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The Problem with Cheat Days

The Problem with Cheat Days
In This Article

As a registered dietitian, I shudder when I hear the term “cheat day.” Not because I’m thinking of people shoving donuts and cheeseburgers in their mouths left and right, but because it’s a term rooted in diet culture that firmly places food in “good” or “bad” camps.

Here’s why associating morality with our food choices can trigger unhealthy eating behaviors and how to ditch the cheat day and focus on more helpful, positive eating strategies.


Categorizing foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, sets us up for moral highs and lows that should never be associated with eating. Whenever I have a client who confesses to being “bad” or “cheating” on their diet, often associated with a feeling of guilt, one of the first things we work on is food neutrality. Putting all foods on a neutral playing field — that’s right, cookies and kale in the same category — can help free up a lot of the brain space used worrying about eating or not eating certain foods. It also helps take away the all-or-nothing thinking that often causes people to overeat or binge when having a meal or day deemed as “cheating.”


Overeating or bingeing on a cheat day or meal not only results in excess calorie intake, but is often followed by feelings of guilt and shame that typically lead to another period of rigid dietary restriction. A recent study looking at common factors in those engaging in cheat meals and those with eating disorders, such as binge eating, found precipitating factors of both behaviors to be consistent — psychological and physical food cravings.

These two factors often occur after periods of strict dietary restriction, which is a symptom of binge eating disorder and normative behavior in diet culture that is so prevalent today. Although dietary restricting and cheat days are socially acceptable behaviors in today’s society, the study associated symptomology to that of eating disorders. I can back this up with my own clinical experience over the years and confidently surmise that if disordered eating is not already present in those with regular cheat days, it is often a gateway to more disordered eating behaviors.


As a dietitian who often works with clients on healing their relationships with food and their bodies, a common step is to eschew the cheat day. Not only can this help you start to have a more food-neutral mindset, but it can help take away the guilt often associated with cheat days or meals and the yo-yo diet cycle that might follow.


Instead of cheat meals or a cheat day, try these three strategies, which can help foster a positive relationship with food:


Make it a point to enjoy a food you’d typically have only on a “cheat day” on any random day. Since many people plan cheat days on a weekend, this could be having a cupcake or a burger and fries on a Tuesday, for example. By easing into the mindset these foods are available to you at all times, and that it’s more than OK to eat them when you choose, the power they have over you can greatly decrease. This often results in less overeating, less guilt and a naturally balanced diet.


Instead of feeling like you’re “giving in” to food cravings and ruining an arbitrary diet (remember, this can cause guilt, shame and bingeing), honor them. Our bodies have a unique and specialized way of telling us what we need, we just have to be better listeners. For example, if you’re out at a restaurant and are really craving a burger, but order a salad instead, chances are it’s not going to be the most satisfying. Cue persistent thoughts about food, low-level hunger and crankiness until you eat something else. Honoring the burger craving and taking the time to eat mindfully and really savor it, can lead to much greater satisfaction after the meal and free up a good amount of brain space to think about more important things than food.


Nourishment is one of my favorite words to use with clients because it encompasses how we take care of ourselves both physically and emotionally. When it comes to food, this means that sometimes, the most nourishing choice we can make is to add another serving of vegetables to our plate. Other times, we just really need a cookie. Both are OK and nourishing to the body, soul or both when we need them. What is going to be nourishing to you one day may be different the next, so being mindful and open to what you need to best take care of yourself is an invaluable tool.


It’s important to cultivate a positive relationship with food that doesn’t involve guilt, and ditching cheat days is a helpful first step. If you’re struggling to get out of a restrictive diet culture mindset, consider working with a registered dietitian who takes a “non-diet” approach and believes no food or food group should be off-limits.

Originally published April 2015, updated February 2020

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475 Responses

  1. Used to have a cheat day every Saturday, I’d indulge in a lot and for a while it worked fine, I’d still lose weight. But I’d feel awful and guilty. I think it’s better to have a cheat meal as and when appropriate. Just nominate a meal say once a week and leave it empty in your diary, then use your judgement to decide what you’re going to have and in what portion. For example, a full length subway and some cookies perhaps. Just need to satisfy one craving at a time. But most of these things can fit into whatever macros you have planned for yourself. I had a full bar of dark chocolate last week for example.

  2. As with everything in life, i think it all depends on the individual. A “cheat day” works for me. In my mind it’s not cheating; it’s just the day I allow myself to eat those things that I avoid during the rest of the week. So if I want a cupcake on Tuesday I just tell myself I can have it on my designated day. And often times when that day rolls around I don’t even want it anymore. This works for me, although I know it may not for someone else. I think to be successful at weight loss, as with most everything else in life, you have to find what works for YOU and then work at that!

  3. Or you could have a “refeed” day instead of a cheat day. People think, “oh I can eat this entire pizza.” No, those aren’t the calories you want to indulge in on your “off” day.

    Instead, just eat complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats on that “off” day. Simply instead your carb intake 1.5-3x normal daily values and 1.25-1.5x the protein. This will allow you to eat more, feel more rewarded and satisfied knowing you’re not going to gain unnecessary fat weight, over essential macros your body needs after a hard week of dieting.

    The increased carbs will increase the leptin levels within your body in order to maintain a fast and healthy metabolism. You can be in a carb and calorie deficit, but only for so long until your metabolism goes to crap. “Refeeding” yourself is good for your metabolism, diet, body, muscles, and overall 100 times better than “cheat” days.

    If you want to have a cheat day, do it once a month. Refeed depending on your needs every 1-2 weeks. If you can’t go a week without cheating, then don’t diet, you’re not doing your body and mind a favor.

    1. Too hell with your method. Eat whatever you want….just be willing to go hit it hard and burn it back out….smh

      1. I know a lot of people who applied that mentality. Then they want to whine about never loosing any weight.

        1. well I tell you maybe I am lucky that being Italian and strictly following mediterranean diet(lot of fibers, loads of vegetables, not too much fat, and tasty as hell) I ‘d rather excercise the living daylight out of me and eat as much as I feel than dieting. And it works. In my 40s I run a half marathon in 1.55 cycle 40Ks at least 4 times a week and I am 6ft and 75 kg…..and in much better shape now than when I was 20 honestly.not to mention that excercising (especialy doing something I love like cycling) gives you a great mood whereas dieting is just depressing(feeling like a food aaccountant) My Tack on the matter is: Avoid junk and over processed food always. limit red meat 1 a week max. Fiber fiber and more fiber.And find a workout you love and do it as much as possible. You’ll be glad.

          1. Italian/Mediterranean seems well suited for an exercise focused health plan. Carbs are basically fuel for your body, and with pasta, beans and fish being primary foods it generally consists of damn healthy food while being tasty.

          2. I decided long ago it was better to make a lifestyle change, and not diet. I don’t eat processed foods, sugar, or refined carbs. I think we all need to do different things. I’m not knocking cheat days, or eating what you want, but that doesn’t work for me.

          3. I want to smear you in honey, Lick it off, and have you treat me like the whore I am!

          4. I is a failure. I lied…I’m so huge I lost my keyboard in my rolls…butterry…buttery rolls. 😉 (idiot azz pirate…come search my many rolls!)

          5. …and again..and again…because I am you…and I’m a faggot…and a bottom. My butts ready!

          6. Aww it aint bad, I’m banging a dog right now, I call her my girlfriend…..but she’s a dog, trust me 😀

          7. Yeah, but I bet you aint been doing them as long as my mother and I have….betcha.

          8. Not as bad as this rotten pussy chick I got. First time I EVER met a girl that had maggots coming outta that hole ( I LOVE this ).

          9. My rottyy’s better I just put my azz in the air, and get pounded! Your skank azz bitch ain’t worth the time Jakeimabuttpiratefarm

          10. No, do like me suck the rotty off first, or I let my girl do it, then we threesome. But the rotty bangs her sooo much better than me….dang ( rotff….lmfAo ).

