Today Im talking about cheat days. After dedicating myself (most of the time to a 90-day body transformation plan — see my results here) to 3 month’s worth of solid healthy eating, I decided to allow myself the most epic cheat day of all time. Im talking UBER BINGE. Im pretty sure I earned it and it was not a half-hearted affair. I managed to consume over 12,000 calories in one day. Not the type of 12K I would have been doing two months ago…
Below youll find a list of everything that passed my lips that day and above, video evidence of just how I managed to fit 7 days worth of calories in my belly (hint: I basically didnt stop eating). Then I hope youll read my excuse. There is scientific evidence to suggest that cheat days might actually be good for you and that they might actually help you LOSE weight. But first_
The Most Epic Cheat Day Of All Time
In a single day, I attempted to eat all the things Id Émissed while I was on the plan (although I cant say I miss them that much_). This is what 12,000 calories looks like:
*BREAKFAST Ð 8AM*
- 5 x blueberry pancakes with crÕme fraiche, maple syrup and BACON from Brew
- 1 x Naked blueberry smoothie
- 1 x mixed berry smoothie
- 1 x Whittards flaked hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream
- 2 x Bonne Maman chocolate galettes
- 1 x Bonne Maman chocolate madeleine
- 1 x Walkers shortbread biscuit
- 2 x Five Guys double bacon cheeseburgers & large fries
- 3 x Five Guys sodas
- 1 x GBK Taxi Driver burger
- 1 x GBK sweet potato fries
- 1 x GBK chocolate and peanut butter milkshake
- 1 x Brewdog Punk IPA
- 1 x Brewdog Vagabond
- 1 x Five Points IPA
- 1 x Crabbies Ginger Beer Citrus Fruits Flavour
- 1 x medium Pork Farms pork pie
- 1 x bowl of ÉNacho Lasagne (Doritos, cheese, salsa)
- Half a bag of Haribo Starmix
- 1 x squirt of squirty cream
- 1 x bowl of Tyrells crisps
- McDonalds Quarterpounder (dirty little starter)
- 2 x cocktails
- Half a bottle of red wine
- 400g steak at Gaucho to celebrate (with thick cut chips and creamy veg)
- 2 x deep fried Oreos at Hotbox (you HAVE to try these!)
- More cocktails and a shot
- Dram of The Arran Malt 14 yo whisky
- Half a pint of Ben & Jerrys new blueberry cheesecake frozen yoghurt (YUM)
And the video evidence can be seen above.
After having consumed an ENTIRE WEEKs worth of calories in 24 hours, surprise surprise: I felt dreadful. This was exacerbated by the fact that Id switched from the healthiest diet Ive ever been on to_the unhealthiest Ive ever been, overnight. The next morning I was knackered, out of breath and my trousers were tight. I must have put on about a kilo. It was the foodover from hell, complete with meat sweats and predictable remorse: Im never eating a gram of junk food in my life again.
So, gluttony aside, why did I put myself through this? As I mentioned, there is evidence to suggest that cheat days or cheat meals can have a positive impact on your fitness. As long as you dont take a cheat day to the extreme I clearly took it_ Heres the theory.
Cheat Days Are A Wake-up Call For Your Metabolism
When you decrease the number of calories you eat, as I did on this plan, your body notices. Your caveman brain wonders if your food supply is threatened and adapts to the shortfall by burning fewer calories. Your metabolism slows down, your progress on the weighing scales plateaus and you bash your head against a brick wall. Which doesnt help, either. Its one of the reasons everyone finds it hard and demotivating sticking to diets.
How your body does this a matter of complicated body chemistry (and some debate) but a simplistic way of thinking about it is hormonal sleight of hand. When you eat fewer calories than your body is used to, levels of the hormones that affect your appetite and metabolism Ð chemicals like leptin and ghrelin Ð change. Here’s a good article that explains the science and a study that backs it all up.The upshot is that you burn fewer calories and always crave a bag of Monster Munch after lunch.
By having the odd cheat day where you splurge out on calories you can manipulate those same hormones and trick your body into thinking everything is tickety-boo. It can help reverse any negative effects on metabolism, hunger and energy expenditure resulting from long-term low-carb dieting. Like I said, its a lot more complicated that this but Im not a biologist Ð Im just someone who wants to maintain a healthy weight while still ordering a burger with all the trimmings every now and again.
So it turns out cheat days can have a positive impact on your diet. That said, be careful not to a) overdo it Ð the above video is NOT the way to go (!!) Ð and b) do it all the time. A cheat day or a cheat meal should be a once a week occurrence, or even fewer, and not part of your daily regime. Otherwise you may as well give up your diet completely.
As for me, Im dropping back into cycle one of the 90daysssplan I completed last month almost immediately so Im not too worried about the extra wobbly bits Ive gained (there are plenty Ð in just one night, can you believe it? Actually, after 12,000 cals I can). Ill post up an article showing my progress beyond the 90daysssplan in a few months Ð only then will I know if Im truly a changed man. And whilst I might have temporarily added some extra podge for now, at least Ive achieved one thing; that was DEFINITELY the most EPIC cheat day of my life.
Video shot entirely on a GoPro HERO4. And a selfie stick.