Cheat Meals 101: Why They Boost Progress And How To Use Them It’s the one thing that almost every dieter dreams of: cheat meals . The time when you get to finally indulge in all those foods that you are craving. Ice cream, cake, cookies, pizza, pasta – nothing feels off limits as it is your cheat meal, after all. Whether you are currently doing cheat meals in your program or you choose to forgo them because you feel like they’ll set you back, there is much to learn about how to use cheat meals effectively. When it comes right down to it, having a properly planned cheat meal in your program can actually increase your chances of success. That said, if you do it improperly, it will take away from your results and could lead you moving backward in progress. Let’s go over why cheat meals can help and how to do them properly so that there are no questions surrounding this topic any longer. Why A Cheat Meal Can Help You Besides the obvious – satisfying those food cravings, a cheat meal serves other purposes as well. • Metabolic Enhancement First, it can boost your metabolic rate. The minute you put yourself on a lower calorie diet plan is the minute your body starts to realize that it isn’t getting the fuel it needs. Your body clearly does not prefer this, but it will accommodate and start burning body fat as a fuel source – just what you want. After so long though, it starts to fear starvation. Your body doesn’t know whether you are just dieting to fit into your skinny jeans or if there is actually a shortage of food. As such, it knows it needs to protect itself. As such, it begins slowing down your metabolic rate so you burn fewer calories each and every day. The fewer calories you burn, the less total body fat you lose and right now, your body sees body fat as it’s only source of long-term fuel in case of starvation. By having the cheat meal and increasing your calorie intake, you trick your body into thinking the food shortage is over. As a result, it feels comfortable to speed up its metabolic rate, meaning you begin burning fat faster again. By having a cheat meal every week or two, you can seriously offset any metabolic slow-down that’s taking place. • Muscle Glycogen Replenishment Next, a cheat meal will also go a long way towards replenishing muscle glycogen . This is the storage form of carbohydrates in the muscle cells that is used for each intense workout that you do. If you aren’t eating sufficient carbs on a day to day basis, eventually this glycogen will get depleted. When it does, heavy fatigue sets in while you are exercising. By having that cheat meal, you help replenish the muscle glycogen, which in turn will boost exercise performance. You’ll find you enjoy your workouts more as well as you’ll now have energy to do them. • Psychological Sanity Finally, let’s not forget the psychological element of things. When you diet, a number of changes take place in the brain as well. First, you feel restricted. Second, with lack of carbs, your brain may not function as optimally as it should be either – which can be seen when you feel ‘foggy brained’ on less than 100 grams of carbs per day. Third, you won’t be releasing as much serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is released in response to carbs that makes you feel calm, happy, and all-around good. By having a cheat meal, you turn all these around. It’ll make you feel more mentally sane so that when you do go back to dieting, you feel more compelled to stick with it. So as you can see, there are many benefits to having a cheat meal. So how do you structure it properly? Perfecting Your Cheat Meal To ensure the cheat meals you have actually help progress, there are few factors to address. • Timeline Of Cheats First consider the timeline of cheat meals . The leaner you are, the more often you will want to have these cheat meals because your body will be fighting further fat loss harder. If you have less than 20 pounds to lose, aim for a cheat meal once per week. If you have more than 20 pounds, once every two weeks should be fine. If you have more than 40 pounds, a cheat meal once per week is sufficient. Note that you can cheat more often than this, but at that point it could start hindering progress. • Foods You Cheat With Next consider the foods you cheat with. For optimal benefits, try and choose higher carb, lower fat foods as much as possible. Of course if you really want French fries, have at it as that will be what gives you the psychological benefits of the cheat meal. Just note that you will get better muscle glycogen replenishment and metabolic boosting effects by going high carb. Think pasta, cereal, bagels, fat-free ice cream, and of the like. • Getting Back On Track Finally, it’s important after the cheat meal, you get back on track. Note this is not a cheat day. You must retain some control over yourself. If possible, have the cheat meal at the end of the day. About the Author: FHMatch , all-in-one `Business in a Box’! If you're a professional this is for you, it’s always FREE to showcase your profile on FHMatch! Empowering professionals to engage, manage and grow their client base - everything you need to get started in 3 min or less. |Merchant Payments|Unlimited - No Fee Booking, Invoicing & Messaging| Showcase Photos & Videos, Subsidized Insurance|