For those who follow a carb-restricted diet (low-carb, cyclical ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, etc.), introducing a cheat day is not only a way to bring sanity into your meal plans – it is almost a requirement of sorts from a metabolic perspective to ensure that the progress with fat loss does not slow down.
It is a bit hard for some people to understand how they can eat whatever they want and still get leaner – so let’s look into how and why it works.
What is a cheat day?
What exactly is a “cheat day”? Popularized by The 4 Hour Body book, it’s essentially cyclical strategic refeeding. You pick a day in a week (during which you would otherwise follow a restricted diet) where you allow yourself to consume copious amounts of absolutely anything you want, to your heart’s content.
Most people can’t t even imagine being on a grain free diet. Any time you find yourself at a bakery, surrounded by beautifully-displayed paper bags of freshly-baked bread, the temptation to buy one is just too strong to resist – especially if you are even a little bit hungry. Perfectly-looking brown crust that produces unmistakable crunching sound when you squeeze it and that seductive pastry aroma filling up the whole bakery are enough to make most people succumb to the temptation.
It appears that the love for grains is hardwired in our brains. Baked, toasted, fried, or grilled – grain and specifically wheat products fall into the category of what most people call “hearty” foods – foods that fill you up and give you a lot of satisfaction. Those are universally acceptable throughout the world, those are the foods that you never get tired of and that could easily be (and, for many people – are) a daily staple.
In fact, In many cultures and languages, “bread” is synonymous with “food” (think of all the phrases you’ve heard – “the daily bread”, “breadwinner”, “the bread and butter” of something, the job that “puts bread on the table”, etc.) – and that’s understandable. Grains, flour and bread – the different stages of the same product – have historically been cheap enough to fill people’s bellies and versatile enough to be used in hundreds of different dishes, giving the illusion of variety.
Today, once again, we are going to talk about strength training. For women the benefit of lifting weights for weight loss don’t seem to be apparent. After all, many generations of females have been conditioned to resort to aerobic exercise any time they had a goal of trimming off body fat. Strength training for women isn’t really a mainstream approach, because lifting weights has traditionally been perceived as a masculine activity and reserved for men.
But if you are a woman and consciously avoid free weights – you are missing out on a LOT of benefits. Burning body fat is just one of them. This is the best kept secret of the fitness industry that we are going to explore.
Let’s establish something before we start our discussion – and bear with me for a moment even it violates everything that you’ve heard so far – dietary cholesterol (and cholesterol in general) is NOT bad for you.
Shocking, right? Isn’t dietary cholesterol responsible for cardio-vascular problems? Isn’t excess dietary cholesterol a major cause of death from heart attacks and strokes? Aren’t we supposed to stay away from fat, read meat, avoid cholesterol in eggs and other dangerous foods that make us obese and clog our arteries?
You would be surprised, but the answer to all of those is – NO.
For many decades, dietary cholesterol has been blamed for something it was not responsible for and this image is so deeply ingrained in most people’s brains that it is extremely hard to wipe out. But now even USDA and US Department of Health and Human Services may be ready to scrap the guidelines of avoiding high-cholesterol foods.