Cheat Days: Good or Bad?

CHEAT DAYS —  where you eat whatever you  want AND burn more calories!? Well.. sort of, but I bet that got your attention ;)

How do cheat days work?

Many people believe incorporating a “cheat day” or “cheat meal” into their diet is a wise decision. Scientifically, when you are restricting calories your leptin levels will start to lower. Leptin is a hormone that is responsible for maintaining our energy balance. When you have a cheat day/meal you are temporarily raising your leptin levels and increase calorie and fat burn. It’s that quick leptin increase that’s responsible for increasing your metabolism!

Psychological affect:

One major reason I promote a cheat day is because of the psychological benefits. Even if science is wrong (which it is a lot of the time) I think cheat days are good for us mentally. When you are constantly thinking of all the foods you can’t have, that’s when you binge and overdo it. It’s important to develop a healthy relationship with food. Allowing yourself a day to eat the foods you have been craving all week helps build this positive relationship with food, and makes it easier to stick to a restrictive diet. It also is important to know how to control yourself when you are exposed to your guilty pleasures.

How to cheat properly (in my opinion):

The only time I view cheat days as bad is when people take in a ridiculous amount of calories.. like 5 or 6 thousand. You still don’t want to completely blow your diet and erase all that hard work from the week! This is why a cheat meal may be better than a whole day. If you are on a 1,200 calorie diet, aim for a 2,000-2,500 calorie cheat day. It’s important to set somewhat of a limit because those extra calories will still turn into extra pounds if you don’t cheat properly.

 

What’s your favorite “cheat meal” !?

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Medallions

Sweet Potato Medallions

 IMG_9880

So I may have an unhealthy obsession with sweet potato fries. I never intend to finish them all when I go out to eat, but its inevitable! Lucky for me, sweet potatoes are extremely healthy. I went from eating sweet potato fries, to making sweet potato wedges in olive oil, to now to these cute medallions using NO fat :)

Sweet potatoes:

Only 114 calories for 1 cup cubed or about a 5 inch potato

Less than 1 gram of fat ( About .1 gram of fat actually! )

TONS of vitamin A, Vitamin B-6,  Vitamin C and other nutrients

a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral

And are a good source of fiber

For this recipe go to my recipe page :)

To Nap or to Run?

RUNNING>NAPPING

IMG_9713

    So, this morning I had to wake up at 4:00 am.  Say what!? I am NOT a morning person. The only reason mornings are somewhat acceptable is because that means I get to have coffee.. I’m addicted. Anyways, waking up that early for a seven and a half hour work shift isn’t exactly how I wanted my Thursday to go.

IMG_0507

I had planned on taking a nap after work, but when I stepped outside I couldn’t resist taking advantage of this perfect running weather!  I am also very bad at napping.. it just sounded like something I should do. There is  a beautiful trail right by my apartment so I changed and headed over.

       IMG_0506         IMG_0508

 

Today my run was about enjoying being outside, rather than getting a “workout.” It’s important to have days like that. Running outside is therapeutic for me. Especially when it’s this perfect of a day.

IMG_0509

HIIT WORKOUT

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT Cardio Workout

What is it??

  • HIIT is a form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise.
  • HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.
  • HIIT trains and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems.

IMG_0436

I did this workout last night and it was no joke. I was dying once I got to the second running session, and my heart rate got wayy up there. Be sure to stretch for at least five minutes before AND after or you will regret it.

WORKOUT:

 25 Jump Squats

1 Minute High Knees

1 Minute Mountain Climbers

1 Minute Butt Kicks

20 Burpees

1 Minute Jumping Jacks

RUN 10 MINUTES

( REPEAT ALL 3 TIMES)

… and good luck :)

400 Calorie Chicken Burrito Bowl

400 Calorie Chicken Burrito Bowl

IMG_9512

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tyson Chicken Tenderloins (150 Calories)
1/3 Cup Brown Rice (109 Calories)
1/4 Cup Black Beans (55 Calories)
1/4 Cup Corn (41 Calories)
1 Wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese (35 Calories)
1 Cup Lettuce (7 Calories)

= 400 Calories

**Add Salsa to taste**

 INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook Tyson Chicken in a skillet, covered and on low heat. I like to cook mine in pam and salsa to give it some flavor. Sometimes I will also use Siracha. It takes about 10 mins to cook.
  2. Follow cooking instructions on box/bag for brown rice, beans, and corn. Begin cooking these ingredients while chicken is on the stove.
  3. Dice the chicken while rice is still cooking.
  4. Place lettuce in a bowl to use as your base.
  5. Top the lettuce with rice, beans, corn, and chicken.
  6. Add cheese last and blend it with other hot ingredients so it will melt and get a queso consistency.
  7. Add salsa/other sauces as preferred.

Spicy Egg Veggie Scramble

spicy vegetabel egg scramble

During the beginning of the summer I was nannying for a very organic family. One of the major perks of this was that they had a  garden out front I was free to use. I definitely took advantage of the fresh ingredients. One of my favorite creations was a Spicy Egg Veggie Scramble.

IMG_9611

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 5 Grape Tomatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Yellow Squash
  • 1/3 Cup Zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp Diced Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa

spicy veggie egg scramblespicy vegetable egg scramble

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Chop squash and zucchini, dice onion, and half the tomatoes.
  2. Spray skillet with pam and add salsa.
  3. Sauté vegetables in salsa for about ten minutes. ( Add more salsa as preferred )
  4. Remove vegetable mixture from skillet and scramble egg whites.
  5. Combine all ingredients.

I served my scramble on toast with a wedge of laughing cow cheese.

EGG SCRAMBLE NUTRITION BREAKDOWN:

70 Calories, 8 grams of Protein, and essentially no fat.

**When eaten with toast + cheese:

225 Calories, 14 grams of Protein, and less than 3 grams of Fat.

Monday Motivation

So I know Monday is just about everyones least favorite day of the week, BUT it’s also a fresh start in case you fell off track over the weekend. A nice little trick to a successful [ health ] week is to never miss a Monday. It sets the pace for the rest of your week!

This Monday I started off my day with a  breakfast sandwich, fruit, and a cup of coffee. But the coffee is a given.

                          breakfast sandwich       mixed fruit bowl

The breakfast sandwich had turkey, egg whites, cheese (light laughing cow), salsa and was on a 90 calorie wrap. All of that was only 210 calories, was packed with protein, and was low fat. It definitely kept me full for my work shift. After work I grabbed some lunch and headed to the gym.

polar watch workout

Today was legs day and I already know I’m gonna be sore tomorrow. I also did a good bit of cardio to start my week off strong.