There are several ways to optimize cheat day, so it doesn’t spiral out of control and cause you to lose your progress. You may be successfully following a new dietary lifestyle and seeing your desired results. Perhaps you feel well on your way to your goals, but then you notice a lag in your progress. You end up lapsing into an unhealthy binge eating state after weeks of starting a new diet. Not to worry, this is a common scenario.
For most fitness and health enthusiasts, the concept of cheat day is a debatable one. A cheat day is basically a day that gives dieters the opportunity to take a break from strict diets and indulge in satisfying cravings. Cheat meal is an important factor in weight loss because allows you to indulge in your favorite food outside of your diet and sets the stage for burning more body fat. An ideal cheat meal should not ruin your weight loss efforts.
While cheat days may be a helpful tool to in curbing craving and binge-eating, cheating frequently can land you back to where you started. Most of the meals you eat should be healthy and align with your diet. Only about 20 percent should be dedicated to satisfy your indulgence.
To maximize your results for cheat meals, avoid binge eating food. Overeating can hinder your progress massively. Listed below are tips on how to incorporate cheat days into your diet and maximize them as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Timing is Important to Optimize Cheat Day
Timing is important in optimizing your cheat day. The best times to indulge in a cheat meal include;
- After a period of intermittent fasting.
- After an intense workout
Leptin levels are found to decrease after fasting for a period of 12 hours. This is why you should consider fasting before a cheat meal, a practice to implement in your diet program.
Also it’s important not to stretch a cheat meal beyond the assigned cheat day. Limit yourself to one cheat day per week. Don’t save your cheat meals for the weekend or stretch it over 2 days. It can completely throw your weight loss progress off.
To Optimize Cheat Day Practice Mindful Eating
Being mindful of what you eat is a determining factor in the success of your dieting strategy — especially when you’re having a cheat day. You need to still practice portion control with your cheat meal to optimize its benefits.
It involves paying attention to your body’s hunger cues to prevent overeating. This means eating when you’re hungry but stopping when you’re full or satisfied. It also involves slowly and mindfully savoring each bite, to enjoy cheat meal experience.
Avoid Junk and Addictions
It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but a cheat day is not an excuse to eat anything and everything. Eat what you want, not whatever you can eat and keep the junk at bay. Also stay away from foods you have a weakness for like chocolate. It makes it hard to stick to your diet if you introduce these trigger foods.
Certain foods should be avoided, such as highly processed foods, trans-fats, refined carbs, and chemical-rich foods. These foods are unhealthy, can do a lot of harm and provide little to no nutritional value.
To Optimize Cheat Day Plan in Advance
A major con of cheat day is the likelihood of overeating. Often when we mentally give ourselves permission to indulge, it can be hard to hit the break.
Planning is key for cheat meals. Peg your cheat meal at preferably 500-1000 calories. This will help you track the exact amount of food you plan on eating and ignore the desire to pass that threshold. This way you can fit it around your calorie intake that day and have something to look forward to– giving you that extra motivation to do well.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Of course, a glass of wine or beer is fine, however cheat day is not synonymous with excessive drinking. Alcohol has little to no nutritional value and can affect your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
It also interferes with your body’s fat metabolism and can hinder your weight loss efforts. If you’re serious about losing weight, you’ll want to reconsider drinking too much.