We all know healthy eating and exercise are the two pillars of weight loss, but sticking to a strict diet all the time can be tough.
That’s why the “cheat meal” has risen in popularity, with many fitness fanatics recommending you ditch the salad and tuck into a cake instead.
The idea is that a naughty treat will keep you motivated by giving yourself a little of what you fancy, without massively veering off course.
But new research has revealed that Brits are sabotaging their gym goals with too many calorific treats.
Avacodo – includes monosaturated fatty acids that are more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat
According to a survey of 2,000 people by Benenden, a whopping 65% of us exercise on a weekly basis with most of us opting to work up a sweat between one and three times per week.
But slimmers are unconsciously undoing their hard work with weekly cheat meals and high-calorie snacks.
The shocking findings show that on average 44% of dieters actually treat themselves to as many as three fast food takeaways a week.
Furthermore, 58% of those surveyed confessed to eating up to three chocolate bars a week – sabotaging their weight loss efforts and counteracting the calories burned from exercise.
Chew gum – A super-easy way to burn some extra calories is popping a few pieces of gum now and then. The act of chewing keeps your jaw muscles moving, and—not only will you be burning calories—you’ll stop yourself from consuming more calories.
Researchers found that respondents burn 1,334 calories a week from exercising on average, but unwittingly consume 4,304 calories from treats, resulting in 2,971 excess calories.
So if you want to make sure your reach your fitness goals, steer clear of those cheeky treats and not-so-healthy snacks.
“It’s clear to see that we cannot out-exercise a bad diet”
Jane Abbott, clinical director from Benenden
Jane Abbott, clinical director from Benenden, said: “Although exercise is associated with many health benefits and not just weight loss, it is important to make further lifestyle changes if weight loss is your goal.
“Combining both exercise and healthy eating together is a more effective way to lose weight and stay trim.
“It’s clear to see that we cannot out-exercise a bad diet and although treats should be incorporated into our diet, it is vital that consumption is monitored to ensure a steady weight loss and a healthy balance.”
Meanwhile further research revealed that eating during the day, but not during the evening, is the key to losing weight.
Scientists warned that midnight snacking makes you pile on the pounds.
In fact people who have a meal at night don’t actually lose weight – even when they are on a diet.
At night time we are much less active so don’t burn off as many calories because the body’s metabolism is regulated by a person’s biological, or circadian, clock.