No, that entire pizza isn't doing you any good.
What's not to love about a cheat day? A day where you can ditch your diet and eat all those chocolate chip cookies you've spent the week dreaming about, and boost your metabolism while you're at it, right?
Well, no, not quite, according to our nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D., creator of The Metashred Diet, the most effective fat loss plan in Men's Health history.
"Cheat days can totally block any weight loss progress," he says. "If you eat at a 500-calorie deficit every day, that will be a 3,000-calorie deficit over the course of six days. Then, you decide to have your cheat day with three slices of pizza, six chicken wings, and three beers. You can easily eat an extra 3,000 calories."
And cheat days don't only mess with your metabolism. They mess with your head, too.
"They're harmful if you're someone who has a history of over-restricting and then 'blowing your diet' to eat a ton of calories," Roussell says. "This makes a cheat day sound very negative, and sort of perpetuates the cycle, which is a very unhealthy one."
Roussell still advocates for have a couple of "discretionary meals," where he recommends enjoying a few of your favorite foods—quality over quantity, like two slices of pizza as opposed to the entire pie. Your discretionary meals should also be relative to your body fat percentage, Roussell says. "The more body fat you are trying to lose, the more limited your splurging should be. On the other hand, if you're already really lean, then you can probably get away with phoning it in for a full day each week."
If cheat days don't boost your metabolism, then what does? "Exercise," he says.
"Lifting, specifically, will have the biggest impact on increasing your metabolism," he says. "Being sedentary in general has negative impacts on the amount of calories we burn each day, as well as the type of calories that our body will burn." Other things you can do to naturally to boost your metabolism include getting enough sleep and trying to maintain low levels of stress.
To get a complete 28-day rapid weight loss meal plan–one guy lost 22 pounds in a month!–check out The Metashred Diet.
Link: Health Tips: Here is why cheat days won't boost your metabolism