Does “Cheat Day” hinder or help results?
Find out what “cheat day” means in a diet plan and how it can impact your diet!
When starting or trying to maintain a healthier diet plan, many people struggle to adapt to the foods and strictly follow the necessary nutrients, and that’s where they come across the “cheat day,” which promises to make everything easier.
This is a highly controversial practice, and while some believe it can be a good way to relieve pressure and dietary restrictions, others see this habit as an obstacle to achieving their goals.
But what is the truth about cheat day? In this article, we will explore the effects of this practice on the diet and discover if it can hinder or help you in achieving your results.
Breaking the diet vs. cheat day: what’s the difference?
Some people confuse cheat day with the habit of “breaking the diet.” However, while one is part of a dietary plan and is pre-established, the other ends up being a harmful habit that can trigger various negative effects.
Check out the characteristics of cheat day vs. breaking the diet:
Cheat day is a popular strategy adopted by many people who follow a restrictive diet. Basically, this practice seeks to balance dietary restrictions with moments of indulgence, usually on specific days of the month.
In practice, cheat day usually happens once a week on Friday. On this day, you are allowed to consume foods considered “off-limits” within the diet, such as sweets, snacks, fast food, and beverages.
As the name suggests, cheat day is a full day of dietary indulgence, meaning no common diet rules are followed on this day. It can be included weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly for the most committed.
Breaking the Diet
On the other hand, breaking the diet is not as planned as cheat day and usually occurs sporadically.
In this case, the behavior allows for fitting in one or two unplanned meals a day.
To contextualize, let’s say that during the day, 5 out of your 6 meals were planned, but on one of them, you ate a very greasy cheeseburger. That’s breaking the diet!
It is worth noting that the behavior of breaking the diet can be harmful to the body since it commonly becomes a habit that leads to excessive consumption of unhealthy foods, harming long-term results and health.
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What are the physical and psychological effects of cheat day?
Diet plans and dietary reeducation, as we have already mentioned, can be very difficult to follow, so a controlled break usually proves to be an excellent way to rest the mind and body.
Additionally, several studies claim that alternating days of calorie restriction with more relaxed days can be beneficial for athletes to achieve their goals in a healthy and less stressful way.
The aforementioned studies indicate that cheat days can restore energy levels, stimulate the release of hormones that aid in fat loss and satiety, as well as increase metabolic rate.
This happens because cheat days increase the production of leptin, a hormone secreted by the body’s fat cells.
Addressing more technical aspects, cheat day supporters argue that when your body gets used to consuming only healthy foods with a balanced nutrient content, your metabolism becomes sluggish. This can be corrected by consuming some unhealthy foods.
However, it is important to avoid excessive indulgence when breaking the diet, as it can harm fitness goals. Moderation is essential to avoid losing health and fitness!
The psychological effects of cheat day are similar to breaking the diet, but they are very subjective and can vary from person to person. The question is, how does your mind work?
While some people feel that having a free day from the diet helps them stay focused on the other days, others end up eating too much, feeling guilty, and developing eating disorders.
In the end, it all depends on testing what works best for you!
So, is breaking the diet allowed?
Cheat day can be a valid strategy for those following a restrictive diet plan, as long as it is used consciously and planned. It can bring both physical and psychological benefits, helping to avoid the monotony and psychological pressure of the diet.
However, it is important to remember that cheat day is not an excuse to eat everything you want and harm your health. Moderation and balance are essential to achieving lasting results.
Finally, it is essential to highlight that each person is unique and has their own needs and goals. The ideal is always to seek the guidance of a nutrition professional to personalize the dietary plan according to your characteristics.
Oh, and don’t forget! At any point in your journey, count on the support of Sooro Renner – Nutrition that generates results.