Three Reasons Why You Should Have a Weekly Cheat Meal
1. Cheat Days for Leptin Release
Fat cells release a hormone called leptin that tells the hypothalamus in the brain to suppress hunger and speed up metabolism. When you lose fat, you have less tissue to produce leptin, which stimulates appetite. During periods of prolonged dieting, leptin levels also decrease, which slows metabolism and makes it harder to lose weight. By including a weekly cheat day high in carbohydrates, you stimulate a release of insulin, which also increases leptin release. This surge of carbohydrates keeps your metabolism higher than it would be if you dieted continuously.
2. Cheat Days as a Mental Break
Dieting for long periods of time is mentally draining. By breaking up your diet with a weekly cheat day, you may be less likely to quit your diet. Having a cheat day also means you don’t need to cut out foods that you love. It also serves as a reward for sticking to your diet and gives you something to look forward to at the end of the week.
3. Cheat Days for Your Social Life
Having a cheat day built into your weekly diet allows you to have more freedom in your social life. For example, if you are going to your friend’s wedding on a Saturday night, you can enjoy food that’s high in sugar without having to feel guilty. Your cheat day also doesn’t have to be on the same day each week. If you have a party coming up on a Friday night but the week before you cheated on Saturday, you can switch your cheat day to fit your social calendar. However, be careful if you decide to move your cheat day to the beginning of the week, or else you may have to go almost two weeks before your next one.
Nutrition timing is an integral part of any diet. By having a cheat day once a week, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and use the extra carbs to keep your metabolism high. If you don’t think you can control yourself for an entire day without binge eating, you can also limit yourself to a cheat meal instead.