Whether you are a seasoned regular at the gym or still finding your fitness feet, a cheat day is always welcomed with open arms. No, we don’t mean strutting your stuff while your partner is away but saving a specific day to chow down delicious meals you’ve missed out on during your diet. Sometimes taking a day off from the demanding and strenuous health routine can do wonders for your mental perspective. You’ve probably earned it! You also don’t have to be too hard on yourself for wanting to do so. Because let’s be honest, most of us are not professional athlete’s or superstars so we can afford to be spotted hanging around the local McDonald’s without being scolded by paparazzi. That said, taking a cheat day doesn’t mean pigging out. If you want to stick to your health regimen and not fall back into unhealthy habits then practicing proper meal cheating is a great way to minimize the feelings of guilt and health setbacks.
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Without further ado, below are some tips to keep in mind before your next cheat meal:
1. Don’t Cheat On An Empty Stomach
Have you ever been to the grocery store hungry and not walked out with extra treats that weren’t on your shopping list? We didn’t think so. Cheating on an empty stomach is another concern. You will likely end up eating way more than planned and harming your health progress. Eating healthy does not mean starving yourself to death. Balanced diets primarily involve eating healthy meals regularly so that you suppress your appetite and do not receive excess calories. Be careful of spending hours doing cardio the night before your cheat day as you will be more tempted to eat as much as possible the following day.
2. Don’t Be Greedy
It goes without saying that eating in excess is bad for your health. When you decide to visit a restaurant on your cheat day be careful not to overeat. If you’ve followed the above-mentioned step then you probably won’t be tempted to do so, however, the fact that it is a cheat day is often reason enough to pig out when you’re eating out. Cheat meals are used in diets so that you can eat whatever meal you like, not so that you can eat a surplus of food. Remember that the more you eat on your cheat day, the harder you will have to work out the next week to burn off the excess calories. Be wise with your cheats and don’t let the hunger bug defeat you.
3. Go Clean And Lean
While cheat days mean you are able to eat whatever your heart desires, it doesn’t mean that you have to. There are plenty of lean and healthy meals that will satisfy your taste buds without harming your health. Sure, you can go for a carbohydrate-heavy meal but it doesn’t have to be doused in oil and covered in batter. In fact, many carbohydrate meals can be beneficial to consume. Sushi, potatoes, and omelets are just a few examples of meals that contain carbohydrates which will positively benefit your body during a cheat day. Carbohydrates play a role in the leptin levels in the body and, thus, help you burn fat and feel full. Carbohydrates are the number one source of energy for athletes so if you’ve been feeling lethargic lately then fuel up on some carbs during your cheat day.
4. Steer Clear Of Excessive Fats
Be wary of meals that contain high-fat contents when you’re cheating. For one reason, fat does not play a major role in increasing leptin levels which would, otherwise, support your metabolic rate. Another reason is that fat is stored more efficiently in the body than carbohydrates or protein. Excessive fatty meals like creamy pasta and greasy burgers will set you back leaps and bounds and, therefore, should be avoided during your cheat day.
5. Train Before The Main
While overexerting yourself on the cardio machines will leave you starving for your cheat day, working up a decent sweat before you chow down will prevent the risk of gains while you snack. This is because you deplete sugar levels burned in the body to produce energy when you workout. In turn, your body replenishes your glycogen levels before it stores excess food as fat. Be sure to follow your training with successive light meals rather than big, heavy ones as you want to minimize the health setbacks sustained during your cheat.
The temptation to feast during a cheat day is almost irresistible. That said, if you don’t want to lose all your hard-earned progress then you can start implementing some of these tips to your cheat day. Your body will thank you later. Happy cheating!