The Importance of Cheat Meals in Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals
No one likes a cheater, right? Cheaters never get ahead.
While that’s true for most things in life, there is one arena where experts agree cheating now and again is a good thing: weight loss.
If you've ever been on a diet, you know how painful it can be when all you want is something that isn't “good” for you, but you continue to deprive yourself of it. For some days later, they find themselves binging on it or falling off the wagon altogether, unable to stick to a highly restrictive diet plan.
Another thing you’ll often hear is that abs and a toned physique are made in the kitchen. Which means what you put into your body is often much more important in facilitating fat loss than your exercise routine.
So, if you're looking to lose a little or a lot of weight, and cheat days are a good thing, how do you balance them with your workout routine and your diet plan to ensure you get the satisfaction you're craving from comfort foods while ensuring you don't fall off the wagon?
Read on for more about how you can use cheat days to your benefit to achieve the results you deserve.
Whether you're working toward a weight loss goal or trying to tone your body, diet plays a critical role, if not the most crucial, in helping you achieve your goals. And as you likely know or have experienced, a body transformation doesn't occur overnight, no matter how strict your diet is or how hard you work out. A transformational change in your weight, health, and physique can take months, if not years, depending on your goals.
Maintaining a diet and exercise routine is something you may need to sustain for extended periods depending on your goals. For many people, this may include restricting calories and staying away from foods they know aren't the most beneficial in supporting their desired results. It can be hard to stay away from these foods forever, and some people may feel deprived of something that brings them pleasure, especially when they are in social settings with friends and family.
The occasional cheat meal isn't something that will derail your progress if you approach it with moderation in mind. If you're struggling with the phrase “cheat meal,” try changing it to something positive, like a “treat meal.” This strategy can help you alleviate any negative feelings you have about taking a break from a strict dietary regimen from time to time.
Knowing that you have a treat meal coming up can be a motivating factor in helping you work harder and stick to your diet plan for the days leading up to and following your treat. Additionally, for many of us, our treat meal may be carb heavy. When your body has been in a state of low carb intake and calorie restriction, your hormone levels can be negatively impacted. With this in mind, having the occasional high carb treat day can be a good thing. Some research shows that these carb-loaded days can boost your leptin levels, which is the hormone that tells your brain when it’s full. These elevated leptin levels can boost your metabolism, throwing your body into a good state of shock that can help you push past plateaus that may be caused by low levels of beneficial hormones.
Cheat days won't turn the dial back on your progress, as long as they don't become an everyday thing. Once a week or every couple of weeks can be an excellent strategy to help give you something to look forward to while giving your body a boost from the weight-loss-inducing hormones it might be craving.
Scheduling your cheat days ahead of time is a good strategy so you can plan the rest of your diet and workout routine around it. This can also help keep you motivated to stay on track when you know a cheat day is coming up. Be sure to still be mindful during your cheat day and not overdo it. Ensuring that you eat on your normal schedule and your regular foods for your other meals during your cheat days can help ensure that you don't overindulge.
Another way to feel good about your treat day while still helping keep your body properly fueled and burning fat at optimal levels is to work in high-quality supplements. We recommend The Ultimate Weight Loss Stack to help you achieve your weight loss goals without sacrificing cheat days. This five-supplement regimen features five highly effective supplements your body will love, including:
SKALD to boost your energy and metabolism so you can burn fat all day long.
REBAAR Branched-Chain Muscle Reinforcement to burn fat and support muscle recovery.
VAAST Premium Nitric Oxide Load to boost recovery and lean muscle growth.
CLA 1000 to improve fat oxidation, which helps the body break down fat faster.
STAVE to reduce your appetite and block fat cell production.
Incorporating this powerful stack into your diet and workout routine can help you maximize your results, no matter if you're eating your regular healthy diet or indulging in your occasional treat day.
 Enriori, P. J., Evans, A. E., Sinnayah, P., & Cowley, M. A. (2006). Leptin resistance and obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 14 Suppl 5, 254S–258S. Link