to introduce an increasing deficit, which would, of course, affect our well-being, energy, condition, hormonal balance, etc. Cheat day can be a remedy that will turn the metabolism into high revolutions and continue to lose weight.

WHO SHOULD USE CHEAT DAY, WHO SHOULDN’T?
Cheat day is recommended especially for physically active people, in the final stage of reduction, with low levels of body fat. People who start slimming doesn’t need cheat days, because high levels of fat affect the production of leptin, and the caloric deficit (small) does not affect as much metabolism as in lean, with greater muscle mass. Cheat day may also be beneficial in the case of low-carb diets, because it is carbohydrates that give the stimulus for leptin production to the greatest extent.

Summarizing:
– cheat day can have beneficial effects on the psyche, metabolism and endocrine system,
– the caloric pool should not exceed 120-150% of the energy demand,
– you should eat wholesome and unprocessed meals,
– do not eat too much with empty calories,
– it is not worth using cheat day at the beginning of weight loss, when we have a lots of fat to lose

Posted on: May 10, 2018

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