I know I've neglected to post blogs for the last month, but I've been really busy!
I just finished an awesome 290 page book that includes over 125 superfood, fat burning, delicious recipes with full color mouth-watering luscious photos.
You are going to love this book! So please look for here any day!! I can't wait to let you get your hands on this book.
Meanwhile, here is a way to enjoy all those great yummy holiday treats and not feel guilty about eating them. Happy Holidays!
Feeling deprived this Christmas, trying to avoid all those sweet, yummy holiday treats?
Or have you said, "the heck with it, I'm going to enjoy the holidays and deal with it later!" Only to find that come the new year, you have about 8-10 unwanted pounds that have crept on your body, while you were busy eating and drinking and enjoying yourself.
Well guess what? There is a way to enjoy some of those special treats of the season, not feel deprived, and still burn fat.
You can actually incorporate 'cheat days' into your diet plan and not get totally off track.
In fact, cheat days may help you lose weight. Cheat days can actually reset your body's metabolism, and actually kick start your body's fat burning ability. And you get to eat some of those ‘taboo’ foods without totally derailing your healthy diet.
There are actually real physiological and hormonal benefits to cheating.
And of course, you can take a break from the somewhat strict confines of your diet and eat what you may be missing without feeling guilty.
How does this work, you ask?
Well it has a lot to do with a recently discovered hormone called, Leptin.
Leptin, is synthesized mostly in your fat cells, along with some coming from your muscles and brain. The amount of leptin you make is controlled by both the quantity and the size of your fat cells. When you eat, and your brain signals that you are full, your leptin levels rise. That tells your body it is ok to go into full gear and rev up the metabolism.
Everything is fine and dandy, right?
Until you are trying to lose weight and cut back on your eating, especially if you cut out carbs…
When leptin levels start to fall, as they do when you’re on a diet and losing fat, they send a signal to your brain to eat more. And unfortunately leptin levels can fall by about 50-60% in just 6-8 days of dieting.
When those leptin levels are low, your primitive brain thinks there must be a famine, and your metabolism slows down. This is where many dieters stall. Weight loss slows, and appetite and cravings go up.
Soon, you may be devouring everything in sight, especially carbs and sugar and anything else, to satisfy this monster.
So how do you fight this?
Enter ‘Cheat Days’.
The goal here, is to periodically increase your leptin levels and avoid those intense cravings, and the slowed-to-a-crawl metabolism.
What do you eat on cheat days? Well, basically those things you’ve been craving, but have previously been off-limits.
Ok, but that means it’s ok to eat a FEW cookies, not the whole plate of beautifully decorated and iced Santa Claus cookies. Savor that baguette or croissant, but don’t eat a dozen. Allow yourself that doughnut you’ve been longing for, but try to avoid eating 10 of them.
The best foods that work for a cheat day are actually carbs, and some suggest that simple carbs (as in doughnuts, bread, pasta, cookies, etc.) are actually the ones that raise leptin levels the best.
In theory a cheat day will:
Increase your thyroid hormone output. The thyroid is the hormone that governs your metabolism. Which in turn, increases your 24 hr calorie output-by about 10% or more. All of this means, then you start burning fat better again.
The big thing about cheat days is that they are a DAY. Not a week, not a month.
And the best way to get the most out of a cheat day is to eat a very low carbohydrate diet the day following your cheat day. Some recommend fasting, but I think this is a bit extreme.
So here we are at the Holiday season, and wow, yes it seems like there is a party every weekend. So choose your party, line up your cheat day and enjoy those hors d’oveures and those frosted Santa cookies, along with a slice of pecan pie.
And keep burning that fat.
Enjoy the holidays and stay healthy and lean!
Catherine (Cat) Ebeling RN BSN, is a back to basics diet and nutrition specialist. In addition to her advanced degree in nursing from a major medical school, she has spent the last 30 years intensely studying diet, health and nutrition. She also has a book titled "The Fat Burning Kitchen, Your 24 Hour Diet Transformation" that has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide, and has helped thousands of people transform their lives, lose weight and improve their health.
Her mission is to help others prevent disease and live their best life ever.
Nutrition made Easy. Simple.Smart.Nutrition.
9 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Holiday Treats and NOT Feel Guilty, or Gain Weight”
Hi Cat. You mentioned that "the best way to get the most out of a cheat day is to eat a very low carbohydrate diet the day following your cheat day". I have to check with you whether this is correct? I believe the very low carbohydrate diet day should be the day prior to the cheat day. This is to reduce the body's glycogen storage so that any excess calories from the cheat day would not 'spill over' as fat. I hope you can clarify and explain. Thanks a lot.
P.S I love The Fat-Burning Kitchen. Looking forward to the release of your next book. Please keep us informed.
Woo hoo! I love it! Now to make sure I stick to just a 'day'! And, just one donut (and not the whole packet). 🙂
Thanks for sharing your insights!
Love that you give us the rationale behind your advice, Cat. And this particular tip wipes out the feeling of being totally deprived — or having people uncomfortable because you're not participating — during the holidays. Bravo! (And I can't wait to see your new book available here on your site!)
Love the psychology behind cheat days!!! Thanks!
Finally, an explanation of how to diet that makes sense!! Thank you. Nice to know that a treat every once in a while is good for the soul AND the waistline 🙂
Nice article Cat, I've never come across leptin before so that was very useful to know. Cheat days sound like a nice treat for people who are on a journey of healthy eating.
Excellent article Cat…Smart & Simple! …Thanks, Hughie 🙂
Wow, I didn't realize the scientific explanation but years ago, when I was raising my kids, I noticed that eating chocolate chip cookies every other week or so seemed to help me maintain my ideal weight. It was a cool discovery and although it doesn't work quite as well now that I'm into my 50's I still believe it helps to 'cheat' once in awhile. It's wonderful to learn the scientific data to support this wonderful little discovery! Thanks, Cat!