Cheat meal is observed in most weight loss diets. Many experts believe that cheat meal is necessary for weight loss. But some experts have a different opinion. This group of experts believe that cheat meal has a negative effect on the weight loss process and should not be used in weight loss diets. In this article, we want to address the same issue: is cheat meal necessary for weight loss? In the following, we wall talk about this.
What is the purpose of cheat meal?
As we said in the article “weight loss for women“, the only way to significantly lose weight is calorie deficit diet. There are two important points regarding diet. Calories intake through foods and calories burned through daily activities. If you want to lose weight, you must reduce your calorie intake from food until it is less than the calories you burn through daily activities. This is called calorie deficit.
But there is a problem!
After following a calorie deficit diet for a while, your metabolism slows down. Unfortunately, weight loss is not as simple as following a calorie deficit diet alone, and other points should be considered.
Metabolism is one of the most important factors in the fat burning process. This factor is so important that if your body’s metabolism decreases, you will not see any weight loss and you will reach weight loss plateau.
Factors that have a negative effect on metabolism
Many factors have a negative effect on metabolism. One of the important influencing factors is low calorie intake. In this case, the body may be in a state of starvation, and this leads to a decrease in metabolism.
There are other factors that can reduce your metabolism. For example, muscle loss is a very important factor. With age or lack of physical activity, muscle loss increases and this leads to a decrease in metabolism.
Another factor that reduces metabolism is bad thyroid hormone function. This hormone is directly related to metabolism.
In the previous paragraphs, we mentioned some examples of the factors that reduce metabolism, but to check the necessity of cheat meal, we must check the first factor, i.e. the calorie deficit diet.
How does a calorie deficit diet affect metabolism?
Metabolism is carried out by a set of hormones in the body. Sometimes the function of these hormones is disturbed. One of the factors that can lead to this is low calorie intake. There are two main reasons why your metabolism slows down during a weight loss diet:
- Following a calorie deficit diet for a long time
- Following very low calorie diets
The second case ,following very low calorie diets, is not recommended under any circumstances. So do not use this method for rapid weight loss. If you are looking for fast weight loss, we suggest you read the article “How to lose weight fast“. in this article we talked about safe methods to lose weight faster.
But about the first one, that is, following a calorie deficit diet for a long time, we need to talk more. Suppose you start your weight loss diet and use this diet for a month without cheating. Probably, after this one month, the speed of your weight loss will decrease significantly or you will reach the weight loss plateau.
In order to avoid this problem, it is suggested to increase the calorie intake after following a calorie deficit diet for some time. This increase in calories should be approximately equal to weight maintenance calories. If you eat maintenance calories, you will neither gain nor lose weight. Studies have shown that if you eat weight maintenance calories one or two days a week, your metabolism will experience less of a decrease.
Ways to increase calories to maintenance calories
There are two methods to increase your calorie intake. One of these methods is to use healthy foods for weight loss. That is, you increase the same amount of food that is in your weight loss diet until the calorie intake is equal to the weight maintenance calorie. In this method, you still use healthy foods.
But there is another method which is called Cheat Meal or Cheat Day. In this method, you are allowed to use any food you like to increase your calorie intake that day. It doesn’t matter what food you use. So you are allowed to use fatty and high calorie foods.
Both methods are correct. So far, we have found that increasing calorie intake for one or two days a week is necessary in the weight loss diet, which can be done using cheat meals.
Important tips about cheat meal
As we said, weight loss is highly dependent on calorie intake. If you consume more calories than you need, you may not experience significant weight loss. For this reason, you should be very careful about your calorie intake.
Some people do not put any limit on the calorie intake from cheat meal. This mistake can prevent weight loss. The best solution is to carefully count the calories received through cheat meal.
Another important tip about cheating is to use cheat day instead of cheat meal. In this method, a whole day is devoted to cheating, which is wrong. Eating too many calories in one day can throw off your entire week’s effort. So it is better to devote only one meal to cheating and get certain calories in this meal.
You can get any food you like in Cheat Meal. Just watch out for your urge to overeat. Usually, those who are very fond of certain foods, such as sweets or pizza, lose control when faced with these foods and consume a lot of calories. If you also have this problem, it is better to use the first method of increasing calories, that is, increasing calories with healthy foods, so that this problem does not occur.