          11. Jakefromwhereverfaggotscomefrom I heard your pussy huge….like throwing a hotdog down a hallway

          12. I’m really envious of you lgsto, you are a real man. Thx for you and your boys making my girl airtight, you guys gave her the banging I NEVER could ! 😀

          13. And vice versa my tight sphinctered friend…cooty doesn’t excite me either ( I musta REALLY got to these two …love it ) !

          14. The best you could do is assume my identity…..bwaaaaa hahaha….you and your skank are hilarious 😀

          15. Lmao I’m so fu€King sad. This ain’t Jakefromwhereverfaggotscomefrom. But whatev. I like being an azz pirate. Come aboard my butt boys!

          16. Bwaaaa hahahahaha ….you idiots thought ya out smarted me didnt ya…..bwaaaaaaaaaaa hahaha ( idiots )

          17. Hurts when someone gets ya goat doesn’t it? That’s what you guys get fir trying to out wit the MASTER. …idiots ( I cant laugh no more ).

          18. Seriously. Peace faggot. You’re killing my buzz, and I can’t take your weak azz responses. It’s just too sad dude. I expected more fun from you, and that sissy man. Thx for the worst trolling of my life. I gotta go smoke more you’re just such a buzzkill man.

          19. That comment means I gotcha…..sorry you put yourself up against superiority. …..idiot 😀

          20. Got me how? I left to smoke weed idiot. Dude don’t you get it? We can’t get each other we’re both trolling. I was just messin around. Can’t really insult me I don’t give a fu€k, I can’t get you buttpirate cuz you don’t care. Wanna continue? Go for it. Maybe pussyman will log on.

          21. If you think im bad off, you should see skank ugly chick. When she was a man, she actually looked better.

          22. I heard she’s a fu€King nasty azz dog…sounds like my type. Love me a pice of nasty skank dog azz.

          23. I got you beat, I won’t suck a dick unless it has puss oozing out of it….yummmm 😀

          24. Side note twice as funny since I’m not Jakefromwhereverfaggotscomefrom…lmao he’s gonna whine like the bitch he is

          25. Hi, I have just been reading your blog. I find it amazing that you are in your 40s and ran half a marathon in 1.55 that is brilliant, I ran the half marathon last year in 2hrs 30mins and was 38yrs, I run the half marathon again this year and hope to do a better PB. I have also registered and got a place in the London Marathon in 2016 which will also be my 40th birthday 4 days after the marathon and I really want to do well so I am going to take some advice from your Mediterranean diet. I am a vegetarian and don’t eat fish so do tend to eat well but weekends is my downfall with bad food and wine!!

        2. Well I ain’t one of the failures. Neither are other folks I know, that eat whatever the hell they want, but have hard work outs. Keep your weak weak method.

          1. I’ve lost weight, felt great, and have built a lot of muscle. So my method isn’t weak at all. I don’t need cheat days, but if you need to eat junk, and hit the gym hard to feel good go ahead. While you’re doing that I’ll continue to enjoy my weight loss, and good lab reports from the doctor.

          2. I get the same good lab reports, idiot, and I eat what I want to eat. So give the your whacked logic why I should be eating tasteless crap, if my results arr the same or better than yours Dr. Oz…..wheat grass eating idiot.

          3. Go ahead, and eat what you want, and I will provide your cardiac rehab after you’ve had a heart attack. You can only outrun a poor diet for so long. I’m sorry if my eating healthy means I’m an idiot, but I think it’s stupid to put crap in your body. I’ve seen pleanty of patients with your mentality have strokes, and heart attacks. It’s only food if it’s so important to you that you have to be rude to people over it you have a problem. Maybe you need to see a therapist about your issues with food, or at least stop being an Internet warrior.

          4. You’re not listening young lady, my lab reports are great, low cholesterol, blood pressure low, etc etc. You keep making your sissified excuses and eating wheat grass. You can take your cardio rehab, and shove it deep….chick

          5. Aww little lady are you getting upset? Girl you need to deal with your food issues! By the way I hate wheat grass. I’ll save it for you when you’re old, and your doctor won’t let you eat anything else. Man you are such a sissy being a slave to food.

          6. Awww Now you’re re trying to comment like meee. Imitation IS the sincerest form flattery. …….you weak wheatgrass eating female you…..luv ya, muah ( what a weak sissy this guy is! ).

          7. I only look like a sissy, because I’m imitating your girly a$$. I guess I shouldn’t be so rough on you. I’m sure you’re a frustrated, and ignorant teenage girl who’s angry at all us men. It’s not our fault your right hand is the only thing that will touch your nasty self.

          8. Dude….try again. You can do better I know. Go ahead, take another whack…..swing batta batta. ….SWING !!!!! bwaaaaa hahaha….what a freakin imbecile. …bwahahaha !

          9. Lmao moron. Yeah you’re winning like a delusional coked out Charlie Sheen. Please go back to your high school little lady. The Internet is no place for a little girl like you.

          10. Lol you’re so dumb you don’t even get that you’re not insulting me. You’re just calling me random rude names.

          11. Dance monkey dance! He might be done talking to you, but I just had to add that. He played you like a violin, and like the idiot you are you keep going.

          12. The hunter, got captured by the game…..idiot. I actually cant laugh anymore…..idiots ;D

          13. Wow after reading these comments dude your an f’d up loser. Enjoy your trolling, and you might want to get a new screen name. I just reported you for all kinds of stuff to disquis.

          14. Seriously get the message. I get you’re a troll, but I don’t want your sick sexual replies. You took this way too far. There’s trolling, and then there’s what you’re doing. You can’t suck my anything, because I’m a woman. Stop replying to me, and stop making sexual comments to me!

          15. Aww really!? I was going to ask you to finger my little stink star, because I wore my rotty out this morning already…and the farmer won’t let me play with his sheep.

          16. Ok look I don’t know what your problem is, but you’ve gone beyond trolling. You’re sick. You need help. I’m a girl, and I don’t need your lewed sexual comments directed at me. I don’t want any further comments about what you want me to do to you. So back off.

          17. I have a well used azzhole waiting for you big guy…come over and bang me I’m a cock loving faggot.

          18. You LIKE me dont you….me calling you messed up crap excites ya doesnt it…..come ta poppa, and let me turn you over to my rotty….he likes bitches, after they bathe. Lmao !

          19. I like talking about my rotty …because no one can love my tight man pusssy like he does.

          20. Seriously! Please get a therapist. You need one. I’m sorry that someone has taken control away from you, and that you need to take it back by being a rude idiot, a bully, and by stuffing it down with food. Quit deluding yourself, and get help.

          21. Bwaaaaaaa hahaha….stop STOP….YOU’RE KILLIN’ ME….STOOOPPPP ..BWAAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHA

          22. You don’t get it, because my insults go over your head, but you’re not smart enough to see that. Yes we responded back for entertainment, but you sat here thinking you were really insulting me, and we were laughing at YOUR expense. Do you get it? You weren’t being clever, or funny you were the butt of our joke. Some rainy day vacation entertainment. Call me a girl, or that I’m gay who cares? You’re some stranger on the Internet who has no effect on me, or my life what so ever. I hope one day you get your Sh!t together man. This was just pathetic, it was like trading insults with a caveman. Have a nice life, and enjoy your heart attack when it comes. I’m done, and won’t be reading any more of your responses. This went beyond entertainment to a very pathetic place on your part.

          23. Don’t HAFTA be smart, just dumb down about 100 ft and…..POOF ! There you are nutsack.

          24. PLEASE GET HELP FOR YOUR UNHEALTHY FOOD OBSESSION. It’ll only get worse.

          25. I’d say I’m gay for you, but you’re a woman so that wouldn’t work I’m straight for you sounds silly. Besides only an uneducated idiot would call someone a branch or twig as an insult. Poor thing maybe mommy and dady will buy you a dictionary to celebrate your first period.

          26. Enough laughter at your expense…thx you faggot you, I havent laughed AT someone in a long time……NEXT !! Rof…lmAo !

          27. Honestly you make me sad. It’s a shame how pathetic you really are. I hope you can accept your homosexuality, stop eating your feelings, and not be so angry.

