How often should you have a cheat meal if you want to lose weight?
How often should you have a cheat meal if you want to lose weight?

If you packed few extra pounds and struggling to get them off, you know what bother that is. We’ll suppose you’re on some kind of dieting plan. If you add some physical activity, those pounds should come down quickly, depending on how overweight are you.

Most people are quite enthusiastic when it comes to training and they are ready to “force” themselves to train every day to change body constitution, reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. But, what is the hardest part of the job, and equally important for achieving results – is a balanced diet, ie. a diet in line with the goal you have.

The biggest problem while losing weight is to stick to a regimen you chose. You didn’t pack those extra pounds in a week, which means your expectations on losing them should be realistic. Losing weight requires endurance and commitment.

Why do you need cheat meals when you’re on a diet?

When you start with a restrictive diet and have some calorie deficit every day, you make progress at a fairly fast pace for a while (mostly in the beginning) and then after a while, your progress slows down. Then there is a period of stagnation when the body can no longer lose fat. 

There is an explanation for this – it happens because, during a long period of time, our calorie deficit reduces the production of thyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating metabolism, and this is one of the reasons for the slowdown in metabolism. 

Your body “protests” with stagnation and gives signals that something needs to change in order to continue to lose weight. You may still lose weight, but it will no longer be pounds of fat but muscles because due to the long period of calorie deficit there is an increased secretion of cortisol (stress hormone) which directly affects the breakdown of your muscles. 

This is the situation when you need cheat meals, as they can help you progress.

What happens when you have a cheat meal?

After you have a cheat meal, the body is in shock because it has been accustomed to one diet for quite some time, and now after a meal full of sugar and calories, it has to work fast. 

Production of thyroid hormones increases, and thus our metabolism accelerates. Due to the thermal effect of food processing, thermogenesis also occurs and you reach the goal – fat loss and successful increase of basal metabolism. 

In addition to these benefits, a cheat meal will satisfy your emotional needs for a while and break the monotony in the diet, until there is another period of stagnation when your body needs a new “kick” in the form of cheat meals. You should look at the cheat meal in a way that you do good to your body and react to the signals your body sends you.

How often can I have cheat meal?

What you should not do is turn the cheat meal into a cheat day. There is no specific rule for everyone how often cheat meal is useful for your body, but once a week won’t do any harm to your dieting plan. It will only give a much-needed “kick” to your metabolism.

If you eat all day whatever comes to your mind you won’t have a positive but a counter-effect. Cheat meal and cheat day are often used as synonyms, but they both mean 1 meal in 1 day and not more such meals that you will eat all day. 

If you just started a diet shift the focus from the cheat meal and to focus on following the diet plan that the nutritionist has put together in accordance with the goal and macronutrients you need.