I’m never going to cheat again! Have you been in this situation? After engaging in a major eating episode, you find yourself with a large increase in body size which leads to feelings of criticism and disapproval both towards yourself and everyone else. Learn how to cheat on your diet without gaining weight.
Are Cheat Meals Okay?
No matter what season it is, you should strive to eat nutrient-rich foods and maintain a lean body. The most important thing is to remain consistent with your efforts, and if you remain focused and on-task 95% of the time, you will be alright.
Your Mindset Going In
Initially, you must have a positive attitude when commencing this. I maintain that it’s fine to exert a little control over your indulgences and keep them on the lighter side.
There is a substantially large contrast between eating too much without realizing it, like having a craving that leads to you eating excessively, compared to purposefully eating a lot in a careful manner. It is essential to maintain awareness and have the capacity to objectively analyze your own activities while they are occurring.
I need to make a determined choice to have a tiny snack outside my regular diet as a deliberate choice and I can keep reigns on my self-discipline. Once you start to get overwhelmed, it’s crucial for you to pause, collect yourself, become aware of your current surroundings, and then decide on the best course of action.
I highly suggest that you have a single indulgence meal instead of a whole cheating day, as it is a more efficient way to satisfy yourself instead of going all overboard and gorge on Cheetos all day. When you have it more than once, you will eventually become nauseated and exhausted from eating that food.
Consuming cheat meals is much better for overall body health, physical shape, and psychological relief instead of having cheat days.
How Can Cheat Meals Help Boost Your Fat Loss Results?
They Provide Psychological Benefits
To begin with, and perhaps most significantly, the psychological benefits they provide are significant. A 2016 paper revealed that practicing “planned cheating” once a week when dieting was more effective than simply eating a restricted diet every day.
The study revealed that people who have a “cheat meal” during their dieting experience are more likely to stay on the diet for a longer time period and have a better time doing it. They had something to anticipate and look forward to because they had scheduled breaks from their diet plan. The other group was likely to experience strong desires and addictions that most of them would struggle with by engaging in excessive eating. And go wholly astray with their nutritional plan as a result.
Cheat Meals Also Help Counteract The Physiological Effects Of Long-Term Dieting
Additionally, there are potential physiological advantages that could aid in accelerating weight loss. As you become leaner, the significance of these advantages increases. And the longer you’ve been dieting for. Because as your dieting for longer and losing more body fat, your body tries to fight back by doing a few things:
- It decreases your leptin hormone levels. Which, as a result, increases your appetite.
- It decreases your energy expenditure by causing you to move less and just burning less calories to function day-to-day. And this then leads to fat loss plateaus.
- Your muscle glycogen levels gradually decrease as they’re being used for energy. This leads to tougher workouts and decrements in your performance.
This impedes your weight reduction and makes dieting less enjoyable.
Cheat meals can be useful in this instance.
Because when done properly, the temporary increase in calories and carbs that they provide have been shown to:
- Partially counteract these various adaptations. That means better appetite suppression, higher energy expenditure, and increased performance in the following days.
- Add muscle fullness, that you’ll experience. Hence why guys like The Rock regularly incorporate them especially before big shoots.
What methods can you use to include these elements in your scheme to raise your results rather than reduce them?
There are a few regulations you will want to remember if you plan on having a “cheat meal”.
What to Do
#1 Deplete Your Glycogen Stores
Glycogen is the glucose stored in your body, and it is only held in a specific quantity.
- The liver can store only 100-150 grams of glycogen.
- Your muscle cells can store about 300-500 grams, depending on how much muscle mass you have.
Once the glycogen in your body has been used up, it will become much more responsive to carbs. When your muscle cells do not contain any nutrients, insulin can transfer glucose into those cells with greater ease. If your body has no room to store more glycogen, then the carbohydrates you consume are likely to be stored as body fat.
Hence, prior to consuming a cheat meal, it is beneficial to lower your glycogen levels and increase your sensitivity to insulin.
It is important to keep an eye on your intake of fluids and salts.
Have you ever heard people say that after gorging on unhealthy food, they ended up putting on a lot of weight and vowed to never indulge in such fare again? Essentially, their body was retaining additional amounts of water, causing them to appear bloated like a balloon.
Insulin plays a huge role in sodium metabolism. Your kidneys control the amount of sodium released from your body. When you decrease the quantity of insulin through intermittent fasting or eating a lower carb diet, you’ll get rid of a great deal of water weight and salt. Once you start taking insulin again, it will have an antidiuretic effect, allowing your body to retain fluids more efficiently.
You want to avoid excessive swelling, so do not consume too much water and salt when you indulge in a cheat meal. This will enable the glucose to be converted into glycogen instead of resulting in extra swelling.
Do not tell yourself untruths the following day. Oh, it’s just water weight. You ate too much and are now overweight, but you can limit the damage by staying away from processed items with a lot of added salt in them, such as pastries, chips, tomato sauces, burgers, and fries.
#3 Cold Thermogenesis and Heat
You can increase your daily calorie expenditure and promote fat burning by participating in activities involving cold thermogenesis.
When you find yourself feeling chilly or when you begin to perspire, your body needs to expend energy to keep your internal temperature remaining the same.
You can also choose to utilize both cold and hot temperatures. High temperatures will also cause mitochondrial concentrations to rise, and perspiration will help to get rid of some fat. Simply being in a sauna with a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius can be considered a cardiovascular exercise because your heart rate will be elevated.