          28. Yeah, you’re right, your dad was such a lame screw, made me wanna GIVE UP the lifestyle…rof…..Lmao !!!!

          29. Also remember you are what you eat, which is why you’re such a stupid dick.

          30. No, I’m a pussy, unlike the kind YOU are dingleberry…..( I GOTTA get better competition )

          31. Do what works for you. My point was this doesn’t work for me, and I donn’t see the pont of cheat days. I get the same results you get, but I can work out less to get them. I’m out having fun while my friends stay at the gym extra long to burn off that large pizza they ate.

          32. You idiot, I dont go to a gym, I work out 3 times a week at home, strenuously. So, like you, I’M out having fun the same amount of time as you, no gym, AND I eat what ever the hell I want. …it would work for you too, you’re just weak and scared, and have bought into all that dieting crap. I’m lean AND mean, and I eat all kinds of pie, cake sodas, burgers, skittles, snickers, meat lovers pizza etc etc. You keep eating that wheat grass weakling, and doing what the dieting ‘industry’ TELLS you too….ya sheep 😀

          33. The only idiot I see is you, and you’re an idiot for getting so upset about food. If you’re that attached to food, and need to justify your lifestyle that hardcore then you probably have food issues. Yes your labs are fine until they’re not, but I assume you’re probably young, and your eating hasn’t caught up to you yet. That’s how it works with most people. Unless you’re me my labs were bad, and now they’re good, and that’s because I changed what I ate. Why would I run to food that was harming my body? Why does it matter to you what I eat? I eat ketogenic, so no wheat grass, but I do eat meat, dairy, and vegetables. I am not on a diet this is a way of life. I’m not buying into anything, and calling me names won’t change a thing. I eat whatever I want, but I don’t want to eat any of that crap you listed. None of that is even food except for the burger. As I said eat what you want, but I’m not weak for being able to make a change. You’re weak for giving in to an obvious food addiction, and denying it.

          34. You female idiot. Angry , are you kiddin’? Ive been laughing at YOUR stupid bhind the whole convo. Dude, im realizing that you are really too stooopid for me to be wasting keystrokes on you. Now I’m gonna be charitable, and give you another try at firing off an insult ( this guys stupidity is congenital…I’m afraid).

          35. You must haves hard time in life with such an angry vagina. Maybe changing your diet will kill some of the yeast down there. You really should lay off that wheat grass you’re in love with. It’s throwing your hormones out of whack chicke.

          36. Insulting people is DEFINITELY not your strong suit…..stick to sucking old men’s dick, I hear you are an ACE at that……wipe that chin !

          37. I think you’re getting us confused. I hear that’s what you’re a champ at. Silly girl trolling around nursing homes for dates.

          38. The only female idiot would be one stupid enough to have sex with someone like you. Of course I’ve heard you’re actually a fat, lazy Internet warrior, who’s hung like a sun shriveled earth worm, and can’t get real women to save your life.

          39. Sorry skank, I’m lean, with very little body fat. Cut like a diamond. I’d send you a pic, but you and your dog whore of a girlfriend of yours would jack off to it…..sorry. ( I’m having a BALL with this mongoloid idiot )

          40. Yeah that’s what a fat computer nerd responds with. What’s that sound I hear? It’s the fat on your arms flapping as you type!

          41. You would know about hidin bhind a pc…wouldn’t ya. By the way, that bitch whore of yours wants to lap my sphincter again, IF she bathes, I might let her, but tell her my rottweiler won’t let her suk HIM anymore. …sorry.

          42. Let me tell you from a ladies POV you leave a lot to be desired. I nor would any other woman ever touch you. Why? Because you have the mentality of a 13 year old boy. No self respecting woman finds that attractive…EVER! I guess there is a plethora of drug addicts, and girls with poor self esteem for you out there, but I doubt that they’re that desperate.

          43. Oh THIS must the smelly skank, look you dog ugly, dog fuckin, disease infested bitch……you NEED to get a new man… that dingleberry you have, cant defend you. YOU should have never HAD to get online and try…….oh yeah, my rottweiler said you CAN lick his balls….neither one of us will screw your smelly bhind though………skankette 😀

          44. Let me put this in terms your tiny brain can understand. You’re a loser. A dickness, balless, loser. Eat your pizza, candy, cakes, dicks, and whatever else, and live in your pretend world. We will live in the real world. Wait…that probably went over your head. Sorry I can’t seem to speak idiot… I am too pretty, classy, and make way too much money to go anywhere near a skank like you. That’s why I’m with Jake he’s not a classless, brainless, frat boy like you.

          45. Why thank you for the final attempt at an insult.Seriously? Don’t let guys rake your girl over the coals like I have…..be a better man.. for her. Idiot. PEACE ! 😀

          46. The only insult you seem to understand is calling someone an idiot. I guess that’s the best you can do. I wasn’t insulting you I was stating facts. Again you’re just too dumb to get it. I guess we can’t trade insults with someone as stupid as you. It was fun until EVERYTHING went right over your head.

            You do realize this isn’t real it’s the Internet? You didn’t insult me, or rake me over any coals. You’re too insignificant for me to be truely offended by your comments. Had we been in person he would have beaten you even more senseless than what you are, but online we both just laughed at you. It wasn’t worth defending my honor to to a 13 year old kid anyway. One day when you grow up you’ll understand. I’d continue, but Jake told me if I don’t stop he’ll throw all the electric devices over the balcony. So now we really are done. Enjoy being fat, having diabetes, and heart disease in a few years!

          47. Idiot. ( what a freakin IDIOT…a glutton 4 punishment. ..I LOVE trolling 😀 Multitasking?? I’m working, AND dogging you and that flea bitten stank pussy BITCH of yours….the disease ridden skank.

          48. I’m Igsto! I’m a fat fu€k! Cut like a muffin. Mhmmmm muffins. Fat bitches like muffins

          49. By the way my girlfriend wanted me to thank you. We’ve been laughing at you all day. Lol idiot.

          50. Your girlfriend. …wanted to thank me. I wouldnt bang that whore with a mutts dick….idiot. rof lmao 😀

          51. she said, and I quote, “I’d rather be skinned alive, have salt rubbed on my open sores, and die a slow painful death than ever let someTHING like you near me. Besides I don’t do chicks.”

          52. Dude,…u idiot. She’s a bitch, she’s lying too you. I wouldnt do her, but a group of meth heads took a shot at her….all that screaming….yuk.

          53. She wanted WHATEVER I got. Vagina OR dick…begged me and it would be much better than what you offer…..I told her no, she smells. Lmao.

          54. I never eat tasteless crap. I eat whatever I want…pretend to exercise. I get winded typing…no biggie. My labs are good…

      1. I’a­m fre­ela­ncin­g ove­r intern­et, comp­leting som­e sim­ple jobs that only require desk­top or laptop com­puter an­d ac­cess to int­ernet and I am happ­ier than ev­er… S­ix mont­hs hav­e pas­sed sin­ce i start­ed thi­s a­nd i made in tot­al 36 tho­usan­d do­lla­rs… Ba­sic­ly i m­ake abou­t 80 doll­ars/h an­d w­ork f­or t­hree to fo­ur ho­urs m­ost of the da­ys.An­d awe­some thin­g abou­t t­his jo­b is tha­t you ge­t to choo­se y­ourself wh­en to wo­rk and f­or how lon­g an­d you ge­t pai­d weekly

    2. U have to measure how much calories u eat per serving.1500 calories to be accumulated per day if ur using a lot 8th energy at work.if ur not working 1200calories enough

    3. For what is worth, I have mastered the “enjoy small portions of bad things along the way” method. i.e., a snickers “bite size”, a single Twizzler, or a small sliver of pie. I really try to enjoy every bite and appreciate the moment.

      I’v been able to all but remove the desire to even want junk food. I have a cheat day from time to time also. It still comes down to calories and that is more easy said than done.

      I would argue that eating healthy consistently is a great practice. Think about it, 6 small meals a day of quality nutrition adds up in your favor.

      The challenge is that cheat days become more and more often. Fyi, I have lost 15 pounds in 2 months and I am talking about being in the so called “the last 10 are the hardest to loose” zone. This is with very moderate exercise. I am 50ish. Thoughts?

