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Are Cheat Days Truly Beneficial?

The purpose of a diet isn’t to look like a ‘supermodel’, but to be at optimal health. That means mentally, emotionally and physically.

If people stick to their diets and work out religiously, they will have the healthiest of bodies. Their minds and emotions, however, can be crunched just like their abs.

The remedy for optimal mental and emotional health is to cheat. Some will ask if that defeats the purpose. It doesn’t if they eat only a small amount of chocolate, potato chips or ice cream. It doesn’t mean to consume two large pizzas and a 12-pack of beer.

“All things in moderation” is a good maxim to follow, even when cheating on a diet. Here are physical, mental and emotional benefits of cheating on a diet.

Physical Benefits of Cheating

Cheat_DaysThe thyroid monitors the hormones and metabolism. Following a diet causes fatigue and a slowing of the metabolism. Folks work harder to burn calories to little effect.

Muscles also lose glycogen, an energy source stored in the muscles. Add this loss of energy to the slowing of the metabolism, and people will find themselves in need of a pick-me-up.

Sliding a few M&Ms into their trail mix or having a Coke won’t hurt the diet long-term. It will, however, infuse carbs into the body. That will energize the body so it will metabolize faster.

Notice the recommendation is for a few M&Ms or one 20 ounce Coke, not a whole bag of candy or a two litre bottle.

You don’t want to shock the body, just tickle it a little.

Mental Benefits of Cheating

People know they need to be their healthiest. They know eating right, exercise, proper sleep habits and fresh air are integral to a healthy body. They’re okay with that, except when it becomes a drag.

That’s the deadliest time in a diet.

If a person reaches a plateau, they wonder if they’re dieting enough and exercising enough. If they don’t lose enough skin before losing pounds, they wonder if it’s all for nothing. These times are when people fall off the wagon.

A little cheat during these times can keep you on the wagon. The infusion of sugars and carbs will kick-start the body back into losing weight. You can then get back to the down and dirty portion of your weight loss goals.

As above, so below; when the mind is reassured, the body will reap the benefits.

Emotional Benefits of Cheating

Here folks see the phenomenon of triumphal dieting. They made it through the tough times. They didn’t have a cheat day or a cheat week. They cheated a little each day and it didn’t sabotage their diet. They have a body worthy of a runway in New York.

That euphoria was worth it all. When they are complimented, they glow. When the doctor is happy, they feel smug.

Happy people get more out of life, and all it took was a bottle of Coke, a few M&Ms and a smile.

Author Bio:

Wayne Larsen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s currently fitness director at One Fitness Camp.

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