CHEAT DAYS: A Good Or Bad Move?
Tired of maintaining your diet? Eating boiled, non-oily tasteless meals and are willing to go for a cheat day?
A cheat day is a day in a week, where you ‘stop’ dieting and eat and drink anything and everything with reckless abandon.
Reasons For Doing It?
The logic people usually give behind this, when you diet, your metabolism slows down. And this slowdown helps in reducing fat burning. Therefore when you start eating more calories, even for a day, you ‘boost’ your metabolism, which consequently increases fat burning.
On the surface, this makes sense. But yes, there’s a slowdown in metabolic rate. So the longer you diet and get leaner.
And yes, eating more food does the metabolic activity.
But, when you look at the studies, metabolic rate, overfeeding, and crunching the numbers, it’s not something to get excited about.
If we give a glance at a short-term overfeeding, you will notice the average increase in metabolism is between 3-10%, but this effect only lasts for 24 hours.
So if you consumed 4000 calories on your cheat day, you’d boost your metabolism by ~120-400 calories.
However, there can be a difference in people’s responses. It depends on their metabolism, inheritance, physical activity, and many more.
Arguments For Cheat Day
People usually say that on cheat days, Leptin (i.e., a hormone produced in the fat cells and controls metabolic rate, libido, appetite, and a bunch of other things).
As you consume lesser calories and start to get leaner, leptin levels decrease, which increases hunger and slows down your metabolic rate. Contrarily, as we begin to consume more calories and gain body fat, leptin levels increase, which suppresses appetite and enhances metabolism.
A day when you eat more than usual will increase leptin, which controls hunger, and even fuel your metabolism at the same time. But the truth is that the rise in metabolic rate and the increase in leptin are short-lived.
If Saturday is a cheat day and also the day to spend with family and friends for you, then you start focusing on the food more than enjoying the moment with people. You will become more concerned about eating as much as you can because you know once it’s the next day, the dietary cuffs will be back on again. You won’t be permitted to eat those mouth-watering dishes for another week, which stops you from being present.
If you want to lose fat, you need to understand that your intake of high-caloric food should be less. Therefore here is the benefit of these cheat days or reefed days.
Now here is my recommended approach to your refeed calories in comparison to regular days but in a limited quantity and for one or two days of the week.
- Keep a proper and balanced protein intake.
- As for fats and carbohydrates! This is where it gets a bit tricky.
What We Think !!
Though cheat days help maintain your metabolic activity, they are somehow pointless as they damage your progress and relationships (as mentioned above.) If you want to eat more food during a diet, a better strategy is to be reefed once a week and not more than that.