Cheat Days Won’t Ruin Your Progress…And Here’s Why
It’s Saturday night, the weather sucks, you turn on your favorite Netflix show and take out that pint of ice cream, some chocolates, popcorn and…maybe even chips & salsa ( don’t judge, ok? )
Next thing you know, your couch is full of wrappers and your belly is about to explode, but you feel happy…for a while…
You wake up the next morning, look at yourself in the mirror and you’re like — ummmm why is my face so puffy? And my belly is still bloated….AND THEN IT STARTS…
…the judgement, restricting, feeling guilty, the ‘I’m fat’ thoughts, the ‘I need to run for 2 hours’ ideas….
Girl, we’ve all been there…ok? And I am here to tell you that your epic date night with yourself DIDN’T ruin your diet, your goals and everything you worked so hard for to achieve. Read on…
1. ONE CHEAT DAY WON’T CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN THE SAME AS ONE SALAD WON’T GIVE YOU ABS
This is, like, THE biggest truth ever said, written, or any other way stated in this Universe.
So, you’ve gone all crazy and ordered 2 pizzas cause you couldn’t decide which one you wanted ( cause delicata squash + feta cheese & truffle potato + sage both sound like angels playing harp ), and now you’re wondering how much pounds you put on.
Ok, let me ask you this. You’ve gone ahead and made yourself a delicious salad full of amazing ingredients, superfoods & healthy fats. How much weight have you lost?
Let me answer that for you — none & none :)
Our bodies are complicated mechanisms & cannot gain or lose weight overnight. The main reason why the scale can change its numbers is water retention and water loss. Carbs are processed differently in our bodies than protein & fat; they get converted to glycogen, which is then stored in the liver & muscles for energy. For every gram of glycogen stored, our cells intake approximately 3g of water. The reason WHY this happens is because molecules of glycogen are comprised of water AND because our kidneys hold on to sodium in response to carbohydrate consumption.
Same thing goes for water loss: if you experience an overnight drop on the scale, that means the excess water got out of your system either through sweating or bathroom runs :)
How much does it actually take to process the extra water in our cells depends on the individual! So don’t go all crazy if 3 days after your cheat meal you still look puffy & bloated. Sometimes, it takes a while :) A good way to ensure you’re on the right track is to:
+ drink plenty of fluids (especially lemon water)
+ move (I’m not saying you need to become a Duracell bunny on the treadmill, but moving gets everything flowing :))
+ eat leafy greens & colorful veggies (to detoxify the body and boost your immune system — check Sakara’s Cleanse Programs :) )
+ good night’s sleep (lowers cortisol)
+ epsom salts and essential oils bath
2. CARB LOADING MAY ACTUALLY BE BENEFICIAL
….every once in a while! In order to get our leptin (satiety hormone) and ghrelin (hunger hormone) in check, practicing carb cycling has been proven numerous times to be effective in weight loss and weight management; especially if you’ve been restricting your carb intake for a while.
Now, while it would definitely be better to carb-up with some whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruit ( extra vitamins, fiber and minerals!), sometimes, getting that carb-fix can be chocolate, OK? and ice cream…and tortilla chips…and you will be totally fine :)
Your serotonin levels will go up, your mood will improve significantly, and you will know that next day you can go back to nutritious food without any damage :)
3. RELAX, TAKE IT EASY!
Do you know that the actual stress you are putting yourself through because ‘Oh no, now I’ve screwed it up!’ keeps running through your head, is causing more damage than the actual cheat meal itself? Stress raises cortisol levels, and when that ‘fight or flight’ mode gets activated, our bodies actually store more fat because the female’s main concern is to be able to reproduce.
You read that right, we primarily exist to make babies (insert rolley-eye emoji NOW). Our bodies still didn’t hear about #FutureIsFemale and all of that, soooo until that changes, they will perform the same…which means that whenever we find ourselves in a ‘dangerous or threatening’ situation, our body goes to survival mode and we’re screwed.
So, think about that the next time you grab that Snickers bar. Just enjoy it!
And lastly, as with everything in life, BALANCE IS KEY. Sometimes, we can say no and choose grilled salmon and veggies, and sometimes, when our cravings hit, it is totally fine to indulge & enjoy every…single…bite :)