Sunday Fun-day

March 6, 2012

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With spring break only a few
weeks away, I have seen the gym with a constant influx of students, faculty,
and staff in determination to get their beach body ready. However, there is one
catch. I tend to see these die-hard, rock hard ab go-getters at the Hamel
Recreation Center on Mondays through Saturdays. So where are they on Sunday,
you may ask? Well one popular answer put forth by ”Greatist”, a
website linked to by the Huffington Post, is that these exercise gurus are on
the coach cheating. By cheating, I mean the often belief that since I worked
out for six days straight and stuck to my nutrition regiment, I deserve to eat
whatever I want for a whole day. I know I’ve sure used this excuse but in
reality, is it physically and emotionally healthy for us? Unfortunately while
Kelly Fitzpatrick does not suggest a total free for all with our eating habits,
she does put forth some great alternatives to reward our hard work without
completely ruining our diet.

One of the pro-cheating claims is that cheat days
boost metabolism by upping
leptin production and in turn, help
the body burn more calories after overeating. Leptin is a hormone responsible
for maintaining our energy balance and causing weight loss and while some scientific based evidence does support
the prior statement, this technique only increases the metabolism by three to
ten percent for twenty-four hours. Now, you don’t need to be a math expert to
calculate exactly how many calories you would be burning because 3-10% in such
a small percentage that it won’t help burn the hundreds to even thousands of
extra calories you are consuming. One study found overeating on a high protein
diet and high carbohydrates increased resting metabolism; the amount of
calories you burn at rest. While eating foods loaded with fat like ice cream
and pizza, did not have the same effect. The main takeaway from the diet end of
a cheat day is this: To help the body’s metabolism stay at a stable rate and
burn calories efficiently, trying a high-carb, high-protein, low-fat, and
alcohol free diet will keep you on top of your diet routine.

addition to the physical effects, there are also physiological ones that come
along with cheat days. Psychologists
and nutritionists often believe allowing a cheat meal or cheat day to satisfy a
craving allows people to stick to otherwise restrictive diets. Diet experts
such as Mark Sisson claims, “The
key, according to Mark, is getting past the guilt of assigning “good” and “bad”
tags to various foods. Rather than turning a minor slip-up into a major
back-slide, he says cheaters should simply accept what they ate, and continue with
their diet as planned.” I think this is some of the most sound advice and if
you want to take a day to splurge on a specific craving rather than binge
eating, then that is a-okay!

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