Following the Paleo Diet, or any diet plan, isn’t easy, so it is important to know how “cheating” can affect your body and weight loss goals.
One concept that you may have read and wondered about before is the so-called “cheat meal.” Are cheat meals part of a Paleo Diet approach? Or, should you forgo them entirely?
The truth is that cheat meals actually provide some benefits to the body that can assist with the weight loss process. So in a way, they should not only be allowed but even encouraged.
Let’s look a bit deeper into the basis for adding cheat meals to a diet plan and some guidelines to make them work for you.
Your Metabolic Rate
The very first reason why cheat meals can be beneficial is because they can help to boost a slowed metabolic rate. Any time you are taking in fewer calories than normal, your metabolic rate will slow down, causing you to burn fewer and fewer calories each day. This can make it harder to see ongoing fat loss results.
A cheat meal however, since it will typically be higher in calories, will help to boost your metabolic rate up higher again, bringing about faster results.
The thing to keep in mind that is that you don’t have to eat junk food or non-Paleo foods to have this effect. Instead, you can simply eat a very high calorie meal, sticking to the same healthy foods that you normally eat. This will be a far healthier and wiser strategy.
Your Psychological State
Another reason why some people add cheat meals to their diet approach to help keep themselves mentally sane. If you have trouble cutting out some of the non-Paleo foods that you enjoy, eventually it can start to wear on you.
The cheat meal provides temporary relief as you can add forbidden foods back in again. But here’s where you’ll have to make a decision. Although it is healthier to avoid the junk food and just eat more Paleo-friendly foods, if you feel you may fall off the plan entirely without that bowl of ice cream, then go ahead and have it. As long as it’s on an occasional basis, it won’t cause too much harm.
One other reason why cheat meals can be effective as you go about your plan is because they can help to restore muscle glycogen levels. If you’ve become depleted due to high intensity exercise, this can cause feelings of fatigue to set in.
A good cheat meal that is rich in fruits will help to restore muscle glycogen so that you can complete your workouts. Keep in mind that fat won’t restore muscle glycogen, so you’ll want to keep fat down lower during this cheat meal.
So there you have a few quick points to remember about cheat meals. Do them right and you can see good results from having them into the plan; do them wrong and they’ll do more harm than good.
Since you’re here …
… we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading CAVEMENWORLD than ever, but few are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike some othe organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our articles open to all. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. CAVEMENWORLD’s independent, investigative journalism and graphics take a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.