What is the science behind so called CHEAT meals? Why could your mind and body benefit from it.
I want to start off this blog post with a very simple reflection. Cheat meals are for cheaters and treat meals are for those who earn them.
What do I mean by this?
How you perceive the world or things around you, has an impact on your mind and body. So, with that being said, the way you look at food will either cause guilt or it will feel like a reward. Let’s keep in mind that psychology is a big factor as to why people hold themselves back from reaching their goals.
SO why do I like to call it a treat meal? Because I have EARNED it, I know my body and mind will benefit from it…. whatever the choice may be.
Now let's get a little bit nerdy and sciencey. A cheat meal aka as “free meal” or “treat meal”, is a tool used by many after following a very regimented deficit protocol, where calories remain low for a period of time in order to achieve an optimized body composition.
For many athletes, an optimized body composition is achieved by weight reduction in order to improve strength-to-mass ratio, physical performance and aesthetics. However, this comes with a price of favouring energy restriction, aka a caloric deficit.
A calorie deficit is defined as a decrease in the amount of calories in (consumed) relative to the amount of calories needed to support calorie expenditure.
Therefore, a prolonged calorie restriction can lead to not only decreased muscle growth, but also nutritional deficiencies. As a result, this can lead to the reduction of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate hunger and metabolism.
So what are the consequences of low leptin levels? In a nutshell, low leptin = slow metabolism, which can actually REDUCE your rate of fat loss.
Here is where TREAT MEALS come into play to avoid slow metabolism!
Treat meals usually include high amount of complex carbohydrates, which can increase leptin levels and boost your metabolism to promote fat loss.
To make the most out of a treat meal, aim for foods high in quality proteins since the will make you full faster. Therefore, decrease chances of “binge eating” or “ overeating”. Also, focus on having quality complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, buns/breads, pasta.
To ensure that your body is absorbing and benefiting from your high carbohydrate meal, opposed to just storing it as fat, you can use a glucose disposal agent - GLYCO-HD.
GLYCO-HD is formulated to aid with glucose uptake and regulating insulin levels. Thus, optimizing blood sugar levels, digestion and overall absorption of nutrients for ENERGY and MUSCLE GROWTH.
What should you avoid?
Drinking your calories! DON’T DO IT! Not only is this the least beneficial to your body, but it can be detrimental causing bloating and inflammation that can actually add more stress to your digestion and overall mood.
Physically speaking, treat meals play a big role in your journey to improved body recomposition. However, treat meals also play a crucial PSYCHOLOGICAL role as well.
Psychologically, treat meals are meant to be incentives and rewards that keep you from feeling deprived and allow you to have more balance and a positive outlook about improved body recomposition. Focusing on the good, rather than the “burdens” or hard parts of dieting.
Here are some tips that will make your treat meals beneficial
- Eat until satisfied, not to the point of discomfort
- Eat what you planned and do not go for more
- Make sure to not “fast” all day to have a BIGGER treat meal
- Plan treat meals with people so the moment becomes the focus and not solely food
- Enjoy every bite and take it all in rather than just “inhaling” it
- Stick to a treat MEAL not a cheat DAY (yes that would be cheating yourself)
By: Maria Carvajal