      1. hi Kevin – Im 53 and down 22 lbs this year. Just be patient the pounds will drop if you stick to it. You’ve done great in 2 months.
        I dont have designated cheat days but if im invited out then i dont sip water at the bar 😉
        Try mixing up your exercise – try something new or something you havent done for a while but enjoy. I mix up swimming, spinning, hiking and ive started jogging again now my weight is down.
        Food wise I have a couple of blogs (in norweigan) that i follow and I find “experimenting” with new healthy recipies like protein waffles or carrot cakes rewarding. This gives me “treats” without all the empty calories.
        good luck and stick with it

        1. Well done Jon. I agree, mixing movement is a great practice in exercise. I do this with resistance training, but think I will make this a goal when exercising moving forward. Thank you for your comments. Keep up the good work us 50 somethings need to be diligent.

      2. Kevin, don’t think about “the last 10 are the hardest to loose” zone.” Just think about staying the course until you reach your goal and then about a good maintenance plan that’s right for you. I’m 56 and, for the first time in my life, I just discovered that I’m overweight. I’m not panicking, just reversing course. I will succeed at losing 20 lbs and keeping it off. The magic words are “I WILL succeed.” Good luck to you!

    4. You could follow your heart always while eating food of your choice but staying healthy is a gift you give to yourself.

    5. Fitness freaks are always choosy. Not to blame them. Eat healthy and stay healthy is their slogan always.

      1. Man I eat whatever I want. Donuts for breakfast, meat lovers pizza, candy for dinner. I’d exercise….it makes my chest hurt.

    6. Healthy food keeps you fit and keeps your thoughts healthy. You can propagate the same to all your friends.

      1. Dumbass. I eat what I want. I’m fat, but who gives a dink? This morning I ate a box of donuts…diets, an exercise are for sheep.

    7. We live to spread the love of Pasta and Pirates to the world in the name of His Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ramen

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    8. Piss off you mug you dont know what your talking about mate take you and your wiki peter mate out of this website.

    9. Or, you know.
      A bit of carb loading before a reeeeally good day.
      Not quite a “Cheat Day” because you’re just paying up front for the next day, but if you’re creative you can get food that you like.

      Veggie Lo Mein is a favorite of mine – make it with buckwheat soba noodles and you’ve got your complex carbs, protein and minerals as well.

    10. I did order a large “works” extra cheese extra portabello and change pepperoni to an extra Italian sausage. I imagined I would just eat two then freeze the rest in two piece portions. It would be like 5 more meals….but but oh well I then should of bought that big Corona bottle as well and call it a major but ‘burp” happy cheat!

      1. You have the system figured out well then. Some people when they see or hear of a cheat day they go full out, and that means for both lunch, and dinner. It is a tough topic to reach just to learn how to eat healthy every day and have little cheat meals throughout the day. Good for you though that is something to be proud of! Kepp it up!

    11. i agree with you, most people see a “cheat Day” as the “eat all the crap you can day” to be honest… and then spend the other days “dieting”…. you either do a diet or you eat crap…

    12. You shouldn’t “diet” anyway. It’s about making lifestyle changes that are sustainable and scalable to your goals. A diet is something you start with the intention of stopping.

      1. but what if you want to get to a lower body fat and then do not need to keep eating like that to maintain he weight. That would be a diet.

        1. Then when you stop eating healthily you’ll gain the weight back. It truly has to be a lifestyle change.

      2. Well said sir. Lifestyle change and re-programming the way we think. I say “we” because I’m talking about most Americans. We’re just used to eating whatever we want because a lot of things are just so accessible and pletiful. Although I disagree with government control on what/how much we eat, drinking a 32oz of Coke or equally sugar-packed beverage is not something I do (anymore) nor do I let my kids swill sugary drinks at will. I’m sure we’ve all seen young children with their parents and their physical appearance and thought, “that’s sad” because they’re all so fat and dumpy it’s rediculous. So, instead of going through the McDonald’s drive thru and sitting around eating cheesy-poofs, don’t, and instead, eat something that is not from fast food and don’t buy that stuff at the store.

      3. Thank you. Precisely correct. I’ve “dieted” most of my adult life, and it wasn’t until recently I “discovered” that it was a waste of my time. A change in the way I purchased food, a very simple change, began a sustainable lifestyle change. I’m down 17 pounds and proud of it.

      4. America has the idea that a “diet” is something you intend to stop. A “healthy diet and exercise” is key to winning the food wars, and healthy diet is not what you are thinking it means. Your diet is simply what you normally consume. Keep that definition in mind any time you are reading an article on diet or “dieting”. If the idea revolves around something you intend to stop doing eventually, mentally insert the word “fad” in front of diet to ensure you are differentiating between the two meanings.

      5. I think the term diet should start being used as the way we eat, not a regimen we follow and has a certain duration, this is why we read doctors requiring a ”balanced diet”, which leads me to understand we should include all macronutrients sources in our meals balanced with regular physical activity.

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    15. I have a cheat day once a week the same day each week an still count the calories I take in so I don’t go over my calorie goal an I’ve still lost 31# and I’m on my 10th week

  4. I think another option is to see how many “extra” calories to you have to use at the end of the week.

    I eat less than my suggested calories and then save the extra calories for pizza on Saturdays.

  5. I just eat whatever. Its not the healthiest, but in the end all calories are still calories and if you stay under your goal and exercise regularly you’ll be good. Eating the right amounts of nutritious foods is important, but there is nothing wrong with cookies, chicharrones, fried chicken, or whatever you love; as long as its reasonable and in moderation, its all good.

    1. This. When I tried to tell myself foods were bad or forbidden I just ended up binging on them eventually and abandoning healthy eating altogether.

  6. I love seeing you say that the problem is partly with the word “cheat’ day! This is how I felt when I first saw this topic come up on MFP. Like G Nice says- what works for me is saving calories, in my case for Sunday. Sunday dinner has always been special in my family. I permit myself to have a special Sunday dinner, but only up to the number of calories I have “saved up” during the week. Sometimes I actually have enough calories left to have dessert AND wine- woohoo! Especially if I get some exercise that day. Like today!

    1. Love you concept of saving calories.

      I have the same things my family has during celebrations.

      It’s just, that I only eat a teaspoon of ice cream or a table spoon of something I love

      And doing this I still keep to half the caloric intake and I feel so wonderful.


  7. There is no problem with “cheat days”. The problem is with the religious belief that long term weight loss is even possible for all but a small part of the obese human population. Medical paper after medical paper proves statistically that NONE of the offered remedies for long term weight loss work (including the ones that use drugs that have very strong short term weight loss effects, like methamphetamine). It is not a matter of the human mind, at all, but one of very strong genetic forcing to obesity. Obese people have a higher survival advantage in a NATURAL human habitat, which is marked by long stretches of severe starvation. Obviously, modern humans do not live in such a habitat. We can, of course, adapt. Simply stop the obese from procreating and you will have a skinny, healthy LOOKING population in a few centuries. Juts make sure we will never fall on hard times, again, because, boy, are those folks going to drop like flies if we do.

      1. We don’t have to change a single gene, we just have to stop propagating the ones that cause obesity. You would have a point, of course, if all people were obese and we would have to go from an all obese to an all non-obese population. That could take a long time (on the order of ten+ thousand years, or so) if left to selection alone, but that’s not the case, at least not if obesity is a Mendelian trait or a not too complex multifactorial combination of such traits. It’s a bit like the difference from going from a wolf to a large number of dog breeds (that takes a long time), but then exchanging traits between breeds can be done in a few generations.

        Having said that, that’s not how it’s going to happen. My guess is that we will have outright genetic editing of babies within fifty years, or so. Obesity will be the least of the concerns for newly to be parents. They will want genetic health, intelligence, muscle tone, skin tone, hair, eyes, chin, nose, you name it improved (hopefully in that order…).

  8. My spouse and I keep Saturdays as our ‘no log’ day. We eat what we choose to eat, not whatever is in sight. I reject the suggestion that those that take a no log day will feel guilty, sluggish, and/or ravenous the next day. We have NEVER experienced any of the above, and we’ve never gained weight since we started this practice years ago.

