You’ve committed your weekdays to be diet days—great! But since the weekend is just around the corner, you might be thinking of getting some chips, kebabs or sweets for a cheat day. Well, there’s no need for you to deprive yourself of eating one of your favourites at all!
Even fitness gurus have popularised “cheat day”, also called “refeed day.” So, can you really acquire benefits from it, or will it just add some worries to your wellness journey later?
Cheat Days: Can They Help in Losing Weight?
Leptin, a hormone that controls hunger, is released when we consume enough food. It signals the body to promote continuous fat burning. Cheat days help to heighten leptin production and stimulate your body’s metabolism.
When you eat a low-calorie diet, there may be a slight drop in your thyroid hormone T3 production, resulting in a decreased metabolic rate. Fortunately, having a cheat day once a week can help to increase T3 production and boost metabolism.
How to Incorporate a Cheat Day Into your Fitness Routine
To make the most of your cheat day, you can consider the following:
Have a plan of your cheat day in advance
Plan in advance if you’re going out with your friends for a drink or a meal over the weekend. This will help you prepare your cheat day around it. If you really don’t want to miss out on being with your friends, make sure to cut back on calories before the weekend.
Keep everything in moderation
Just because you’re going to have your cheat day, you can order the entire menu from your favourite fast food chain. Discipline yourself to have no more than two cheat meals in a day. Also, opt for a meal that can satisfy you enough to avoid consuming unnecessary extras!
Avoid processed food on your cheat days
Don’t make your cheat day an excuse to fill your body with unhealthy foods. Processed foods and meals with high saturated fats are often linked to heart diseases and colorectal cancer. Make sure to limit these types of foods in your diet. You can opt for some baked beans or avocado instead of enjoying slices of bacon and other fried foods.
List down your cravings
Before the weekend comes, list down all your cravings. This is an effective way to know exactly the foods that you’re craving. For example, if you want to eat a pizza, then you can plan to go for a fun pizza weekend with your friends or family. This technique will also help you savour more the taste of the food during the cheat day!
Strive to get a workout during your cheat day
Try to get a workout during your cheat day. When you do a workout, you can prevent fat from building up inside your body. Also, do not forget to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water. Tricky it is, but our brains can mistake dehydration for hunger.
You can enjoy your cheat day without feeling guilty at all. But of course, you should avoid foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats. A day in a week for a cheat day will not hamper your fitness efforts. Instead, you can be more motivated to stay consistent, not restricted, with your goals. You can also take quality supplements to ensure that you still get the required nutrients for your body.
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