If the thought of binging on a maccies at the end of a gruelling week of dieting is the only thing keeping you sane, then you’ll be all too familiar with the phrase ‘cheat day’. It’s the slab of gooey chocolate cake amongst the lettuce leaves and spinach. It’s that big bowl of cheesy pasta instead of the rice cakes you’ve been nibbling on in an effort to quash those carb cravings. For many, a cheat day is a great way to reward persistence and, well, how much harm can one day off really do?
We’ve dug a little deeper into the ‘cheat day’ to find out what it actually is, how it can affect your body and whether scheduling in a day of eating whatever you like is the right way to hit your goals.
It’s pretty simple really. You eat clean for six consecutive days, ensuring your macros are on point and you’re staying within your calorie count. Then, for the fun part - the seventh day is when you can eat whatever the hell you want. Super-size pizza all to yourself? You bet! A whole tub of ice-cream? Tick! That’s the magic of a cheat day – it’s essentially a day off. The weekend of your diet. 24 hours where you don’t have to pretend that carrot sticks are “honestly, so delicious!”. But, how can this sudden change to your diet affect your body and your training?
So, word on the street says that a cheat day can actually speed up your metabolism. Sadly, this is a big fat lie. Your metabolism does increase after you eat, true, but eating thousands of calories in one sitting doesn’t mean you’ll burn anymore than if you ate the meal on your diet plan.
Overeating can also lead to other unhealthy habits, which seems silly when you’ve spent the majority of the week working towards a healthier way of eating. Think about it – you eat a balanced, healthy diet all week and train nearly every day. You’ve more than likely burnt fat or built muscle – whatever your goal may be – but one day off track could hugely impact all of the hard work you’ve put in and could be detrimental to the progress you make.
The day after a cheat day can be tough too. Chances are you’ll feel sluggish and tired and nobody wants to feel that way when they’re trying to get back on track with their diet and training.
Now, we’re definitely not saying you can’t have a treat. You know us – if there’s one thing we’re all about it’s balance. And balance is the way you should approach your lifestyle.
Instead of sticking to restrictive diets then embarking on a binge-fest at the end of the week, have a little of what you fancy when you feel like it. Why indulge on a whole pizza on cheat day when you can have a little bit of the good stuff a few times a week – a slice or two never hurt no one, right? Or maybe you’re constantly trying to curb that sweet tooth. Don’t suffer and then destroy an extra-large Dairy Milk bar in one sitting. Have a square or two each evening as a post-dinner treat instead. Or find a healthier snacking alternative – take our Carb Killa® bars, the closest thing you’ll get to a chocolate bar without all the sugar!
One day of eating whatever you like isn’t going to suddenly make you put on a stone. It also won’t erase those biceps you’ve been building or those abs you’ve been sweating it out for. But, making a habit of it could stall your progression and make all of your hard work a little bit pointless.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – life's all about balance. So, having a little bit of what you’re craving each day is far better than restricting yourself or binging and feeling sluggish.
Are you a fan of the cheat day? Let us know over on socials. Or, if it’s more nutritional advice you’re after, you’ve come to the right place! Find out the difference between keto and low carb or why not read up on how you can master your meal prepping with just five easy steps.