    FYI – I originally stumbled on this concept from watching profiles of MMA fighters. As long as they’re not competing soon, many of them use the ‘off’ day method, leaving the restrictions behind (within reason) for just one day week to recharge.

    Whether you’re an athlete or the Average Joe type, everyone can benefit from an off day, as long as the foods chosen aren’t outlandish in calorie count and quantity.

    1. I have a friend who is a personal trainer who does this same exact thing and does perfectly fine as well!

  9. It comes down to how active you are. If you are less active then tone it down a notch. You simply do not need to eat as much. Breakfast featuring eggs will do it. The day could include some fruit. Then in evening pomegranate juice with 5-6 almonds.

  10. Eating healthy food like salad, seaweeds and mushrooms, make our metabolism appetite
    control strategies that shall be fine and fresh overeating quality worth of good food like soul food and African spicy hot and ginger drink with fresh fish and chicken curry to rice or mash pateto with gravy;-) Man that makes me hungry uhm!!! Food is great #Thankyou! #ViveNewDemocrats!

  11. It isn’t easy……. in the beginning. After you get used to it, cheat days start to become what they are – a routine. That’s when it’s easy to adhere to it.

    I have my healthy meal days from Sunday evenings to Fridays. Fridays only up to lunch. From Friday evenings to Sunday afternoons, I can indulge, in limited quantities. Then just increase the exercise time to burn off the extra calories.

    I work my social life around these cheat days too : )

  12. Cheat days for me usually lead to intense cravings later for the food that gave me issues to begin with! I don’t have much of an “off button,” I’m afraid!

  13. “Eating healthfully,” please.

    Eating healthfully will make you healthy.

  14. The thing is I just don’t do Cheat Days.
    I just stick to the meal plan, I’ve done the same meal plan for 8.5-months and lost 25.9-kgs (59-lbs)

    And it’s still working, and my reward is greater self esteem.

    So, for me there is no necessity in even having cheat days.

  15. Here, I fixed your article. “Nothing is wrong with cheat days.” Waste of bytes

  16. McDonald’s is my cheat day, the only problem is I cheat every day and speaking of McDonald’s I’m off for a Big Mac, burp….

  17. The problem with cheat days is that fatties turn them into cheat weeks… And then months and so on

  18. If you’re racked with guilt over something like this then include a psychologist in your regimen. Seriously.

  19. Going on a diet doesn’t mean you must deprive yourself to food that you wanna enjoy once in a while. It’s a matter of discipline and determination to achieve your goal

  20. I have a question (I am Italian). Why “healthy” in these articles always stands for “unpleasant”? I think that if you cook good food in a healthy way, the result is good. Very good, actually. Really good. You do not have to eat processed food all the time. I wish you could come to my house and taste homemade pizza (we have a wood oven), homemade jam and cakes. All low-fat food. Lots of vegetables. And good.

  21. Living would be mundane if you cannot sin with food every now and then. What’s the point of being 100% fitness oriented and get run over by a bus when you are “texting” and crossing the road?

  22. @penn Thanks for sharing your experience. I am going to try it from May for couple of months and let’s see will it work for me too?


    1. The world is round what.s the advantage of good food,sushi .s natural &gravies are sticky only.But lovely was corn junk food.

  24. Cheat days are okay if they’re a couple weeks apart and you don’t go crazy. I mean do you want to set yourself back 2 – 3 days or 4 – 5?

    Sugar, fried foods and processed foods are my main enemies. And sugary drinks? Forget about it. If they have more than 10 grams of sugar you’re just packing on the pounds. Stuff like pizza and fried chicken are basically considered garbage in my house now and only consumed once a month or whatever.

    Anyway, don’t get me started on all that stuff, lol. Bottom line ….. cheat days are great just don’t use it as an excuse to eat a whole box of cookies and a gallon of ice cream and don’t have your cheat days more than twice a month. This diet works and if you do 20 or 30 minutes of cardio every day too then you will lose weight ….. at least 2 pounds a week and it will stay off. Also, one last thing ….. stop eating until you’re absolutely stuffed. You have to make some concessions to lose weight and keep it off but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare, either.

  25. Well I always felt cheat days were better then deprivation on a being fulfilled aspect even though its still technically toying with what could be deemed as a bad habit

  26. I follow LCHF, and enjoy it because i feel really good on it. once every 2 weeks or so i will have a couple slices of my favorite takeout pizza, and i do log it. big deal. my carbs balance out over the week, and it makes me happy. i’m able to hop right back on track the next day with no detriment.
    to each his own! 🙂

  27. I dont have to cheat. I eat Subway everyday because Jared says it makes you lose weight.

    And a large Diet Coke of course.

  28. Cheat days are what I would recommend to people who used to eat unhealthy and I as a trainer want to get them started with a healthier food plan. So I don’t let them loose all bad nutritiun habits all at once. But keep the cheat day between limits and don’t eat too many unhealthy things. For some people this works and for some it doesn’t.

  29. The Lord is kind! Miracles happen everyday! So glad that Mr Brown had faith. How do you like them Apple’s Greedy Pat Houston?

  30. I am a competitive kickboxier. If I didn’t have a cheat day every week I would simply die

  31. i think you eat is the better and healthly eat and your experience any of the above.

  32. Wow ! I love it 🙂 I love eating all the time but I have to stop myself now and then to avoid fats but thats the good arguments mentioned here. A way out indeed 🙂

  33. the problem is temptation. after you fight off the initial urge to eat bad it gets easier. also, i find regualting the portion size helps you fight urges i was eatting every 2 hrs so my body did not have urges for fattier sugary foods because it was getting a constant fuel intake

  34. i think its absolutely fine to have cheat days because lets face it a handful of fries or a cupcake or something sweet is not going to affect your diet or how you eat its not like you are changing your good eatting habits you are just satisfying that sweet tooth or whatever craving its when you have that craving and you dont eat that something then you will be thinking about it nonstop

  35. i am a vegetarian i dont believe in diets i just believe in healthy food diets dont work because how long can you eat a restricted food plan for i eat healthy organic fresh stuff i dont always eat every thing organic but i love vegetables and making salads coming up with stuff like i love greens and nuts and seeds fruit and all its all about thinking outside of the box find the things you really like and find some awesome recipes they are endless on pinterest lol my favorite

  36. Indeed, Cheat Days are the times when things could start getting out of control. Unless people are really careful, cheat days sounds like a self-defeating idea. They could do better doing “a little cheat” every time they eat, or go full abstinence.

  37. It’s not important what you eat, the important thing is how you digest them. Eat whatever you want but do exercise daily.

  38. Or… You can try eating normally and not let calories control and dictate your life. All counting calories will do is give you an eating disorder.

    1. Not necessarily. I am saying this because I already have a disorder, and drove myself crazy over what I could and couldn’t eat, binging, purging, etc. Counting calories has given me a better idea of what foods have what calories, and which exercises burn the most, and using that information to better determine what my body needs and doesn’t need, and now I have tools to better manage what I do, instead of like before where I would be super restrictive for several weeks, and then go right back to extreme over eating and bulimia. I am learning that I am not a horrible person because I happen to want to eat pasta or a piece of cake every once in a while, and as long as I exercise, then I can eat how I feel, without having that horrible anxiety that used to make me just throw up.

  39. Since when is a cheat day a “glut” day? The idea of a “cheat” day is to keep eating the same healthy foods you eat every day, just without actively recording the calories.

  40. You have to not completely indulge yourself into a total binge fest. Moderation is key, and it’s best to actually try to consume healthy foods even when you think you deserve a reward. Committing to a healthy lifestyle should not be seen as a punishment.

    Also remember the calories in and calories out, it’s not bad to sometimes have something. But just don’t overdo it.

  41. I don’t see the point of cheat days. All it ever did for me was throw me off track, and make me feel sick. People get the wrong idea, and way over indulge.

      1. I over indulged once, learned a lesson from it, and found cheat days with small indulgences still weren’t worth it. I have friends who complain that they don’t loose any weight… as they eat an entire pizza alone in one sitting. Many people think a cheat day is an excuse to go hog wild. Food is for nourishment, and there’s very little nourishment gained from cheat day foods.

