Pizza. Birthday cake. Cheeseburgers. Sugary mixed drinks. Temptation is everywhere, and nobody can resist it all the time. Cheating on your meal plan at some point is inevitable. However, it doesn’t need to derail your results on the New You 6 Week Challenge.
The day after a cheat is particularly difficult, because you may be feeling digestive discomfort, lethargy, and changes in appetite. These tips are designed to help with cheat day recovery, so that you can get back on track as soon as possible.
- Don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change what happened on your cheat day, so why berate yourself? Slipping up on your meal plan is only natural, and it happens to everyone now and again. Rather than blame or punish yourself, simply get back on your routine and get back with the program as soon as possible.
- Eat something! Many people think that after a cheat day, they should avoid eating to compensate up for the extra calories consumed. However, if you’re feeling starving, you’re more likely to have a binge, which is not an ideal cheat day recovery plan!
- Remember, there can actually be some benefits to cheating. Some people actually plan cheat days as a tactical method of kick-starting weight loss. Say what?It’s true! If your weight loss has stalled, it could have something to do with leptin, a hormone which helps regulate energy and appetite. If you’ve been restricting calories over a period of time, your leptin levels may lower. Low leptin levels not only lower the metabolism and cause the body to hold on to fat, but they are also associated with increased anxiety and depression.As this study found, the short-term consumption of high carbohydrate meals can actually increase metabolism and leptin. Basically, by having a cheat meal, it’s like giving yourself a booster shot of leptin. So it’s possible that a cheat meal could “shock” the body into speeding up your metabolism! Knowing this can definitely make your cheat day recovery a little easier.
- Don’t weigh yourself. If you weigh yourself the day after a cheat day, it’s highly likely that the scale will register several pounds of weight gain.Don’t panic: it’s likely just water weight.After all, nobody cheats by eating salad, right? You probably ate sugary or salty items–the types of foods that are notorious for causing fluid retention.The good news is that the weight will subside or even out within a few days. So why not take a break from the scale for a day or two so that things can even out?
- Drink lots of water. As mentioned above, cheat days or meals can cause fluid retention. Particularly if you’ve consumed unhealthy foods that your body isn’t used to, you may also be feeling some digestive discomfort. Drinking lots of water can help flush your system and reduce bloat. If possible, avoid alcohol and coffee, which can have a dehydrating effect.
- Get moving…gently. Don’t skip your workout following a cheat day. However, do take it a little bit easy. You’re probably not feeling at your physical prime, so you might need to slightly modify your New You 6 Week Challenge workout. There’s no shame in being gentle on yourself when needed.Only push yourself within the bounds of your own comfort. Give yourself time to get back in the swing of things. Your first workout after a cheat day might feel tough, but the next one will be easier and within a few days you’ll be back to normal.
Conclusion: Cheat days happen. Rather than blame or punish yourself, work hard to get back on track and keep it from becoming a cheat week or month. By following these cheat day recovery tips, you’ll be back on the road to reaching your fitness goals in no time!
Do you have cheat days?