Cheat days are essential, they are what keep us on track for 6 of the 7 days a week and enable us to get the most out of our diets. They also have added fat-loss benefits such as increased thyroid enzyme production.
Is there a way, however, to minimize the surge of crap foods? If you are like me you go ALL OUT on cheat days, gobbling up all the foods we left since following the Paleo diet, but you most likely feel like crap! The below steps will not only lower the "crap" feeling we get but will also dramatically lower the harm of the foods we eat so you can go all out and not feel guilty!
- Make your first meal of the day Paleo
This is majorly due to the protein consumption. By eating protein as your first meal it will limit your hunger and prevent you from going all out when it comes to the crap foods. It will also start your day right, and will feel great rather than eating sugar or high carbs right from the get-go.
- Use Cinnamon
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce the glycemic load of a meal by up to 20%. This is HUGE. This is like eating a cupcake and your body responding as if it were a couple apples (maybe not that extreme but you get the idea!). This is a great way to reduce insulin overload and reduce the rising of your sugar levels. 2 Tablespoons should be sufficient. You can add it to anything you would like; I add it to my coffee (tastes awesome).
- Exercise for 3 minutes pre-meal
I do not mean a full blown WOD (workout of the day) before the meal, just a simple exercise. I got this idea (and the above) from Timothy Ferriss via the Four Hour Body. By exercising pre-meal you open up the cells lining your muscles, which will intake the incoming glucose from your meals, rather than ending up being stored as fat. To get this response just do 30 air squats, 30 pushups and 30 sit-ups directly before a meal.
- Try not to drink your calories
This is completely optional as I know there are some awesome shakes you want to have on a cheat day. If you can however, avoid liquid meals. This is because you will consume large amounts of calories and will remain hungry, only to eat more crap later on. If you can stick to all solid foods you will more than likely cut down on the overall amounts you digest.
- Go to sleep on a Paleo meal
If you do not want to wake up with what I call the "Paleo hangover" be sure to make your last meal (even if it's literally right before bed) a Paleo meal. This will give your body what it needs while you sleep to repair, digest and get things back in order. It will make you feel a lot better waking up!
There you have it! Enjoy eating all that crap food we let go of so long ago! By following these steps you can minimize (and even LOSE weight) on your cheat days, instead of waking up like you were coming out of an exorcism!