I suggest you spend 10-15 minutes in a sauna, and then take a five-minute ice bath, go outside in the cold air, or have a cold shower. This will activate the lymphatic system and enhance your general well-being.
#4 Plan Your Cheat Meals Into Your Weekly Calories
You need to be sure to include this indulgence in your weekly diet regimen. I believe it is advisable to set aside one specific day of the week as a “re-feed day”. This is just a day when you give yourself a breather from your nutritional plan. You should now consume the same amount of calories you usually do, or even a little more than usual, instead of consuming fewer calories like you did during the previous week.
By doing this, you will be able to form a calorie deficit and use up fat as an energy source throughout the week. On your re-eat day, you can use around 500 further calories for your special treat. This assists you to get your upcoming week off to a good start without increasing your fat intake. If you wanted to treat yourself and consume an excessive amount of calories, you could create even more space for it. How? On the days prior to something, reducing the amount of food consumed may be beneficial. This will enable you to conserve the majority of your daily caloric intake for your indulgent meal.
This is precisely The Rock’s method for including his ‘cheating’ meals. He appears to observe a strict low-carbohydrate dietary regime during the week as he prepares for films. His meals are all pre-made and calculated for him. Consequently, he finds it possible to incorporate a large indulgence on rare occasions to his gain. As opposed to set him back.
#5 Be Mindful Of How Quickly Calories Can Add Up
However, the essential factor is to include them in your allotted amount of calories per week while still advancing your goals each week. Be careful to note how swiftly the calories can pile up during your indulgent meals. For example, if you were to head on over to Five Guys for your cheat meal and get yourself:
- A bacon cheeseburger (920 calories),
- A regular side of fries (950 calories),
- And a vanilla milkshake (670 calories) to wash it all down,
That would amount to a whopping 2,500 calorie meal. This meal would almost make up for the shortage caused by you. And the fat you lost during that week!
Research as seen in a 2008 paper provides evidence that people who attempt to reduce their caloric intake and become active, yet lose self-control during the weekends and overindulge, might not lose any weight or even increase their weight a small amount (0.077kg weekly). This is a result of the extra calories taken in over the weekend that negates the effects of dieting.
I’m not trying to be a pessimist when it comes to your occasional indulgent meals. Be aware of the potential negative consequences if you do not create effective boundaries.
#6 Your Cheat Meals Should Be High Carb, Low Fat
Let’s move on to discussing what’s included in your treat meal. It is of the utmost importance to counteract the adverse physical changes caused by dieting in the most effective way. In this instance, carbohydrates can be incredibly helpful. Research in the fields of science suggests that when you allow yourself a cheat meal in one week, carbohydrates should be the main focus of that meal. Rather than boosting your consumption of fat or protein.
Carbs Boost Your Leptin Levels And Create Muscle Fullness
This is because when compared to fat and protein, carbs:
- Have the greatest impact on boosting your leptin levels. As discussed earlier, this can help with suppressing your appetite and increasing your energy expenditure when dieting.
- Best help refill your muscle glycogen to create more muscle fullness. And can potentially augment your performance and the anabolic response you experience in your following workouts.
The Rock often indulges in carb-rich foods like sushi when he has his special meals.
You do not need to consume an enormous amount of sushi. Other delicious food possibilities are pasta, cereals that you love, treat food like sweets and frozen desserts, as well as waffles or pancakes served with syrup.
Since they’re all high in carbohydrates and comparatively low in fat. Alternatively, if the food you wish to eat is quite high in fat, you should attempt to reduce the fat content as much as you can. For example, by minimizing extra sauces and oils.
What to Eat First
When it’s mealtime, it is not advisable to immediately begin overeating one’s cheat meal. Consuming excessive amounts of carbohydrates immediately can also be detrimental.
I highly advise that you consume apple cider vinegar prior to every one of your meals because it is beneficial for regulating your blood sugar levels and stimulating insulin sensitivity. Including citrus fruits such as lemons will activate digestive enzymes in the intestines.
You should start off your meal with foods that are easy for your body to digest and absorb, and that will help you lose fat.
What NOT TO EAT
It is absolutely essential to keep in mind that when eating cheat meals one should not mix fats and carbohydrates. When glucose and fat join together, they will remain in the circulatory system for a longer time, leading to a consecutively high insulin level and increased oxidative damage on the body.
Consuming high amounts of fat combined with a high insulin level will make it more convenient for your body to save the fat as fat. Insulin is a hormone that signals the body to keep energy in reserve. Fat is a substance that is stored in the body when there is an abundance of energy, so that it can be used when needed. If the body believes that there is enough energy present, this fat will be stored as such.
Processed foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium should be avoided, as they can cause bloating. If consuming them is desired, make sure to not have them as the initial meal.
Another thing to limit is alcohol. You can have a small amount of alcohol, but keep in mind that it will inhibit fat burning. Any food consumed alongside alcohol will most likely be stored as fat. Hard liquors contain fewer calories than beer, but drinking beer is just as fattening as eating doughnuts. Just putting it out there.
Get Back On Track
It is essential to refocus on the right path and to not dwell on your errors. Instead of using shortcuts, adhere to the recommended techniques and concentrate on your goals. Indulgences or treats that can contribute to your success are permissible on rare occasions; however, they should not be a regular occurrence.