As the obesity pandemic continues, so does the search for effective weight loss treatments.
While selecting the correct regimen can be difficult, the most challenging for most weight loss individuals is typically developing and maintaining new habits that support your health or weight loss goals while allowing you to eat the foods you enjoy.
This article discusses intermittent fasting after cheat day, as well as its effectiveness and if it should be included in your quest for health and fitness.
Intermittent Fasting And Cheat Days
Time-restricted eating (TRE) is the practice of consuming all of your food for the day in a limited amount of time. For example, from noon until 8 p.m. (8 hours). It is most commonly called intermittent fasting1.
Following a strict intermittent fast works well for some people but can be difficult for some. When not done properly and with possible shaky willpower, you might cave in to binge eat.
Fasting after a binge eating cheat day is an extreme method that some use to combat the repercussions of a cheat day, such as weight gain and exceeding your calorie limit. It may also be considered a requirement for certain people who have consumed far too many calories on a cheat day and discovered that it had a substantial impact on their weekly calorie intake.
Whatever your reason for wanting to fast after a cheat day, it is entirely possible, however it is not recommended. It forces you to put your body through extremes which makes it very difficult to progress and might be not so easy to follow through with2.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting decreases insulin levels, allowing you to begin using your own body fat as an energy source. When you fast, your body actually switches into fat-burning mode. After a 24-hour fast, your testosterone levels can increase by up to 180% and your growth hormone levels can increase by up to 2000%.
If you want to gain lean muscle mass, raising your growth hormone levels will undoubtedly help. It also decreases your blood sugar levels, which is beneficial if you use blood sugar medicine. Just make sure you contact your doctor before beginning a fast. Fasting can even help you reverse aging because it boosts your metabolism and does so much more1.
One particular benefit where most are interested in is that it can lead to improved weight loss and metabolic health. The impact on weight loss largely involves the time-restricted eating method of intermittent fasting where you are expected to limit your eating window to help you shed a few pounds.
What Is A Cheat Day?
Cheating on a diet plan entails granting yourself calculated, premeditated permission to breach stringent diet guidelines for a short period of time.
The assumption behind this reward-based diet method is that by allowing yourself brief indulgences, you will be more likely to stick to your prescribed diet for the remainder of the time.
People that use the cheat strategy will usually choose between a cheat meal and a cheat day. A cheat meal is a single meal that deviates from your intended eating pattern, but a cheat day permits you to eat whatever you want for the entire day3.
Understanding Weight Gain
Before you get into how to recover from a cheat day, it’s important to understand how weight gain works.
Everyone has a different basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the bare minimum of calories your body needs to burn in order to keep all of your body functions working efficiently.
Your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is quite comparable to your BMR, is another item you have. This is the number of calories burned while your body is resting. BMR and RMR are often used interchangeably, so don’t be too concerned.
To lose or keep weight off, you must control your calorie consumption.
You would eat less than your BMR if you wanted to lose weight. You would eat around your BMR to maintain your weight. And you’d have to eat more than your BMR to gain weight.
When you have a cheat day, chances are you’re eating more than your BMR, which means you’ll start gaining weight if you keep this up. However, one cheat day will not derail your diet and will not cause you to gain weight4.
- Sodium Intake
People often feel that drinking a lot of water would help them lose weight. But what you might not realize is that excessive levels of sodium hang onto water and pull it into your cells, causing your cells to enlarge and, as a result, making you feel bloated all day (and sometimes swelling your stomach). If this is occurring to you, reduce your sodium consumption or stop consuming fast food or salty snacks entirely.
People feel that cutting carbs will help them lose weight. But what many people don’t realize is that restricting carbs alone will make them weary throughout the day, making it difficult to exercise or function normally. If this is happening to you, consider gradually increasing your carbohydrate intake (whole-wheat bread, brown rice) while still consuming protein and vegetables at each meal/snack.