        1. Balance in all things. I don’t view cheat days as such, I view them as part of a recovery day. That pizza? Totally fine to eat pretty much whenever one wants, provided they don’t do as your friends did and eat the whole thing in one go. Portion control is a really simple way to develop some self-control.

          And that’s the thing here: When people constantly hold back from things they want they add an element of stress to their lives. They’re basically turning fun into work.

          Point being there are psychological elements here that are being totally glossed over, and damn near everyone reading this article and these comments would do well to take some turpentine to that lacquer.

  42. We have a cheat “meal” on a Saturday and it has worked for nearly a year but last Saturday we didn’t bother and this Saturday all we had was jacket potatoes with a nice pudding jam roly poly . It felt weired not eating takeaways full of fat but it still satisfied us . I do agree if you just conquer each craving at a time you’ll be fine.

  43. Why is it that some people eat a lot of crap and still maintain their weight, while others exercise, eat healthy but have a really hard time loosing weight. Is it all about metabolism.

  44. I think this is a great article that promotes healthy ideas-rather than having one single “CHEAT” day, enjoy a little something more periodically, but with moderation. I think it makes dieting easier. Also, it lessens the pressure and stress of attempting to eat perfectly each and every day.

  45. Also, I feel that if I work out at the gym, along with eating healthier, not only do I succeed faster toward my goals, but I have less of a desire to consume bad foods. And, when I start seeing the great results, it even drives me further to continue what I am doing, and staying away from the junk foods.

  46. Yummy food! All discipline starts in the brain, takes practice and can be difficult.
    Love is the same at times, but in no way is perfect?

  47. We stopped bringing sodas home from the Market, we reward ourselves by occasionally enjoying a soda when we go out. We stopped bringing candy and other sugar loaded items home from the Market, we reward ourselves by occasionally sharing a candy bar at local gas station. My family has lost nearly 100 pounds in the past couple of years and I got my A1C down to a tolerable 5.7 and now some click baiting ad based article wants to question my wisdom? This article is Sofa King stupid.

  48. Cheat days are an integral part of a weight loss program. If you are doing it right it can reap great benifits but you have to disciplined!

  49. Horray! The 48,000th useless site about eating I’ve come across!! You win a prize!!

  50. It should be called a “re-feed” day or “cheat meal” at best, but never a “cheat day”. If you’re dieting down and dropping weight, you should eat at maintenance once per week and up your carbs, especially if you’re on low-carb. I’m sitting at single digit body fat and I have a big 2k+ calorie meal each week that’s high in carbs. How I do it is every Saturday evening I’ll have my re-feed meal. Throughout the day I’ll mostly fast and end up eating about 200-500 calories throughout the morning and early afternoon. After that, I’ll do a hard lift and then have my big meal. I’ll have 2k calories to spare for that meal since my maintenance is around 2600 at the moment. Wherever I decide to go eat, I’ll make sure to figure out in advance what I’m going to get so that I can hit my calorie goals and I usually pick something with high carbs and moderate protein. Where people go wrong is by eating bad the whole day and not knowing where they’re at calorie wise, which usually results in them being at a big surplus and undoing most of the progress if not all of the progress they have made all week. Turning it into one big meal will allow you to eat enough to feel satisfied without hindering your progress.

  51. I’ve read in places where it says to allow yourself a cookie or a dessert every now and again. It will keep you from hitting that craze where you down an entire box of donuts yourself.

    Even the fittest of people eat those things at times. The problem with cheat days is the fact that people call them cheat days. Why not call them “bonus days”. Put a positive spin on it.

    1. i’ve done weight watchers before, and i loved their idea of the flex points… i use the same concept in my calorie counting now, allowing myself to take “bonus calories” on any given day. for me, knowing that it’s not totally forbidden, decreases the urge to indulge, and decreases any guilt after the fact if i do happen to indulge.

      1. They also make food like healthy yogurts that taste similar to desserts. So people can use those as well to trick themselves into getting that dessert taste they crave.

        Plus, people can use desserts as a way to motivate themselves. Set a goal, whether it be a week or two weeks, and if the goal is hit then you treat yourself to a reward.

        So many positive ways to spin it, just like you said you do, that have far better outcomes.

        1. I sort of set goals like this. Oh, so you want a piece of cake? How many calories is that? Well, better get to exercising so that cake that you want doesn’t go over your budget.

        2. I have done 2 x 13 week stints of Weight Watchers and had a coach – she often reminded me that what I called “treats” were not treating my body well, as they are always, for me, sugar filled foods which do not help me so I try not to call them “treats” or think of them as treats but just things that I eat that are not good for me!! It seems to help me, hope it helps you too.

  52. It is very important to feel that we are not punishing ourselves by dieting and trying to loose weight . So we should allow ourselves to eat little junk food after a few days of diet and must work out a little extra on the ‘Cheat Days’ . We can also have some green tea on the days we have junk food .
    On regular days , we should never force the issue and the workout should not be too intense . We must try to workout just before we eat our breakfast so that the metabolism is high when we have a breakfast . Lunch and dinner should be lighter than breakfast and in dinner and we should avoid food and just have juice . Before we go to sleep we should do some basic and easy exercises .

  53. I eat whatever I want I love my metabolism an I got that 8 pack for the bitches . Fellas get yuh stomach game on early b/c trust when I say you ain’t hitting it right if yuh abs ain’t tight . why y’all think girls go ape shit for a wash board besides the look she knows you hitting dem guts boy . Hahaaa *

        1. Let me revise that.

          YOU are incredibly unattractive, in a way for which no number of visible abdominal muscles can compensate.

        1. You clearly do care, given that you’re SO PROUD of your “8-pack” for the female dogs you’re evidently trying to attract. I wouldn’t be so proud of that if I were you.

  54. The problem is that people that have been having cheat meals several times a day for the past few years still feel entitled to cheat meals within a week or two or starting their diet. Their flawed thought process usually goes like this: I want to look like a fitness model > Fitness models have cheat meals > Therefor I’ll have a cheat meal.

    I have to explain the flaw in this thinking to new clients all the time. Those who realise that they’re not entitled to a cheat meal yet will always get the better result. Refeeds are programmed into a diet more than cheat meals and it still heavily depends on several factors if a client actually gets one.

    In an instant gratification society, the fitness industry is still one place where you have to put in the time and effort to get the results. But unfortunately this doesn’t resonate with most people which is why they resort to ‘crash’ diets which allow cheat foods to try and get the quick result which never lasts.

  55. I know we definitely tend to have more “cheat” days once we have the one…who knows, it may be a better approach to remove them completely. You also need to work on re-training your brain to no longer associate food with relaxation and watching TV, etc.. You want to just think of food as a necessary fuel. Of course, that is easier said than done! 🙂

  56. Cheat days are just an excuse to be weak. I never allow myself to have them. They always catch up with you.

  57. Healthy fats healthy proteins and carbs and no soda just water and my body cannot take a diet what I do is I eat healthy and I have my cheat days and is up to you to pick what you will eat and drink my body is always asking me for protein and carbs add those to up and with exercise and a good nite sleep and plenty of water I will be fine

  58. You have to accept the fact that some people can eat whatever they want and don’t put on weight others have to watch their intake and exercise religiously. Life isn’t fair, whoever told you it was lied.
    As far as cheat days, I don’t bother to have a day where I can cheat. I eschew bread and any processed foods, but other than that, I’m free to eat what like. After a month, you won’t miss it. A big bowl of strawberries is a great dessert.

    Once the appetite dragon is asleep, don’t wait it up with a cheat day.

    1. I think people forget that everyone is different. People see results from different things. I can’t do cheat days. After trying it once I made myself sick, and felt lethargic for days. Once I stuck to it for a few weeks I found I didn’t miss my cheat day food anymore. I have a healthy alternative for everything I used to eat.

  59. I let go of the calorific foods. I eat the bad stuff at christmas, easter, someone’s birthday etc. Probably 10-12 days a year. Other than that I really don’t.

    In the end you must choose between eating bad, feeling bad and looking bad, or eating good, feeling good and looking good.

