Cheat days and cheat meals are basically planned into the schedule of anyone who is dieting. They allow them to relax their willpower for a while and provide some leeway for them to enjoy their favorite culinary sins – the foods they are craving for.
They are meant to stop binging and act like safety pressure relief valves that ensure the bodybuilders don’t explode. Cheat meals enable people who are dieting to stick to nutritional plan for another week.
A person can go crazy sticking to a diet without cheating especially if dieting for 12 weeks or longer. Eating cheat meals can be psychologically helpful and a little junk food may go a long way in this case.
A cheat day is basically a day when you can eat anything you want without caring to follow a schedule. How you opt to do this depends on your personal preference. Some individuals go wild and eat anything and everything they can get hold of and often end up eating thousands of calories at a time.
Likewise, some people opt to take a more sober approach and avoid eating all of the junk foods they normally crave. Instead they eat comparatively healthy regular meals and may have some special for desert or something else.
Cheat meals is another way to incorporate a cheat by just having a cheat meal instead of a cheat day. When it comes to a cheat meal, a person can eat anything they have been craving for only at one meal and continue with their normal meal plan as scheduled. These types of cheats focus on eating “prohibited” foods as they will be eating as usual for the remainder of the day.
Physiological Benefits of Cheating
Cheat days and meals can offer several benefits. If you have been dieting uncompromisingly, you are more likely to have low muscle glycogen levels. This is often accompanied with a sluggish feeling during your training and less than optimum strength.
Dieting is accompanied with decreased muscle glycogen (in animal cells this glucose polysaccharide Glc works like the secondary provisional energy storage) and there is a slowing of the metabolism effect. The moment you shock your system with a high influx of calories in one stroke, the body’s metabolism will indicate an increase, which will once again jumpstart your “furnace” into top gear.
There are many conflicting opinions about cheat days and meals. While some experts command the strictest adherence to the programs, claiming that even a slight deviation from your diet will stop you from realizing your goals, others shun the concept of cheating totally. They allege that you don’t need to pay attention to overall food intake just so long as you stick to eating healthy foods.
Well, the two school of thought have got it wrong. You can and should enjoy regular cheat days and cheat meals so long as you go about it correctly. For instance, cheating too often, eating too many calories or plenty of dietary fat in cheat meals, drinking alcohol while cheating and indulging in cheat days and not meals are common mistakes that must be avoided.
Cheat days and cheat meals will only be beneficial if all it does is keep you motivated for adherence to your diet the rest of the time and not focus too much on food.