With the rise in the obesity levels, there are a good number of people trying to adopt healthier ways of life. Dieting and restricting calories either to lose or maintain weight is fairly common among the young adult population.
However, suddenly consuming more than needed calories due to temptations during dieting is also prevalent. Most of us can very much relate to the infamous line ‘I can resist anything but temptation’ said by people who find dieting hard.
Cutting out all of the unhealthy food such as refined grains and sugar can be a big challenge especially when it is the food you enjoy the most. This is one of the major reasons why the concept of cheat days has gained popularity.
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What is a cheat day?
You have probably heard it from a friend or a family member even if you have never done it yourself. A cheat day is a day off from your restricted diet in which you are able to enjoy the food without keeping a check on the calories.
A cheat day can be any day of the week and may arrive as scheduled by the person. Most of the people have their cheat days once a week or fortnight. Many choose to have it on the weekend with the planned parties.
The theory behind the concept of the cheat day is that it can help a person stick to the newly adopted diet and from giving into the cravings that can come midweek and are hard to ignore.
Thus, if a person knows that he/she has a cheat day coming up where there is no restriction on the food, he/she will be more careful and successful in avoiding the temptations and can also later fulfill those cravings.
This whole theory may sound ridiculous to some people but a lot of professional athletes and bodybuilders tend to follow this technique in their training routines. The cheat day of Dwayne Johnson is well-known.
One of the advantages of having a cheat day is that it can trick the body and maintain a faster metabolism. When you are on a low-carb diet, the body makes adjustments as you lose the excess pounds, lowering the metabolism.
Your metabolism is likely to be significantly slower when you have reached your weight loss goal. Adding a cheat day in between and having a higher number of calories is enough to trick the body to adjust to a faster metabolism.
Should you add a cheat day to your diet?
A number of proven benefits of cheat day have also encouraged a majority of people to add a day off in their diets, the biggest one being avoiding temptations. If you have problems sticking to your diet, a cheat day might help you.
Another advantage of a cheat day is that it has been seen to improve metabolism effectively. Slow metabolism in the diet is a common condition that occurs due to leptin levels in the body.
Reduced levels of the leptin hormone can not only affect your metabolism but can also stop your weight loss journey even if you continue to eat a restricted number of calories. Many people also experience a weight halt due to this.
A study showed that a cheat day, specifically the one which includes a high-fat meal can increase the leptin levels in the body instantly, leading to a faster metabolism.
Do cheat days have an effect on your mental health?
Psychological studies on the cheat day have shown that it helps people make smart choices. For most of the people, it is harder to stick to a diet because of thinking about not being able to have delicious food for a long time.
Knowing that a day off is coming where your cravings will be satisfied can help you avoid the pizza everyone is having at the office or the cake slice everyone is having with their coffee in school.
Many of the people also tend to make this a habit and follow the concept of cheat day normally which means that they eat healthy throughout the week and have some junk food/high-calorie food on their planned cheat day.