    Unless you make the decision to be a different person, you are wasting your time at the gym, stressing yourself out losing 10lbs only to gain it back again plus more. What’s the point? Just enjoy your food, avoid mirrors & scales and be happy.

  60. There’s nothing wrong with cheat days. Don’t let these articles dictate your diet. If cheat days work for you and help you stay on track keep doing it. I was avoiding cheat days because people kept hammering it into my brain that they were bad. Then I started doing cheat days and I dieted more regularly and kept that day as a goal. If I went over my calories on one of the days before my cheat day then I couldn’t have the cheat day. Yes I have fast food on my cheat days because there’s nothing at MdD’s or Chick Fil A that’s satisfying that’s under 600 calories. And if I get that chicken sandwich yes I want the damn fries too!!! And that’s what I eat on my cheat days.

  61. Bottom line for me is stick to moderation best you can. I did weight watchers for many years and this helped to become more conscious of moderation and what it “costs” to binge!

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  63. The Solution: Stop Restricting, Start Enjoying—in Moderation

    This is the key to not over indulge into massive cheat days.


  65. This is great. Americans are awesome at saying, “Well if I eat this chocolate cake, it is okay, because I have been eating clean all week, and I deserve it!”. There is so much wrong with this way of thinking, and thank you for this article because it totally backs this up. I once read in a dance magazine, that if we listened to our body, we wouldn’t have to worry about dieting. Take a second, and think about that. How many times in the last month have you overeaten? That adds up!

  66. I use a modified version of the Carb Nite diet with pretty good success and I try to limit myself to a Cheat Meal as opposed to a cheat day. Even then, it’s more of a matter of eating what I want as opposed to eating how much I want.

  67. The “problem” with cheat days is, IMO, just matter of taboos and croud mentality.

    You’ve basically commited to living a heatlhier life. By “cheating”, you will slighly lower the benefits, but net result is still [excuse the expletive] motherfuckingly longer life expectancy.

    Now, in economic terms, are the few extra cents of life worth the extra load (ie. battling the temptation and possible feelings of guilt) and the loss of one of the of kinds joyful enjoynment ? (plese, don’t kill your inner child)

    Will you “work” your whole life, never stopping to enjoy the fruits of your labor ?

  68. I defnitely agree with the language being a major problem. I tend to call mine “Treat Yo-self day” or just a “free day”.

    Rather than taking it as a day to go buckwild on “bad foods”, I view mine as a day to take a break from obsessively logging everything that goes into my mouth, and the caloric/macro content of said food.
    I take Sundays off, I have a family dinner every week on Sunday and I sure as hell don’t feel like trying to figure out the calories and macros in food I didn’t prepare. I want to have a good time with my friends and I’m gonna. Sometimes I’ll go out for a pancake breakfast with my boyfriend or a Sunday brunch. Sometimes I eat as normal until that dinner. I plugged my free day meals into MFP one day to get a rough estimate of how I was eating that day, and it turned out I was eating pretty close to maintenance anyway. No harm done really.
    Like most things in diet and fitness, whether or not free days are helpful or harmful to you is personal and not the same for everyone. For me it was very helpful, I could take a break from being so very mindful and just enjoy food. I continued to lose weight at a steady pace and had no trouble resuming my logging habits the next day. That might not be the case for everyone, and you’ve got to figure out for yourself how well you handle taking a break like that.
    One thing is for sure, denying your self the things you love is a surefire recipe for failure. I’m a huge fan of If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) style eating. You can almost always make room in your plan for any kind of treat while still hitting your goals for the day if you plan ahead for it. And that my friends, is the best way to stick to a meal plan ;D

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  70. I like to start the day with a dozen jelly donuts and a pot of coffee. What on earth could I possibly eat on this “cheat day”, salad?

  71. A few years back I lost a little over 50 lb. in response to health issues. What made dieting tolerable was doing it in weight losses of about 10 to 15 lb. at a time, with breaks of maintaining a weight level while enjoying good food for while, and then resuming dieting. To maintain that weight loss, it takes biking and weight lifting, and eating mostly lean healthy food, but with a little junk food as long as the amount of junk food is in moderation.

  72. We live to spread the love of Pasta and Pirates to the world in the name of His Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ramen

  73. I’m trolling…trolling all day. I am awesome…and awesome lard butt. If you find my junk let me know…it hiding under a roll.

  74. I call my higher calorie days “Reward Days”. There’s no cheating involved, they are planned and earned.

    1. i am Gam Raymond from Ghana, am a football player in Ghana i do play for Zaytuna FC in Ghana here and i need a good club and a Good agent that could sponsor me to the highers level

  75. I don’t do “cheat days”. The problem with them is that fat/obese people see every day as a cheat day. It’s ridiculous.

    1. that’s pretty offensive, seeing that a lot of people are fat/obese on this thread who are actively losing weight through diet and exercise – you’ve just slapped them down with your judgements. Comments like yours just act as discouragement for people, I guess that’s what you’re trying to do – so you can keep feeling superior. If you’re obese and reading this and working hard to lose weight – don’t worry about twats like these – keep up the good work 🙂

      1. Being fat/obese is a choice. It’s not something they’re “born with”. If you’re fat/obese then, by definition, you’re unhealthy. Change it.
        It’s about diet, NOT working out, for chrissakes.

        1. oh, so you’re going to continue to shit on people using your poorly thought out justifications. Again if you’re fat/obese and you’re doing something about it, keep up the good work, don’t let idiots dissuade you! You can do this!

          1. You shit on yourself by being obese. You disrespect yourself. You’re shortening your life. I’m fresh out of sympathy and empathy for fat losers, like you.

        2. Oh, so you’re going to continue to shit on people using your poorly thought out justifications. Good for you, I hope you feel good about that. As I said, if you’re obese and working hard – don’t let idiots dissuade you! You can do this!

          1. That facts are irrefutable. You’re one of those “team jeebus” obese slobs. Enjoy a life of chronic illness, poor health and an early demise because of your terrible choices, lack of exercise and disgusting dietary habits.

          2. Now you’re not making any sense. You speak of health & fitness yet discourage those seeking it. I think your true colours are showing. You’re a troll. When you bring others down you are showing the world one thing: you are already beneath them. Enjoy your life.

          3. Honey, nobody’s discouraging you from eating less. You disgust me, and should disgust yourself.

          4. why would I be disgusted with myself? See, I knew you were a troll right from the start – (your name gave you away) – all I had to do was press a few buttons and viola. I’ve done the world a favour. Read the last line of your comment over and over again. It’s so true…. you’re not only low but you like your own comments (the definition of sad). Again, Enjoy your life! See you, I’m off out for a run 😛

  76. I have cheat meals and snacks sometimes but when Im done Im done yall. I eat like for fruit snack packs but if I stop from eating a lunchable or chips or like ice cream sandwich i can keep my hips in check shug.

  77. Great post! If only the media could stop promoting the all or nothing habits around healthy eating. Do the best you can with what you have infront of you and try to eat more nourishing food than food that takes away energy.

  78. Везде все пишут разное… мне кажется , я уже запутался в этом всем. Так каков вывод то?

  79. Вообще не понятная тема. Кто что говорит… Мнение диаметрально расходятся. Если достаточно в неделю кардио, то раз в месяц можно читануть)

  80. I do cheat meals once a week or once every other week. They’re usually at dinner so I’m not tempted to turn it into a cheat day! There are a few exceptions when my cheat meals are actually a cheat day (major holidays, my birthday, vacation).

  81. I read this blog post with great interest, because before I really begun to think about a healthy lifestyle and healty food patterns, I had integrated a weekly cheat day into my diets. Besides, nowadays I’m not convinced of the concept of a diet at all. In my experience it is true, that a cheat day leads to a higher desire to eat the forbidden food. At my cheat day I have had no limit and was allowed to eat everything. In the end of the day I always felt bad because of two reasons. First I felt ashamed because I ate all the unheathy und usually forbidden food. Second I was in a bad mood because of the physical consequences of overeating: queasiness, tierdness and listlessness. I needed at least one or two days to recover from that cheat day.

