Nov 19 2013
Most personal fitness clients who come to see us do so because they want to change their body in some way. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that transforming your body is hard. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to make excuses for anyone, but if you have spent months (or even years) neglecting your body, not exercising, and making poor food choices, the number of changes you have to make in order to get the body you want can be overwhelming.
WHY WE CHEAT
Science aside, if you cant stick to a dietary plan, no matter how good it is, it will be worthless to you. Therefore logically, you have to build mechanisms into your lifestyle that will empower you to stick to your plan. This is where the cheat meal comes in! When you have a planned cheat meal, this can provide you with a huge motivation to stick to your plan the rest of the week.
But can you really cheat your diet and still lose weight? Is it possible to cheat yourself thin?
THE SCIENCE BEHND THE CHEAT
Let me introduce you to Leptin. Leptin is a very powerful hormone and is secreted in our fat cells. If leptin is absent, we tend to overeat but if leptin is present then eating is inhibited. It basically regulates feeding and controls our appetite. The more body fat someone has the more leptin is secreted to inhibit overeating and the storage of adipose (fat), tissue. Leptin is our hunger hormone and can be very powerful if harnessed properly.
When anyone is on a lower calorie, or lower carbohydrate diet, leptin levels will drop and the metabolism can start to slow down, becoming slightly suppressed. In the beginning, this is not a problem as the reduced carbohydrate intake will rapidly help you lose pounds of body fat in a very short time. But after a while, this reduced metabolic rate needs to be addressed and quickly or fat loss can quickly come to an abrupt halt.
The quickest way to increase levels of leptin is to eat a combination of high GI carbs with fat. This sudden influx of calories will SPIKE your leptin levels and literally turn your fat burning mechanisms within your body back on. Great news right? The pancreas responsible for insulin production, has been having an easy time of it as it has had very little work to be doing in the absence of carbohydrates. Suddenly, this massive intake of sugar and fat jump starts the pancreas and literally ramps up the metabolic rate as insulin is secreted to combat that sugar.
This increased metabolic rate puts you back into fat burning mode and allows you to continue with your reduced carbohydrate dietary plan.
THE RULES OF THE CHEAT
The simplest way to cheat is the single cheat meal strategy. Once a week, plan a meal you love and crave. Eat reasonably, and don’t go back for seconds. Here are a few principles you must stick to if you want to put this strategy into practice:
1) Cheat at the end of your day. If it is at the end of the day, you have less time to cheat afterwards. It has been my experience that when people cheat in the morning, or earlier in the day, it is harder even for the best dieter to keep to his or her normal meal schedule after a cheat.
2) Don’t skip any other meals. Not eating your other meals will just artificially raise your insulin levels prior to your cheat, and increase your risk of fat storage. It will also more than likely cause you to overeat on your cheat meal.
3) Make your cheat carbohydrate rich. In every fat loss diet, after a certain period of time, you have to reduce carbohydrate matter in order to force your body to rely on other fuel sources, namely fat. You need the carbohydrates to kickstart your metabolism again.
4) Don’t let your cheat last more than 30 minutes. Let it go on too long, and you risk undoing all of the good work you have done the rest of the week.
The prerequisite to the cheat working in the way it is intended is that you stick to your nutrition plan tooth and nail for the week leading up to your cheat. Then you have earned your cheat meal, you deserve it and you never feel guilty!
Now pass the pizza menu please, it’s time to enjoy 🙂