Yes, you did read that right! There are many benefits to a cheat day, and pizza is good for you, in moderation, of course!
After a long, tough week of smashing all your goals, what could be better than indulging in a succulent pizza with all your favourite toppings put down with a side of fries?
If you aren’t into pizza there’s plenty of other things you’ll be into! Pasta? Burgers? Whatever takes your fancy you should eat because occasional cheat days are highly beneficial for you!
We aren’t’ saying that you should spend a whole 24 hours engorging yourself with every food known to man. Of course, be reasonable and remember your goals. Ideally you should enjoy 1 epic cheap meal on your allocated cheat day to reap the full rewards of this highly rewarding practice.
Want to know more? Here are the benefits of a cheat day…
Looking forward to that cheat day all week makes you appreciate the naughty foods more for what they are – a treat.
You are effectively training your brain to understand that these foods are a ‘treat’ and not a way of life – which makes them all the more enjoyable.
A cheat day or cheat meal is extremely beneficial in terms of psychological fulfilment. If you have been dieting and exercising rigidly all week then looking forward to a cheat meal will help with your motivation no end. Even though it might not be the healthiest of food choices, you will get a buzz from it regardless. Treat your brain to that pizza and replenish your glycogen stores. You will feel, full, revived and of course – seriously happy!
Make your thyroid happy again
The thyroid hormones in your body play a key role in regulating your metabolic rate and growth. If you are operating on a calorie deficit or you’re exercising so much you’re burning more than what you’re putting in, this can cause a decrease in T3 levels in your body. This results in lower thyroid hormone production and a decrease in metabolic rate. Not ideal! By cheating and allowing an influx of surplus calories this will stimulate the thyroid hormones again speeding up your metabolism.
Burn more fat!
If you are dieting for fat loss, you are probably operating on a calorie deficit so your carbohydrates tend to be pretty low. The negative here is that your body is extremely adaptable so over time, it realizes that it’s taking in fewer calories than what it’s burning. As a result of this it will try to balance calories-in versus calories-out by becoming more efficient and your metabolism slows down. Indulging in a cheat day will effectively trick your body into thinking it’s getting enough calories (if not too many) and this will then reignite the fat burning metabolism.
A matter of leptin
Leptin is an important weight loss hormone. It’s main function in your body is to play a significant role in regulating both hunger, food intake and energy expenditure. If your Leptin levels fall, the greater your cravings will become for all those naughty foods. These cravings caused by leptin also signify a slowing down of the metabolism as your body tries to conserve as much fat and fuel as possible. Having a cheat day will raise and balance out your leptin levels again firing up your metabolism and kick-starting the weight loss process again. What’s more, leptin is highly responsive to glucose metabolism so when enjoying a cheat day, you will benefit greatly is you focus on enjoying those carbohydrates.
Better immune function
Vigorous exercise and calorie controlled dieting can quite frankly wear your body and immune system out. You may start to feel a bit lethargic and worn out with your motivation feeling pretty low as a result. You are also at risk from getting ill and contracting viruses because your immune system isn’t performing at optimum levels. Enjoying a cheat day will give your immune system and brain the extra calories it needs to reboot and become strong again. Your body needs a pampering so give it what it needs!
Cheat days are all about giving your body the boost it needs to reignite the fire within (mentally and physically of course) and carry on your road to happy, healthy success.
Remember they are there to serve you well not to completely spoil your week’s efforts. Be smart with your cheat day and always keep your eye on the end result.