Boost Metabolism with a Cheat Day

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Boost Metabolism

Cheating on your diet is usually considered a bad thing. Scheduling a cheat day, however, can have a positive effect on your diet. The trick to to stay in control of when and how you cheat.

A Diet Cheat Day Boosts Metabolism and Prevents Plateaus

One reason why a diet cheat day is helpful is that it boosts your metabolism. You body will continually adjust to the amount of calories you consume. So if you cut back 250 calories per day, you will lose weight at first, but then as your body adjusts, it takes more to keep your metabolism fueled. Continuing to cut calories can only work for so long before you reach the lowest amount of calories you should consume for your height and weight and then your weight loss hits a plateau. A diet cheat day works to boost your metabolism and keep your body guessing. Just raising your calorie consumption one day per week can kick your metabolism up and prevent a plateau.

Avoid Feelings of Guilt and Deprivation by Scheduling a Diet Cheat Day

Another reason dieters often fall off the wagon and return to old habits is that they feel deprived when following a restrictive diet. Never being able to eat their favorite comfort foods again is unrealistic. People become obsessed with thoughts of the foods they wish they could eat that are now off limits. A scheduled cheat day removes the feelings of guilt and deprivation though. It allows dieters to follow a healthy meal plan most of the time and take one day a week to relax and eat the high fat, high calorie foods they miss. While most dieters can't stand the thought of never eating junk food again, they can follow a strict diet knowing they can have a treat in a few more days.

The psychological benefit of a diet cheat day is huge and it allows people to stick with their diet much longer than if they never cheated on their diet.

Restore Leptin Levels with a Diet Cheat Day

Keeping your hormones in check is essential for weight loss success. Leptin is the hormone that signals the brain when you are full. Low leptin levels make it difficult to lose weight because you are always hungry and never feel satisfied. Building a cheat day into your diet works to restore leptin levels and improve your weight loss results.

Potential Dangers of a Diet Cheat Day

Dieters tend to get caught up in all-or-nothing thinking. Making poor food choices can tempt people into returning to their old eating habits that led to weight gain in the past. Dieters can also be tempted to skip their workout on their cheat days. Poor habits, such as overdoing it on the calories and skipping exercise, can lead dieters down a slippery slope. Its important to schedule your cheat days and stick to them. Remember to stick with the healthy habits you adopt for a lifestyle that promotes weight loss.

References:
McQuillan, Susan. "It's OK to Cheat on Your Diet," Psychology Today. March 22, 2009.
Zelman, Kathleen. "How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight," WebMD. October 15, 2009.

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