Usually, the more aggressive your diet and the lower your body fat, the more these food dreams seem to pop up. Your body's main responsibility is survival, so when it's not receiving the nutrients it needs, it will do everything in its power to fix that. Your body is reacting to your dieting by "upregulating" or increasing the amount of leptin in your system. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells to help your body monitor both new and stored calories. When you're not consuming enough calories, leptin signals your body to consume more. This signaling helps increase your appetite and boost your metabolic rate
To realize maximum results, you'll want to do a refeed rather than a cheat day. Some people may think these are the same thing, but they're not:
Cheat day: This is a day of relaxed eating designed to help you deal with the psychological feelings of deprivation that can arise when dieting. You typically don't count your calories on cheat days, and you eat pretty much anything and everything.
Refeed day: This day is for deliberately overeating a specific macronutrient ‘carbohydrates’. The immediate effect is to reduce the leptin that's sending signals telling your body to consume more calories in the days ahead. Eating a lot of carbs literally "refeeds" your body with energy and muscle glycogen as you resume your diet
To keep your body functioning efficient as you diet, on refeed day you should:
- Maintain your normal protein intake
- Double or even triple your normal carb intake
- Reduce your normal fat intake, unless you are already using a low-fat approach, in which case, maintain your level of fat intake