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Cheat Meals - A Good or Bad dieting stratergy?

Cheat Meals - A Good or Bad dieting stratergy?

Are you beginning to struggle on your diet now that the colder months are moving in and find yourself considering Pizza night every week? We did some research on Cheat Meals to find out if they are a good or bad strategy for dieting. We've put together some good and bad facts and what we think works best!

5 Good Reasons to have a cheat meal


  • Cheat meals improve your Metabolism! - This is the fact that people tend to refer to when they have a few too many 'Cheat meals' but science does prove that cheat meals cause Leptin levels to increase. Leptin is the hormone that encourages metabolism of fat and at the same time, it manages appetite. Normally, the Leptin level in the body is reduced after one week of dieting. This level is restored to the normal level during cheat days. Therefore the body is once again prepared to burn fat and to contain appetite for the next diet week.


  • Cheat meals lessen cravings! - Foods eaten during cheat days lessen the desire to eat the same foods when dieting. 


  • Cheat meals can make you more toned! - With moderation of course! Cheat meals increase glycogen levels in the muscles which is known to create a more toned appearance. During none cheat days when carbs and certain proteins are decreased, glycogen levels fall. By eating Cheat Meals that contain high levels of carbohydrates restores the glycogen level of the muscles. You would regain your strength, become energized and motivated to go on with diet the following week.


  • Cheat meals can improve your Psychology! - Dieting can be physically and mentally tough! So by assigning yourself a Cheat Meal a week can make your diet plans more rewarding and make the weeks more bearable by giving yourself a meal to look forward to! Also, by cutting out carbohydrates this depletes your mood! Science says that's carbs make you happy! Therefore pizza makes us happy!


  • Cheat meals can give you an energy boost! - The energy you gain from a cheat meal gives you an all-round mental and physiological boost to help with your motivation and allow you to train harder in the gym making your workouts more effective.



5 Reasons why NOT to use Cheat Meals


  • Your body wont fully adapt to a healthy diet - The longer you stay dieting for the easier it gets, but by giving yourself cheat meals means that your sense of taste wont adapt fully to the healthy food. This will make it easier for you to quit your diet altogether.


  • The fast food trap - People often get confused between cheat meals and fast food meals. Fast food contains the 'bad' types of carbs, proteins and glucose, this leads science to suggest that fast food can have more adverse effects on your body that it would by consuming it daily.


  • Do cheat meals help lead to your goals? - Cheat meals are often used by people who are trying to build their body. If you're trying to lose weight and have already started a diet, using cheat meals may be harmful to your body and not help your diet and goals. If you feel like that by loosing weight your muscle mass is being decreased then plan an exercise routine with one of our trainers. See more HERE


  • Feeding the cravings and addictions - When on a diet, cravings are the most difficult things to overcome. This is why it is important to trust yourself when indulging in your favourite cheat meal, it is easy to forget about your health programme. So sometimes the best solution is to stay away from the cheat meals.


  • Guilty! - Not only does the bloating begin once you've finished your cheat meal, but so does the guilt! When you consider the number of calories that you have just consumed the feeling of guilt will takeover, this may shadow all of your previous hard work and overall make your diet more difficult.


The 90/10 Rule


After some research, we decided that the pro's and con's to the cheat meal balances out. But there are particular methods and strategies that may work for you!

The 9/10 Rule believes that success comes from a cheat MEAL not a cheat DAY! This rule suggest that if you are going to cheat on your diet that 90% of your food should be healthy foods and 10% can be for cheat meals. However some dieticians suggest a criteria for these cheat meals in order for your diets to be a success! For example...

  • Cheat Meals need to involve calories and carbohydrates, Carbs can come from ‘clean’ sources including potatoes, brown rice, whole meal bread.
  • The number of calories should be approximately 5 times your body weight
  • You must be able to have ‘bad’ foods and can get back on track with eating healthy.

Rossendale Leisure Trust want to help you as much as we can on your fitness journey! Find out about our classes where you can find out more about health and exercise programmes HERE

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