Originally Posted by El Puma
For me, it is akin to taking it easy or taking a day off from training. The following goes into much better detail as to why everyone should incorporate a cheat day.
So many people hit plateaus. The fat will not go anywhere, and your measurements and scale weight at the same. My longest plateau was 7 weeks long. Depressing yes, but in my quest for the truth about fat loss, I discovered something..... Cheating once or twice a week, actually helped with moving beyond that plateau.
A fluke? Wishful thinking? Nope... it is actually based in medical science. It has to do with Neuroendocrinology. Seriously!
We talk about insulin, we talk about testosterone, we talk about estrogen, but have we every talked about LEPTIN?
Leptin? What the, who the huh?
Yup Leptin, a hormone. There not just for *** anymore.
Named after leptos, the Greek term for "thin," leptin is a hormone released by your fat cells. Although it has a number of functions, one of leptin's main roles is to let your brain know how fat you are. It actually controls your metabolism. Yes I am serious. Leptin is produced by fat tissue and is secreted into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain and other tissues. Leptin causes fat loss and decreased appetite. It also plays a very important role in calorie intake and calorie burning. Hmmm, that sounds pretty important to all this hubbub we are all going through doesn't it?
The bottomline is that by mastering Leptin hormone in your body you will be mastering your body weight. Why?
Leptin causes you to burn stored fat; most fad diets, or unrealistic dieting robs the body of both fat and muscle. When you diet, your body compensates for reduced calorie and fat intake by lowering your energy and metabolism. Leptin can actually enhance your energy and metabolism. What does this mean, well what it means is best diet and exercise plan in the world will not work unless the Leptin levels are correct. Something Nutrisystem does not share with it's customers I assure you.
Leptin levels are related to a number of things, including insulin, your caloric intake, and your current level of bodyfat. Think of it as one of the big ?fat-loss decision makers.? Generally speaking, the leaner you are, the lower your baseline levels of leptin are. Under normal conditions, though, leptin is plentiful. However, while your calorie intake is at sub-maintenance levels, and particularly if you're on a low-carb diet, which lowers your levels of circulating insulin, leptin levels drop.
Decreased leptin levels cause a number of other regulatory changes ? namely, decreased thyroid output and metabolic rate and increased catabolic hormone activity and appetite. In an attempt to become more efficient, your body will try to slow down to make that lowered caloric intake its new maintenance intake. That is, it'll try to do the same amount of work with less energy. And unfortunately, this usually means having to continuously lower calories to maintain your progress, which inevitably makes it very hard to hold on to all your hard-earned muscle. None of this sounds too good to me. However, periodic days of high calorie and carbohydrate intake may help with this.
Remember our bodies want to adapt. That is a good thing and a not-so-good thing when trying to lose body fat. So how do we increase levels of leptin enough to kick start the fat loss again. (exercise is still required here people)
Researchers have identified a system that 'senses' nutrient flux (flux = what's going in versus what's going out) through both fat and muscle cells. This affects a lot of process. When dieting, more calories are leaving the fat cell than are going in (negative flux). This nutrient sensing system 'senses' this and affects many processes, one of which is leptin production (decreasing leptin production). So leptin drops. When overfeeding, more calories are entering the fat cells than are leaving (positive flux). The system 'senses' this and affects many processes, one of which is leptin production (increasing leptin production). So leptin increases. Hence the need for cyclical dieting: when dieting, leptin drops and your body fights back.
What is cyclical dieting... well to make a long story short. A cheat day. Now I do not mean go nuts with the KFC, I mean, eat more carbs, protein and fat, don't worry. Meaning try 4 days of dieting per week. Meaning consume 500 -800 Calories less than your Maintainance Level, and then have 2 days at the maintainance level, and one day with maybe an extra 500 calories above your maintainance level. Keep working out, drink plenty of water... try this for a couple of weeks, and see if this works, remember change it up each day. mix it up.
Your plateau will start to vanish. It did for me.
Eat people.... it is what gives us the energy to live.