When sugar is taken by your liver, it is converted into glucose. Glucose is converted into energy, which you will require in your daily life. However, because sugar lacks nutrition, eating too much sugar might lead you to feel weary throughout the day, making it difficult to operate. If this is occurring to you, try reducing your sugar intake and making sure you get some protein with every snack or meal.
Fasting Before Cheat Day
Fasting before a cheat day could likely be a superior technique to adopt because it will make your body more sensitive to calorie intake and ensure it better utilizes the calories that you will ingest.
Following an intermittent fast, your blood glucose and glycogen levels will drop, making you far more sensitive to utilizing the extra calories from a cheat day rather than risking the likelihood that they may be used for fat storage.
But keep in mind that it’s not quite that simple because the body is a complicated organism. If you’re looking for a strategy to incorporate fasting around a cheat meal, the day prior is a smarter option to take and it will limit some of the digestive and hormonal concerns that might follow a cheat day2.
Ways To Get Over A Cheat Day
Now that you have a better understanding of what causes weight fluctuations by learning the fundamentals of weight increase (as well as maintenance and decrease), we can now go on to some practical methods for getting over your cheat day and staying active4.
Step 1: Forgive yourself after having a cheat day
Sometimes you can’t help but be forced to cheat on your diet, and that’s fine. Life is full of surprises. However, you may set yourself up for success by planning ahead of time. If you know you’re going to a wedding or a birthday party this weekend and you know there’ll be good food, you should probably postpone eating out until then if you’re trying to lose weight.
Just be careful not to turn your cheat meal into a cheat day. Simply limit yourself to one cheat meal once or twice a week and plan ahead of time, and you should be fine.
Step 2: Forget about the cheat meal.
Step 3: Fasting after cheat day.
The best approach to get back on track after a cheat meal is to just fast the next day. You balance the feast by fasting. There is really nothing else you can do. You can fast for 16 or 24 hours, or miss breakfast and even lunch.
Other Ways To Get Back On Track
1. Stay Hydrated.
For your cheat day, you probably ate some sugary or fatty, oily, and salty items. These poor foods can lead your body to retain more water weight than usual, increasing the requirement on the scale.
Make sure you drink more water than usual the day after your cheat day. This can assist flush out any sugar, salt, or other pollutants you’ve consumed. Not only that, but drinking water can fill your stomach and keep you from overeating again.
2. Consume More Protein.
If fasting doesn’t sound like much fun, that’s fine. Instead, simply cut back on the number of calories you consume the following day. However, if you eat normally and merely cut your portions, you may find your stomach growling a lot throughout the day. You might even feel tired and lethargic.
Protein is a fantastic strategy to fight this. Proteins not only keep you fuller for longer, but they also keep you invigorated so you can get on with your day without feeling exhausted. If you don’t have time to prepare a dish with chicken and other protein, you may always make protein shakes.
3. Do Some Exercise
Assume you exercise for 30 minutes every day. However, because you had a cheat day, you consumed more calories than normal.
You now clearly have excess calories that you need to burn off too. To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. To keep it off, you need to eat the same amount as your BMR.
In this scenario, you can make up for it by engaging in other physical activities during the next few days. So instead of running for 30 minutes, run for 60 minutes or more for the next two or three days. The quantity of extra activity you’ll need to accomplish may be determined by the extent of your cheat day.
4. Take a Supplement
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that aid in the maintenance of a healthy gut. They can be beneficial after consuming meals that cause bloating and pain since they help to restore gut balance. Choose a probiotic supplement that contains at least 5 billion colony forming units (CFUs) each dosage.
The main thing about taking cheat days is to bounce back once you’ve indulged. Fasting after a cheat day is the easiest approach to undo the negative consequences of consuming too many unhealthy foods like processed foods.
Remember to improve your physical activity, drink extra water, detox every now and again, and eat healthy meals during your diet break. Sleeping and not being too hard on yourself are also key stages following feasting.
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goal weight in no time. Everyone makes errors, but the most important thing you can do is get back on track as soon as possible.