Data suggests that dietary management has a larger effect on weight loss than exercise or other factors alone. In fact, if you’re exercising heavily with the wrong diet, you’re probably about 1.5 kg heavier than others in your same cohort – sad but true. There’s no doubt that diet is the single biggest factor when it comes to weight loss or weight gain. But if adherence to diets is such a big deal, can we really afford diet cheat days ?
Good news – it’s possible to consume a delicious diet and still get to your target weight. But even better news – cheating on your diet can help you reach your weight goals faster .Witness Dwayne Johnson’s epic feast as part of his regime above. Says Dr. Bhardwaj “Cheat meals offer psychological and/or physiological benefits, depending on the diet regime applied”, while offering tips on diet cheat days.
Your Diet Cheat Day Primer
1) Take a Diet Vacation: On a very restrictive diet, a cheat day gives a person a little ‘mini vacation’ from the diet, making it easier to comply with the diet the other 6 days of the week. Otherwise people tend to quit diets very quickly.
2) How Cheating Helps: On severely carb restricted diets, a cheat day allows for carb loading of the liver which can help the body get used to a lower weight set point. A lot of people end up losing weight faster after an occasional cheat day.
3) How often to Cheat : On a low carb calorie restricted diet protocol (like our StayFit or New You Programs), we see the best results with a single cheat day per week (like sunday). Ultra Low carb plans (Like the Lean Machine Diet). It is better to cheat less often, once every 2 weeks if possible for faster results. Ketogenic diets… don’t cheat.
5) What to Eat on your Diet Cheat Days : Some restrictions still apply on cheat days. Yes absolutely, portion size control must remain. Cheat days are dangerous because you are not only probably having some fairly unhealthy food, you tend to binge eat such foods. Eat to satiety and not beyond.
6) Reena Mausi can Derail your Cheat Days: There is normally a lot of social pressure to eat, especially in social situations. Such days can come pretty randomly so you end up cheating more often than you had planned. Plan ahead to see if you can stick to your diet in such situations. Look at the menu of the place you are going etc. If your situation is forcing you to cheat.. then try and make up for it by sticking to your diet on the normal cheat day. And above all, don’t feel guilty. Guilt never helped anyone lose weight.
Dr. Bharwaj’s advice was also published in the Deccan Herald below.