Believe it or not, a cheat meal can be used as a great dieting tool that can actually keep you dieting longer!! For individuals dieting for long periods of time, it allows you to have a momentary break from their diet. When cheat meals are given at the right time, a proper one can…
- Prevent muscle catabolism
- Can boost metabolism
- Refill glycogen stores
- Resist you from hitting plateaus
When dieting for long periods of time, your body’s hormones naturally begin to down-regulate.
The most affected hormones in controlling one’s metabolism here are, leptin, thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and grehlin.
Responsibilities of these hormones: Overall energy expenditure fat storage, mood, metabolic rate and hunger.
By giving your body the occasional “cheat meal” you are giving your body a spike in calories and carbohydrates. This tricks the body into forgetting about its calorie deficit and keeps it from attaining the negative side effects of a sustained caloric deficit.
This high calorie and carbohydrate meal, you are spiking your metabolism and driving these hormones back to normal levels and increasing your metabolic rate. The high calorie/high-carb meal is highly unlikely to be stored as fat due to the body already being accustomed to a restricted calorie/carb diet.
When you leave the body in a constant caloric deficit, it will continue to down-regulate the thyroid. This leads to lower metabolic rate, decreased fat burning and increased hunger and cravings over a long period of time.
Signs of time for a cheat meal?
- You are feeling very depleted and experiencing very low energy during your workouts on a regular basis (no muscle pump, poor strength, poor focus)
- Body temperature in reduced, you tend to feel cold most of the time
- Your fat loss has plateued and lowering you calorie intake is not helping.