Will cheat days make you fat?

A lot of people are afraid they’ll lose all their progress if they take a day off and cheat on their diet once a week.

Although that certainly does sometimes happen, I am still a proponent of weekly cheat days.

Pay attention, because I’m going to tell you when you should have a cheat day and how to get away with cheating on your diet without getting fat.

 

Why your body might need cheat days

I don’t want to get too technical right now because I want to concentrate more on the mental reasons for cheat days, so I’ll keep this short.

The physical reason for incorporating cheat days into your diet is also one of the reasons why people sometimes stop losing fat while dieting.  They set their daily caloric intake so low that their bodies think they’re starving and their metabolisms slow down to conserve energy, aka stored energy = bodyfat.

By overeating once a week, your body will readjust, including raising the levels of hormones like leptin, and your metabolic rate will return to normal.

A way to avoid this problem would be to simply eat more.  By eating fewer calories than you burn in a day, but not so few that your body thinks you’re starving, you can consistently lose fat for an extended period of time without your metabolism slowing down at all.

An example of this would be my original Anaerobixx transformation, when I lost over 30 lbs in four months and didn’t have a single cheat day.

 

Mental Burnout — The real reason for cheat days

Currently, I am on a “cyclic ketogenic diet”.  That means, I am cycling days of almost zero carbs with one high-carb day.

Another reason for my weekly cheat days is that I find it relaxing to spend one day out of the week with my girlfriend, eating and drinking whatever I want.

Saturday mornings I usually sit on the front porch with her and we eat a couple of bagels, while drinking coffee with sugar and flavored creamer.  For lunch we may eat a couple slices of pizza and have pasta for dinner.  At night, we watch a movie on TV while eating popcorn and maybe some chocolate.

That’s a far cry from yesterday, when we ate at IHOP and I gave her the pancakes that came with my omelette, while she drank hot chocolate and I just drank coffee with half and half.  Not that I’m starving or crave carbohydrates on this diet, its just nice to ignore the rules once in a while.

As a matter of fact, I think one of the reasons why I never crave carbs during the week is that I know I can eat as many as I want on Saturday.

 

Why some people overeat on their cheat days and how to avoid it

A few weeks ago, I gained 11 pounds on my cheat day!

How did that happen?!?!

I mean, its normal to gain SOME water weight after a carbohydrate re-feed day when your body is accustomed to eating zero carbs, but 11 lbs is extreme and it took the better part of a week for me to get it off again!

Well, let’s just say that I set my daily calories a little too low for a couple of weeks and was starving, both physically and mentally (craving food) the whole two weeks . . . needless to say, I ate myself sick that weekend . . .

After that weekend, I raised my calories by adding fat and I wasn’t hungry at all the next week.  A week later, I increased my protein intake, which upped my daily calories even more.

These days I’m never hungry, nor do I crave carbohydrates, even though I’m still losing fat.

As a result, my “cheat days” are once again exactly what they’re supposed to be, opportunities to de-stress by forgetting the rules for a day, while re-feeding carbohydrates.

 

To cheat or not to cheat?

All I can say is that cheat days aren’t really necessary, if your diet isn’t extremely low-calorie and doesn’t require a carb re-feed.

However, unless you’re preparing for an event where you have to be as lean as possible on a certain date, it will make it a lot easier for you to handle the long-term mental grind of being on a diet, if you take a day off every once in a while to relax.


That’s it for today, until next time, go out there and be awesome!
Bob

 

PS:  Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@Anaerobixx) and subscribe to my YouTube channel (http://www.YouTube.com/Anaerobixx)

Also, if you haven't seen the Anaerobixx diet plan that I personally used to lose over thirty pounds in four months, you can download a FREE COPY by clicking here (http://www.Anaerobixx.com/Diet)

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