What about cheat days and cheat meals? This is something I get asked
Summertime events and activities are often when you’re tempted the most and may
stray away from your good nutrition plan.
This is where a strategic Cheat Day or Cheat Meals can help you reach
Cheat meals are being incorporated into more weight loss programs
because of some of the success that’s being achieved with it in the program.
The idea at first was to give you a mental break from your strict diet. Some
programs are very strict and, mentally, individuals would become tired and
start to stray from the program. Ultimately they “fell off the wagon” so to
speak because, mentally, it is too challenging for them to continue.
So incorporating strategic cheat meals is a way to give you a break or a
reprieve, mentally. It allows you to eat some of those foods you have been
probably avoiding while on your nutrition program.
Research has now shown that something physically takes place when you
incorporate strategically planned cheat meals.
When you diet or restrict calories and nutrients, your body will start to
deplete a hormone called leptin. Leptin is a powerful hormone that can influence
your weight loss, or even cause you to gain weight if it is manipulated in the
When you diet and start depleting your leptin levels, your brain gets sent a signal
from leptin that you are starving yourself because leptin is dropping. This is what
we sometimes call the “starvation mode,” and when this happens it triggers a series
of other actions. Your brain now sends signals to other hormones to slow down your
metabolism, losing lean muscle, and causing your body to start holding onto more
calories you eat as stored body fat. (This ain’t what we want happening!)
Cheat meals are important in this situation because by allowing you to eat more
calories, more fat, etc and it allows the hormone leptin to increase and calm down.
By raising your leptin level back to normal, it starts to think “I’m not starving,” and tells
the brain to stop conserving and trying to protect the body.
This allows you to continue to burn calories and prevent extra storage of calories.
Generally it takes a few days for the body to recognize the calorie restriction and the
leptin level to start to fall, which is why a cheat meal is good to insert every few days
of a restricted-calorie weight-loss program.
One thing to be careful of with this method is to make sure 1 cheat meal doesn’t turn
into 2 or 3 etc, too often! If this happens it can sometimes be hard getting back on track
so be careful not to fall into this trap.
Try implementing strategic cheat meals into your weekly nutrition plan and if you’re
wanting more help and information on healthy eating strategies stay tuned as I have a
big announcement coming soon that you’ll want to know all about!
Your fitness coach,
P.S. It’s travel and busy season so check out this clip where I was recently on FOX 23
News sharing my “Ultimate 5-Minute Workout” you can do practically anywhere/anytime
and burn some serious calories! Check it out at the link below and give it a try next
time you’re short on time and need to get in a quick workout-