Have you tried over indulging and wished later on that you didn’t? Anyone who has adhered to a healthy diet has definitely felt some sort of regret when it comes to cheat days. Well, the reality about “cheating” on a cheat day is that it isn’t about ruining your fitness efforts during the week.
Cheat days are all about giving yourself a good break after all the self-discipline and hard work. And this well-deserved break doesn’t mean you can pig out on anything without thinking about the consequences. Some people misuse the concept of a cheat day and binge on extra calories that they really don’t enjoy.
Snacking Practices for More Winning Cheat Days
The reason why we’re tackling snacking habits is that snacking is one thing that people enthusiastically do. At the same time, people often fail at it.
Having a good snacking strategy during cheat days is very important. This ensures that you get to enjoy foods that aren’t on your prescribed diet plan, at the same time avoid feeling like you’ve totally messed up your fitness initiatives.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Choose a cheat meal with high nutritional value.
Limit foods with empty calories. If you’re wondering what snacks with empty calories are, these are the ones that are primarily composed of sugars and fats but have no real nutritional value. We know that the excess amounts of fat and sugar content in these options make them more palatable but they only do you more harm.
Better yet, take advantage of appetizing and health-giving snack bites that offer you protein and complex carbohydrates with vitamins. Even if they contain high amounts of calories, what really matters is that they’re nutrient-dense. Egg yolks, dark chocolate, regular peanut butter, and dried fruit make good choices.
Avoid consuming multiple unhealthy snacks in one sitting.
One of the biggest reasons why dieters feel sorry for themselves after a cheat day is because they’ve consumed several unhealthy snacks under one category. For example, a dieter has eaten a bowl of cheesy pasta, starchy white bagels, and a jar of cookies.
If you’re going to indulge in refined carbohydrates, make sure to pick your choice. Just choose one kind of treat to munch on and save the rest for your next cheat day. You see, planning and moderation still matter.
Don’t cheat when you’re starving or famished.
Eating a cheat meal when you’re really depleted is a bad idea. We cannot deny that when we are hungry, we tend to mindlessly pig out. We ignore the possible consequences until we feel full. A good practice before you cheat is eating a high-protein and high-fiber snack to keep you satiated for hours.
Doing this will help you make a well-thought out choice. Moreover, since you had a healthy pre-cheat meal, you’ll have more allowance or freedom to indulge in a favorite food later in the day.
Pair it up with large glasses of water.
Hidden sugars sneak into your diet in various ways and one of them is the consumption of beverages. Whether you’re planning to snack out at your favorite restaurant or prepare something tasty at home, pair it with water. Make sure to follow up everything with a lot of water.
Aside from containing zero calories and zero unhealthy ingredients, water is a natural and highly efficient fat burner. Plus, water prevents your blood sugar levels from going on a roller coaster ride. Hydrating yourself with water on a cheat day is a great way to avoid unnecessary cravings when your body doesn’t really need them.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
While you eat and after eating, it’s important to pay attention to physical cues. How do you feel? Did your cheat snack help you stave off your cravings? Do you feel full and satisfied already? Are you sluggish afterward? How about heartburn?
Your body has its way of telling you that you’ve had enough or that your cheat day was a disaster. Remember that cheat days are supposed to make you have a well-deserved break, feel accomplished, and ready to rock another week of extreme fitness – not the other way around.
Have a variety of fresh options.
Don’t dedicate your entire cheat day to all processed treats. Nothing feels more rewarding and satisfying than including tons of foods that don’t come in a package. This ensures that you consume a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have health-protective benefits.
For example, if you’ll be choosing pizza, go for the Garden Special flavor so that you get to consume bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, and pineapple tidbits. If you’re going to have a burger, go to a restaurant that offers burgers with grass-fed beef patties.
Know what a real treat is.
You know what’s a poor cheat day situation? Overindulging in some sort of a high-fat snack like an entire chocolate cake when you know you haven’t really given your best during the week. It can be that you’ve only exercised 2 days or while on your workout days, you’ve eaten a lot of bad stuff for your body.
Have some common sense on what an ideal cheat day should be. A person who deserves a real reward in a form of a cheat snack is someone who practiced high levels of discipline with exercise and food. Nothing is ever wrong with getting a super delicious treat if you truly believe that you deserve it.
Cheat days are designed to help you win at fitness for the long haul. If you’re curious about whether cheat days help you keep your weight off by speeding up your metabolism, the answer is that there are no studies to prove that.
However, cheat days are meant to satisfy your personal need to indulge in a favorite treat while being responsible for your health. They should also boost your morale and give you a reward to look forward to after all your hard work.
By following the effective strategies to stave off guilt on a cheat day, you’ll feel more accomplished, satisfied, and stay in good health.