How weekend cheat days impact your weight results
If you’ve been working hard all week on your weight loss goals, by never skipping workouts and sticking to your meal replacement shakes; weekends can pose temptations. If your weekend includes a few social plans, you may find yourself presented with unhealthy meal options that don’t align to your weight loss meal plans. While we all need an occasional treat, weight loss or no weight loss, eating too many treats isn’t healthy. It can also lead to disappointment on the scales come Monday, when you may hear yourself say, “But I’ve been so good all week. I should still lose weight.”
What are cheat days?
Often people following a weight loss diet eat clean five to six days of the week, ensuring their calories are in check and they are following a strict diet for weight loss. On that one other day (or two) in the week is when people let loose. High calorie food, processed snacks, desserts and takeaways – anything the heart desires. These are the cheat days.
Cheat days vs cheat meals
There is a difference between the two, because you must decide how much is too much.
Some people like to go all out and eat whatever they fancy. All.Through.The.Day. This could look like pizza for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, burgers for snacks and loaded fries for dinner. Undoubtedly there is no calorie counting happening on this day. A less extreme version may be to increase daily calorie intake with healthy, high calorie foods.
With cheat meals, you continue to eat healthy throughout the day, except for one meal where you choose to stray from your weight loss diet plan.
Cheat days and weight loss
The impact of cheat days on weight loss is directly dependant on two things: how much have you splurged and how well did you keep up with your physical activity? Let’s take a look at an example. Say you kicked off the weekend by having takeaway on Friday night. You went for a vegetarian thin crust pizza and had only three slices with salad and diet soft drink (1758kJ/420 cal, 64.3g carbs). You didn’t have dessert and felt strong for that. The next day you had your Tony Ferguson Classic Shake for breakfast. Lunch with a friend was a chicken caesar salad and a regular mocha frappe (4116kJ), because your friend was having one. You skipped having your regular protein snacks that evening as you were catching up with mates at an Italian restaurant for dinner. That night you gave in to ordering spaghetti bolognaise (2810kJ/672 cal) and two glasses of your favourite wine (800kJ), with a resolution to go for a walk the next morning. When you went for desserts you had two scoops of sorbet rather than gelato as it was likely lower in calories (520kJ/130 cal). The next morning you slept in and skipped the walk to head for a family lunch. You had a protein shake for breakfast and lunch was steak and salad (1000kJ/240 cal). But dessert was your favourite Mars Bar cheesecake (2376kJ/568 cal). You also had two glasses of wine (800kJ). For dinner you had your meal replacement shake and some salad.
Making smart choices
While you made some good choices and tried to balance it out, you also did make some high calorie choices. Some meals had over 4000kJ/950 cal which is much more than a Tony Ferguson meal replacement at 850kJ/200 cal or a Tony Ferguson meal at around 1000-1500kJ/208-360 cal.
The best approach to cheat days
Weight loss and weight management plans are unique to each individual and body type. Not everyone is built the same, but here are a few ideas that could work while trying to approach cheat days.
Make it positive
If your weekend cheat days are getting physically and emotionally overwhelming, why not think about calling them treat days.
Keep a food diary
A healthy diet plan must allow for your favourite foods to make it more sustainable. If you’ve had a treat at a meal, write it down in your diary so you can actually see how many calories you have to spare. The idea is to keep everything in moderation.
Think hard about your healthy choices
Instead of thinking about how hard you need to workout and give up on your favourite foods, take a moment to think about how energised you feel after eating a pizza. What are the foods that work for your body and help you feel refreshed? This will help keep your focus on making sustainable food choices for your mind and body.
Make your everyday diet enjoyable. Consult with a qualified health professional who can help you with a weight loss meal plan and recipes that will suit your lifestyle. The Tony Ferguson 12-Week Program offers a range of meal replacement protein shakes and snacks that are easy to prepare on-the-go and rich in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. You could also choose from brownie bars and nutritious soups for when you may feel hungry for a small snack.