Top 10 Quick Facts, Stats & Trends About Cheat Days on Diets

Top 10 Quick Facts, Stats & Trends About Cheat Days on Diet

1. Cheat Days and Meals: A Reward-Based Strategy

Cheat days and meals are a popular strategy in diet plans.

They involve giving yourself calculated, planned permission to temporarily break strict diet rules. 

The theory is that by allowing yourself brief periods of indulgence, you’ll be more likely to stick to your prescribed diet the majority of the time1.

2. Cheat Meal vs Cheat Day

A cheat meal is a single meal that veers from your planned diet pattern, while a cheat day allows for free food choices for an entire day1.

3. No Specific Guidelines for Cheat Days

There is no specific guideline for when or how frequently your cheat meal or day should occur.

Often people will include one cheat per week, but this can change depending on what the person’s health or weight loss goals are1.

4. Not Suitable for All Diets

The cheat meal approach is not appropriate for all diet styles.

Some diets, such as the ketogenic diet, require very strict adherence with no room for cheating1.

5. Effectiveness of Cheat Days

The reward-based cheat meal or cheat day strategy may be effective if you’re able to execute a well-planned diet and maintain overall reduced calorie intake1.

6. Cheat Days Can Backfire

Rewarding yourself with a “cheat day” after sticking to your weight loss plan all week can backfire on you.

That’s because cheat day calories can add up fast, bringing your weight loss progress to a screeching halt – or even reversing it2.

7. The 80/20 or 90/10 Rule

A healthy diet is a balanced one.

If you want to stay healthy, healthful foods should make up 80 percent of your total calories. If you want to better your health, they should make up 90 percent of your total calories2.

8. Spread Extra Calories Throughout the Week

It’s recommended to spread the extra calories throughout the week, rather than consuming them all on one cheat day2.

9. Impact on Gut Bacteria

A study found that having three cheat days a week had the same effect on gut bacteria as a steady diet of junk food3.

10. High Calorie Intake on Cheat Days

Cheat days often result in significantly higher than normal consumption of calories, usually from carbohydrates and fat4.

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Eat Whatever You Want And Boost Your Metabolism!

Cheat days have become the newest fad. This is because if used right, they actually work to bust you through any weight loss plateaus that you are stuck on. cheat day Lori and I have used this method for years with great success.

Your body is amazing at 1 thing…. adaptation. You an adapt to virtually any situation.

So what happens when you adapt? Well, to put it simply, you get stuck in a rut. Especially in weight loss. That is why it’s a great idea to “shake things up a bit” hence, the cheat day.

The idea at first was to give you a mental break from your strict diet. Some programs are very strict and mentally individuals would become tired and start to stray from the program. Ultimately they “fell off the wagon” so to speak because mentally it is too challenging for them to continue.

So many use the cheat day as a way to give you a break or a reprieve mentally. It allows you to eat some of those foods you have been avoiding while on your weight loss program.

What some have discovered with research is that something physically takes place when you incorporate a cheat day.

When you diet or restrict calories and nutrients your body will start to deplete a hormone called leptin.

Leptin is a powerful hormone that can influence your weight loss or even cause you to gain weight if it manipulated in the wrong way.

When you diet and start depleting your leptin levels you brain gets sent a signal from leptin that you are starving yourself because leptin is dropping. This is what some call the ‘starvation mode’ and when this happens it triggers a series of other actions. Your brain will now send signals to other hormones to slow down your metabolism, shed energy costly muscle and cause your body to start storing more calories you eat as stored fat.

A cheat day is important in this situation because by allowing you to eat more calories, more sugar, more fat, etc..

allows the hormone leptin to increase and calm down.

By raising your leptin level back to normal it starts to think “We are not starving” and tells the brain to stop conserving and trying to protect the body.

This allows you to continue to burn calories and prevent extra storage of calories. Generally it takes a few days for the body to recognize the calorie restriction and the leptin level to start to fall, which is why a cheat day is usually inserted somewhere between the 3rd and 5th day of a restricted calorie weight loss program.

One thing to be careful with this method though is that 1 cheat day doesn’t turn into 2 cheat days and then 3 cheat days, etc, etc. There are some individuals that have a hard time getting back on the program the next day so if you use this type of program be careful to not fall into this trap.

Most will look forward to this method and don’t mind getting back to the program the next day knowing that the next cheat day is coming in 3-5 days.

Remember, to keep your sanity and keep your metabolism boosted, add in a cheat day every 4 days or so. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Learn more and start a diet that will really reduce your weight to the level you really desire, check out the these diets when your ready to get serious with your diet.