By Brandon Hahn Athletic Xtreme
It’s almost the weekend, right? Only a few more days until the coveted cheat meal. Your mouth is watering thinking about it. The day is here and you dive in. Those feelings of joy turn to guilt. However, guilt should be the furthest thing from your mind. Let’s uncover why the cheat meal is a guilt free meal!
Understanding the cheat meal
Diets are very time consuming. So much planning goes into each meal. Then, you have to prepare those meals. The diet is strict and helps keeps you moving towards your goal. Cheat meals allow your body more than just greasy nourishment. They serve a purpose!
A diet should be setup to allow for a cheat meal or a cheat day. Each week should be setup to lose X amount of weight. This breakdown allows you to determine your daily calories. Calories can be shaved off during the week. These calories can be used towards a cheat meal or cheat day. Most important, the cheat meal will keep you sane!
Cheat meal structure
A cheat meal should have some structure. It should not be an all out fat fest of food. Yes, it is fine to consume a decent amount of calories. Pizza, donuts, or whatever makes you feel a little more sane. It is not wise to eat until you want to puke. Look forward to the meal and cherish every bite.
Be aware of the amount of calories in your cheat meal. Puking is not the only reason you should put down the fork. Remember that this day still has to meet your caloric intake. Eating too much can lead to less food for the rest of the day. The cheat meal is pointless if you starve for the rest of the day.
Dieting and hormones
Dieting is not a short term process. Diets can last from weeks to a lifetime. This depends on the goal. Your body releases hormones during times of stress. Dieting is a stress on the body. You function on less calories than your body requires. In time, this can cause the body to stop releasing fat for fuel. Like most, the body just cannot take the beating any longer.
Cheat meals can help by offering the body more calories than normal. By eating 1800 to 2400 calories each day, then increasing by 25% on your cheat meal (i.e. 2250 to 2800). The body sees this as additional fuel. This additional fuel will help reduce the stress hormone release.
A major hormone in the body is leptin. Leptin is more of a starvation hormone. It tells the body whether or not enough calories are being consumed. Constant or prolonged dieting tends to lower leptin levels. Lower leptin triggers your body to slow metabolism. The body decides that it needs to function on less calories. Less calories burned by the body means less weight loss.
So, the body needs your cheat meal. Without it the body can head towards a world of hurt. This meal allows the body to stabilize. Your body gets refueled and ready for a new week. The cheat meal should be seen as important as breakfast. As mom always says, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Don’t disappoint your body and especially your mom. Enjoy your cheat meal guilt free!