Sticking to a healthy diet 100% of the time is close to impossible. The cravings and urges which you encounter are simply just too difficult to fight against. Don’t worry, as this is something everyone, even movie stars and health buffs experience. Even these professionals allow themselves to indulge once in a while. Also, even though it may seem that a cheat meal or snack would derail your diet, in fact, it could actually be important to you sticking with it. Here are the top advantages of having a cheat day on a diet once in a while
The two main hormones which control your metabolism are called leptin and ghrelin. Leptin regulates your appetite and controls when you feel satiated, it gives the signal to your brain that you’re full and to stop eating. Leptin production depends primarily on your calorie intake, and if you are in a calorie deficit or consume less calories than usual, the production of leptin also decreases respectively. Meanwhile, ghrelin is a peptide hormone that tells your brain whenever you’re hungry. When you’re trying to lose weight by following a low calorie diet, the amount of ghrelin in your body could actually increase, making you even hungrier than usual. These two hormones are the reason why a cheat day is needed once in a while in order for the body’s production of leptin and ghrelin to be stabilized and wouldn’t go up or down permanently.
One of the main reasons many people stick to a diet is knowing that there is a cheat day waiting for them at the end of the week. Remember, the more you deny yourself of something which you truly crave for, the more satisfying it would be when you actually get it. This mental incentive is one of the main motivational methods many health coaches use to get their clients to stick to their diets. Whenever an indulgent reward is seen as the light at the end of the dieting tunnel, more people find themselves motivated to continue to keep sticking to that diet plan. If you indulge yourself with a cheat day once a week, that means that roughly 85% of the time, you’re sticking to your diet and eating healthily, which is much better than not having a diet at all. Also, having that cheat day and knowing that a tasty meal would be awaiting would just make it taste yummier knowing that you’ve earned it.
The continuous pressure of having to stick to your diet all throughout the week could be quite stressful for some people. There could be many cravings trying to bombard your senses left and right, coming from numerous places such as your officemates, your children, and even people in your own house. Remember, you’re the only one on a diet, and they don’t need to stick to the rules of your diet plan. This fact itself makes having a cheat day much needed for many people. Constantly trying to resist your cravings can be really exhausting especially to your mind. By indulging in that cheat day of yours, you’re able to relax, stop thinking about your diet, and be able to enjoy your food. This would also prepare you for the next round of diet days which would come ahead after this cheat day. Always remember though, that having a cheat day doesn’t mean you’ll go all out eating just whatever you want and in any portion. Whenever possible, try to choose quality food with quality ingredients. Trying to eat slowly, savoring each bite, and not going overboard on your food portions would ensure that the cheat day would be seen as a relaxation day, and not a day you’d feel guilty about.