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4 Reasons Why Cheat Meals Actually Help You Lose Weight

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Yes, you read that right! A few cookies and that cheeseburger you’ve been craving can fit perfectly into a healthy lifestyle and help you lose weight!

Dieting can be a never-ending shame spiral. Some days, the perfect portion sizes of roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and salads suit your tummy just fine. Other days, the overwhelming need to eat an entire pizza is almost too much to handle. And when you do indulge, you almost always experience a major guilt hangover and expect the number on the scale to have jumped up at least a few pounds. It turns out; you've got it all wrong. According to this study, the production of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone, can be boosted by almost 30% for up to 24 hours after indulging in a carbohydrate-rich meal.

A free meal that allows you to indulge in whatever your heart (and taste buds) desire may seem too good to be true, but cheat meals are essential for a healthy diet. Here's how:
 

1. Psychological relief that pizza is coming after days of grilled chicken and veggies! 


 
Even the most dedicated fitness junkie can’t keep her sanity with eating just enough egg whites and broccoli to sustain muscle and stay lean! Food is a beautiful thing that is social, emotional, and enjoyable in life. While losing weight does come with sacrifices, it’s much easier to stay on track knowing you’re able to enjoy your favorite foods. You can’t possibly expect yourself to never indulge or grab a bite at your favorite restaurant. Usually, it ends up in cravings so intense that you cave and eat everything in sight! Enjoy yourself, and allow flexibility in your diet.
 

2. Cheat meals increase leptin levels, a hormone that keeps your metabolism moving! 

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat tissue that helps regulate your hunger. According to health journalist Grant Stoddard’s article, a calorie deficit can lead leptin levels to drop, which tells your body to slow down your metabolism in order to conserve. If you’re trying to lose weight, you definitely don’t want this! Your cheat meals are essential to re-energize and rev up your metabolism, so it keeps on burning. In that case, order me a large pizza pie next cheat day!
 

3. Cheat meals can assist in muscle growth after strenuous workouts! 

If you’ve ever tried any of the PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT leg workouts, you know what strenuous exercise feels like! Imagine how much fuel your body uses and how much you break down those muscles during leg day. If your goal is to grow a specific muscle group, try scheduling your “cheat” meal after that particular weight lifting session. Generally, cheat meal foods have simple carbs, which are carbs that quickly break down and supply the muscles with energy. This can lend you to less soreness and faster recovery! While simple carbohydrates are generally not as vitamin-rich, they can sure be used for good if you do it right!
 

4. Cheat meals keep you happy. 


 
A healthy lifestyle is not actually a healthy lifestyle if you always stay in on weekends because you don’t want to eat junk food with your friends. There’s a need for balance in any diet, and enjoying your favorite foods is a beautiful part of life that you don’t want to miss out on. It’s totally okay to want some ice cream sometimes! Keep yourself happy by finding a happy balance between food, workouts, and fun!
 
Have a favorite cheat meal? Comment below!  

SWEAT REPORTER | Paytra is a musician and writer out of New York City. She moved from a small town in Michigan at age 16 to pursue her dreams, and has been making her mark in the Big Apple ever since! She is a Business Management major and double-certified personal trainer with 6 years experience, so she loves to write about all things nutrition/fitness. You can find her in the studio, at the gym, writing in her journal, or playing piano: and if all else fails, she’s hitting up her favorite coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan! site: PaytraMusic.com