Can cheating on your diet help you lose weight?
There have been many controversies around a cheat meal or a cheat day. A cheat meal is generally a meal that you would not eat when on a diet, a meal that would make you feel guilty. I personally together would many other professionals out there know that cheat meals or a cheat day does have benefits and can boost fat loss. Cheat days also helps make dieting more bearable; imagine staying away from your favorite foods like pizza for 12 weeks? That’s one of the reasons why people cannot stay on diets for long periods.
Having a cheat day will help prevent your body from going into an adaptive state like starvation mode. Going on low calorie diets for long periods without a cheat day lowers the leptin levels in your body thus in turn slowing your metabolism. For those of you that don’t know what leptin is, let me explain; leptin is a hormone that communicates the nutritional status to your body, your body then uses this information to make the necessary changes like fat burning and metabolism. Low levels of leptin = low fat burning and metabolism and high levels of leptin = high fat burning and metabolism.
Low calorie diets will eventually lower your leptin levels which will lead to you hitting a plateau but the good news is that it takes just 1 day of cheating to bring your leptin levels back to normal thus boosting fat burning and keeping your metabolism running at its peak. So don’t feel guilty and give up on your diet because you had a cheat day.
When on a calorie restricted diet choose a day and cheat without feeling guilty but my advice is to try and keep your cheat meals to a maximum of 2 meals for that day. There are some people that have leptin resistance and this is developed in the same way that diabetics develop insulin resistance. If you consider yourself to be overly obese then there is a chance that you have leptin resistance and if that’s the case then I would suggest staying away from cheat days for about 3 to 4 weeks until your leptin resistance has been reduced.
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