Everyone cheats. Expecting to stick to a restrictive diet 100% of the time isn’t realistic or healthy. Cheat meals or cheat days are essential for our emotional well-being. Cheat meals are designed to provide much-needed respite from dietary restrictions but they are not supposed to ruin the whole dieting process.
The problem with cheat days is they can ruin motivation. After a heavy weekend of drinking, or after eating a few slices of cake at a family birthday party, you might feel like you let yourself down. Even if you planned for a cheat day in your diet, getting back in the gym after a couple of days of binging is even tougher than usual.
HAVE A GUILT-FREE CHEAT DAY WITH THESE TRICKS
GETTING BACK ON TRACK AFTER A CHEAT DAY
Don’t let you cheat day ruin your progress by bouncing back effectively. Here are the keys to not letting your cheat day ruin your campaign towards a healthy, beach-ready body.
Part of the issue with junk food is that it doesn’t just drain your body and make you feel rough, it takes its toll on your mind as well. Water will help you flush the toxins out of your body and restore your regular digestive rhythm. The added hydration should also help clear your mind, lift your mood and help you motivate yourself for the first gym session back.
HAVE A HIGH PROTEIN DAY
Because most cheat days are usual carbohydrate intensive, the following day should be more centred around protein and vegetables. This will help you rebalance, recalibrate and get your nutrition back on track.
BE AWARE OF FALSE HUNGER
In the 24 hours after your cheat day, your blood sugar levels will still be fluctuating which will cause states of false hunger. This will create intense cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Don’t give in. Every time you are feeling a craving, make a cup of black coffee until it goes away. The worst thing you can do at this point is given in to the junk-food demons inside your head.
DON’T OVERDO IT THE FIRST DAY BACK IN THE GYM
The first time you get back in the gym after a cheat day, your first impulse is to go at it hell-for-leather. Try to resist this urge. Putting your body through a gruelling workout or weights and cardio will only put it under intense stress, releasing cortisol, which put your body into fat-storage mode.
Instead, do your normal workout, with maybe a little extra cardio. Don’t do more than 20 minutes of cardio, and keep your weights session to your usual length.
Finally, you have to forgive yourself. You won’t unravel all your hard work in one day, no matter how much binging you did. Take it in your stride. Accept that in the grand scheme of things, that one day won’t make any difference and take the day as a break. Only when you accept this, can you come back more motivated, ready to continue on your fitness journey.