You Won't Believe Why Doctors Recommend You Cheat on Your Diet
Doctors announce that breaking your diet once a week on “cheat days” speeds up your weight loss by boosting your metabolism. They found that binge eating once a week when you're on a diet counters the effects of lowered leptin levels.
What Are Cheat Days and Why Should You Cheat Your Diet?
If you're on a weight loss regimen of diet and exercise, cheat days are once-a-week intentional all-day breaks from your diet. On a cheat day you purposefully binge on pizza, soda, alcohol, and whatever favorite junk foods you like.
Why do doctors think they're good for you? Experts found that abruptly lowering your calorie intake while dieting can lower your leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone made by your fat cells that tells your brain you're full. It also plays a role in your metabolism. If your leptin levels are low, you'll feel hungrier and won't burn as much fat and sugar. Studies show that binging on a cheat day restores 30 percent of your lost leptin for 24 hours. When you go back on your diet the next day you'll burn more fat than if you didn't binge because you'll have more metabolism-boosting leptin.
Leptin also makes you feel happy and boosts your motivation. Psychologists say if you cheat Sunday, you'll feel pumped all of Monday to kickstart your diet for the next week. They say if you repeat this cycle, you'll start each week anew – helping you stay on your weight loss regimen for the long run.
Get the Most Leptin From Your Cheat Days
If you're going to cheat your diet, might as well get the most out of it. Studies show that binging on a high-protein or high-carb diet boosts your metabolism. But, binging on high-fat foods, like pizza, or drinking alcohol lowers leptin.
You'll get more leptin and a greater metabolism boost if you avoid fats and binge on clean protein and sugars instead. Try to avoid that cold beer too!
But if you find you're unable to resist cheating, you can try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychiatric consultation, which are both recommended by London psychologists.
Healthier Anti-cheat Alternatives
If your will is strong or you don't want to cheat, there are healthier leptin-boosting alternatives. These things counteract lowered leptin levels caused by dieting:
Hops contain a special flavonoid, called xanthohumol, that lowered bad cholesterol levels by 80 percent, insulin levels by 42 percent, and inflammation of laboratory mice. These lab mice were fed the same diet as the control group but gained 22 percent less weight and had higher metabolisms.
Don't think you can drink beer and get hops' metabolism-boosting benefits – the alcohol cancels them out! You can make hops tea instead.
Talking to friends or making friends boosts your metabolism and mood. Dr. Chandra Duggirala, M.D. says that social rewards affect your brain significantly, changing the speed you burn sugars and fat. (See how laughing helps you lose weight!)
Chewing gum is an easy way to passively burn calories. Choose sugarless, calorie-free gum and you'll be burning carbs without taking any in. The xylitol in gum also protects you from cavities. Studies also show that chewing gum boosts your alertness and cognitive performance, which both boost your productivity at work. Go buy some sugar-free gum now and you'll be brighter and burn more carbs!
Doctors advise you to cheat on your diet once a week. But, if you have the willpower – choose a healthier, metabolism-boosting alternative instead. What's your preference?