A diet with burgers and pizza, oh my!

Since the weekend is coming to an end I thought I might discuss the importance of the infamous “cheat meal”. Other people prefer to less negative terms, such as a treat meal, or a refuel refuel. Whatever you prefer call it we’ve all seen the Internet memes, and anyone with experience with dieting or a meal plan has spent countless nights dreaming of that glorious meal. Some people need it for the mental reprise, others prefer look at it in terms of physical need. When counselling clients with regard to nutrition and weight loss I always encourage 1 cheat meal. Not only does it help you keep some semblance of a social life, but it actually has a huge benefit to a body in a calorie deficit. Why’s is that? leptin. leptin is the “satiety hormone”, made by fat cells that helps to regulate energy by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Both hormones act to regulate appetite in order to achieve adequate energy levels within the body. In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores. Therefore we always feel ravenously hungry. When you’re in a caloric deficit your leptin levels start to decrease, so you feel less and less hungry over time, but it also makes it harder to burn calories to achieve that energy balance, so a deliciously greasy, fatty, sugary cheat meal give your body a huge spike in leptin levels, resulting in a kickstart to your metabolism “yayyyy, you’re not starving”, ramping your body’s ability to continue to burn fat. So don’t feel guilty about that weekend burger, orFriday night pizza. The only catch is when dieting you still want to be on a calorie deficit for the week, so a cheat meal should follow simple perimeters, like no more than you can eat in a sitting, which for me is a lot, but you don’t want to blow your calories for the whole week. Cheat, but don’t cheat yourself 😉

Your fitbetch
JP xo

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