Losing fat requires burning more energy than we consume.
The formula that is primarily used in weight loss calculations is that for every 3,500 calorie deficit one can expect to lose one pound of fat.
Let’s say the average person with an active lifestyle needs 2200 calories to maintain the same weight. That’s 15,400 calories a week. To lose one pound of fat a week, he or she needs to cut weekly calories to 11,900, or 1700 a day.
Now, here is the problem with the cheat day.
Let’s say this person goes 6 days consuming 1770 calories, and has a “cheat day” on Day 7. So, our health-savvy fitness lover has spent most of the week eating well below average calories, but, on cheat day, eats 3600. The resulting balance then for the week is 14,220.
So, instead of the 3,500 calorie deficit target there was only had a deficit of 1,180!
This process then equates to 1,180/3500 or .33 pound fat loss. This means instead of losing 1 pound a week, this person is more on target to lose one pound every 3 weeks. That one cheat day forced made the weight loss take three times times longer!
So what do we make of this?
No diet or fitness plan should be painstaking and frustrating. The goal is sustainability! The purpose of highlighting the danger of the cheat day here is not to deter one from living life. If we know we are going to have a cheat day there is a better way to go about this whole thing.
What to do instead?
Track your calories for 7 full days on a normal week of diet. If you consistently have one of these “bad” days, then build it into your plan. Make up that 2,320 calorie difference elsewhere over the course of your week. Maybe you add a class or two of intense work out and aim for a 600 calorie deficit a day instead of 500. The addition of two workouts and 100 calories less should allow for you then to have you cheat day guilt free!
Looking for a fun way to knock off some of those cheat day calories? Join us for Frigid Fit on Saturday, February 25 at Veteran's Park! Grab your tickets today.