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Fitness & Wellness

Will “Cheat Days” Ruin My Fitness Success?

When people crave some of their favorite unhealthy foods but are trying to focus on eating only healthy ones, cheat days may be an option. There are debates about whether cheat days will still provide success or whether they will destroy a fitness plan. To understand each viewpoint, you have to know what a cheat day is. It’s not a day of gluttony, but a day where you can eat normally and indulge in a slice of cake, fries, or other often forbidden food.

Cheat days may save your efforts to eat healthier.

Craving junk food is a problem, especially when starting a fitness regimen. If you have continual cravings, it can make your life miserable. Even worse, giving in to cravings can cause you to eat everything in sight. A cheat day lets you give in to your cravings without feeling like you’ve failed, so you won’t give up your plan to eat healthier. It provides a time to eat like others when you’re out for burgers with friends and family.

Cheat days may boost your metabolism.

Continuously eating fewer calories can cause your metabolism to slow. Exercise will keep the fires burning hotter, but so can a cheat day. Temporarily increasing caloric intake keeps the metabolic fires burning hot. Your body doesn’t sense potential starvation, so it doesn’t slow metabolism. Keeping metabolism running high is a theory proven true in some short-term studies. They show that cheat days may even increase metabolism by 10%, but only for 24 hours.

The verdict is in, cheat days work for some people and not for others.

For some people, cheat days are perfect for all the reasons mentioned. There are downsides, however. Cheat days can slow weight loss. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose one pound. Cutting calories by 500 a day causes a one-pound weight loss in a week. If you only consume the additional 500 calories you had removed from your diet, you’ll lose a pound in 8 rather than seven. Some people splurge on cheat days and eat far more than the 500 calories they usually cut from their diet. That can significantly slow your fitness progress.

  • If you consume sugary foods or high-fat foods, it can be even harder to remove them from your diet the next day. These foods are addictive. Some people can’t get back on a healthy eating path.
  • Planning cheat days around special events, like holiday get-togethers or parties, can make it better for you. You don’t have to turn down foods you love and can eat like others without feeling guilty.
  • If you have a friend who never has a weight problem, they probably eat like people who use cheat days. They eat a healthy menu most days, except when they’re out with friends. Then they eat whatever they want.
  • You can have a cheat day once a week or schedule more time between cheat days. Don’t forget to be kind to your stomach on cheat day. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Give time for your stomach to signal to the brain that it’s full.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

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