Can Cheat Days Help You Lose Weight?


While it’s mostly true that cheaters never win, there are some notable exceptions. For instance, if you are a personal trainer seeking to motivate your clients to stick to their weight loss goals over the long haul, it might help to implement a cheat day once a week.


Your objective as a personal trainer is to help your clients eat right, do their exercises, and stick to the game plan. But things may go a whole lot better for you and your clients if you allow them the occasional indulgence in some foods that would normally be on the do-not-eat list. Going this route can turn an otherwise unrealistic weight loss regimen into a productive lifestyle change strategy that yields positive results for your clients.


So what exactly is a cheat day? And how can you use this strategy to help your clients accomplish their weight loss goals? What follows is a look at what cheat days are, what the benefits are for clients who want to lose weight, how to lose weight the right way with this strategy, and how to steer around a popular myth concerning cheat meals.


What are Cheat Days?

Many people who fall off the wagon during their dieting do so because their plan was way too rigid, and they sometimes end up binge eating and basically derailing their weight loss plans. However, incorporating cheat days, where they can indulge in their favorite comfort food like hamburgers, pizza, and ice cream bars, can actually give them the incentive to stick with their overall healthy eating plan. You can use the cheat day as a way to keep your clients focused on the ultimate prize since they will have something to look forward to once every week.



What are the Benefits?

In addition to encouraging your clients to stick with the program, cheat meals can help them boost their metabolism. The reasoning behind this is that after being on a regimented diet for a significant period of time, they can get to the point where progress flatlines. At such times, your clients might ask you for tips on how to lose weight. Encouraging your clients to have a higher calorie cheat meal once every week will give their metabolism a boost since their bodies will have to break down a bigger-than-usual meal.


Another key benefit of having a cheat meal is that it will give your clients the energy they need for the following week of exercises. Specifically, the increase in carbs will elevate the glycogen count, which will provide your clients will all the energy they need for the week ahead.


How do you do a cheat day right?

If your clients ask you whether or not they should do a cheat meal, the answer is a definite yes. But they should also ask what the best cheat days are and what the best cheat meal is. So when should you have a cheat meal? Tell your clients to pick one day and, over the course of one sit-down meal on that day, to enjoy what they want in moderation. While they can basically choose any day for a cheat day, the end of the week is probably ideal since it will give your clients something to look forward to. Knowing that the weekend is approaching could also serve as a psychological advantage that helps your clients stick with the program and work hard. What is the best cheat meal? Your clients can basically eat anything they want, but they shouldn’t necessarily eat as much as they want (see the following section). It’s also best to remind them that it’s a cheat meal, where they reward themselves for one sit down meal, rather than a cheat day, where they gorge all day long.


Myth Debunked

One prevalent myth is that people can eat anything and everything they want during a cheat meal. While your clients can indulge, that doesn’t mean that they should go on an all-out binge. One source notes that people should, if they are doing a cheat day, aim to boost their caloric intake up to what would be their normal maintenance level. Consider clients who usually maintain their weight by consuming 2,000 calories and then drop down to 1,500 calories per day when they’re in diet mode, for example. If, while they are dieting, they decide to take a cheat day, they should eat only an extra 500 calories for that meal given the amount of calories they usually take in to maintain their normal weight (i.e. 2000). The best cheat meal involves indulgence balanced by sensible calorie intake.


Yes, cheat days can actually help your clients to reach their weight loss goals in a responsible way. Ensure that they know what to do and what not to do, and they’re sure to achieve their goals.

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