    Nevertheless I share the same experience like other recommenders do: As long as I orderly keep just a weekly cheat day, I lose weight. But obviously you can see the problem: as long as. I had several cheat day diets and for a about nine month I had no problem to follow the cheat day concept and lost a lot of pounds during my diet. But I don’t succeed to keep my lower weight for the long-term. That is, what I’m looking for: I’m not searching for a diet for a limited period of time but for a lifetime. The cheat day diet (and I guess this is true for all diets) didn’t work in the daily life. It is very hard to combine birhtdays, partys, spontaneous meetings, dinner dates and all the other daily decisions which are linked to the question of what to eat with that one weekly cheat day.

  82. One can always just balance their diet with exercise? I have 7% body fat and my primary intake of protein is buffalo wings.

    1. Having low body fat doesn’t bahr someone healthy. Exercising to eat like crap, is back asswards

      1. I’m extremely healthy by all measures, ricecakes. I enjoy distance running, lifting weights and eating rich meals. We’re not talking little debbies here, just rich proteins like steak/chicken plus raw vegetables and whole grains/fiber.

        1. I like how people get offended by your eating habits, like it’s really any of their business in the first place, and second of all, they are not your doctor and just make assumptions about your health based on the fact that you have the audacity to enjoy buffalo wings, which aren’t even necessarily unhealthy.

      1. I would vomit to get even near your rathole you fuicking bitch. Talk shit on the internetzzzzzzzz. fuck you.

        1. I dont understand….I was writing bitcom…stock market that note…sorry I’ve upset you…I am sorry. I am so fed up with stock market taking over my phone and now emails flooding my phone…Why cheat days got this message?????

  83. Cheat days are definitely a negative thing for me. I go all out, and eat an absurd amount, and then feel sad and guilty for a few days afterwards – which often impacts my motivation to exercise or eat healthily. I really work better when I am “on a roll”.

  84. The only way drinking a cup of green tea has been found to reduce my fat is after I’ve walked and plucked the tea leaves on my own, everyday. 😀

    1. Seriously. Why do people think that tea is magical somehow? My mom bought me this wu whatever apple cleansing tea (it’s funny, because “woo” is right in the name), that is supposed to be good with weight loss and “cleansing”. I just think that it tastes good. Other than that it is just expensive tea.

  85. Maybe your cheat day will mass up with your whole diet program. Be conscious and aware of your health is essential to not lose every gain which you had during your diet program.

  86. when I’m using fitness pal I may end up eating a bag of chips or cheese puffs. though after I come back from the pit of wanting I mark down what I ate and deal with the consequences… last week there were two bags of cheese puffs… as I can see no real harm to my diet… salt and cholesterol are way off though.

  87. NEVER diet. It will screw up your mind and body in the long run. Make sure you eat enough calories, especially from veggies, fruits, whole grains, eat enough CARBS, yes CARBS! Look up a high carb, low fat vegan diet. You get to eat as much as you want every single day and you can lose weight whilst doing it. Plus by going vegan you’ll avoid the biggest diseases like heart disease and cancer…just look up Nutritionfacts on YouTube and watch the documentaries “Forks over Knives” and “Vegucated”….and thank me later 🙂

    1. Whole Foods addict here. So many people complain about the high prices. I complain about high medical bills. The US medical practitioner, unfortunately, treats you when you are a trainwreck from eating foods that would be defined as plastics in other countries, while the traditional Chinese medical doctor considers her/himself a failure if you become unhealthy.

        1. The chemical compound azodicarbonamide is a dough conditioner present in certain sandwich breads and is classified as an industrial plastics chemical. It is also used in certain frozen meals, strudels, pizza crusts, croutons and frozen PB&J uncrustables.

          1. It isn’t a plastic. It is a foaming agent that can be applied to more than one use, including plastic, which isn’t the same thing as being plastic.

    2. No offense, but youtube videos and documentaries are not scientific evidence. Unless there are some peer reviewed scientific studies then I can not take it seriously. Heart diseases and cancer can hit anyone, no matter what their diet is. Of course some preventative measures can be taken such as diet and exercise, but anyone can get cancer at anytime, because cancer is extremely complex, and there are many types, and one single cure or preventative measure is, well, impossible. This also leads down the dangerous path of victim blaming. “Well, if you had just had eaten a vegan diet then you wouldn’t have cancer.”

      1. Yes, excuse me. That was my opinion half a year ago. Although I still believe nutritionfacts is a great source of information on YouTube, and the videos are always supported by real evidence. You’re right, heart disease and cancer can hit anyone, but having a vegan diet can definitely lower your risk, that has been proven time and time again. Vegan diets don’t protect you from cancer, they simply lower your risk for some types.

  88. This is what I wrote for a lean habits group when posed with the question of good/bad foods:
    1. Labeling foods good/bad is just as detrimental as labeling people. Rather than good/bad, food should be looked at as fuel towards a goal. And just like fuel in a car there is going to be a small part that may not help us run efficiently, but that’s what the filter (habit) is for. Ask yourself, will this food help, hinder, or have little impact overall on my goals? If it hinders, see if there is a way to scale it back/make it healthier so that it has very little impact (or even ends up helping), then enjoy it with no guilt.

  89. For me the secret is having a good cleansing, detoxing system that naturally clears it away – nice and simple that fits in with my lifestyle.

    1. I’m not trying to be rude here, but medicine/science does not recognise detoxing/cleansing in this way. It isn’t a real actual thing that the body does. The only detoxing that is recognised are when people go to rehab to detox off of heroin or alcohol. This other detoxing is completely made up, and is usually passed off by companies trying to sell expensive smoothies, supplements, and gadgets. It is what people in the science community refer to as snake oil.

      1. Hi Victoria, great to have an opinion – even better to do some extensive research on a matter to understand it will make all the difference. I’m not sure which science you follow because the science studies behind detoxing is vast.
        Put aside the companies/people and what they say and look at the pure, raw facts or results derived from detoxing/cleaning out impurities from the body. X-Ray and CT Scans show the visible effects.
        The liver has a function, among others, to filter and remove toxins ultimately from the food and drink we consume as well as the air we breath – removing these toxins is paramount to our survival and being alive. Not made up, actual fact. Unfortunately the liver is not designed to deal with the intensity of toxins in our environment so “expensive smoothies and supplements” are really designed to help the process and support the body to give it that extra capability to remove those impurities more effectively. There are people that have committed their lives to understanding how the body functions and how to best support its functions – The company that I work with has over 40 full time scientists / nutritionists / dietitians with over 400 years combined experience in working with supplements that support the body to function at its best. Not only are these studies peer to peer reviewed but independently tested by Institutions like the Skidmore College to be accurate and factual. Hope this helps you find out more, king regards, Jason

  90. I usually sprinkle in my cheating through out the week. Though I found I’m slowly losing the urge to do so. It’s worked pretty well for me so far.

  91. I like the idea of a cheat meal instead of a cheat day. Because you are still feeding your cravings and refueling will power except its only one meal of extra ‘bad’ foods instead of two or three.

  92. How do you cheat food because I wanna lose weight but I don’t know how to cheat MY FOOD!?

  93. I think that we sit on our butts far too often and for too long. That is the main reason people plump up too much. Eat what you want, in moderation, with overall well being in mind. No regular salt, sugar or carb overdoses for your body size and type. Things will work out.

  94. I really enjoyed this blog. I see a lot of people struggling with this in college. I started eating healthy around Jan. and stuck to it for a month. The one day I decided to have a cheat day I went way overboard and haven’t got back to those same good eating patterns since then.

  95. The best option to live healthy is eating juices, vegetables and doing a lot of sports 🙂 of course you don’t have to be on a diet but a little more attention to what you eat wouldn’t harm your body. Being independence from sugar and fast food is a important thing you’re body will be grafteful of.
    Stay sporty and healthy bro 🙂

    1. And steak. You forgot steak. The thing human beings have been eating for 200,000 years.

  96. I can totally relate to this article for many different reasons. My roommate is big into weight lifting, and eating healthy during the week. Originally he had his cheat day on Fridays where he could eat an unhealthy food. Soon after it became a cheat weekend
    which then means he was only eating healthy for four days a week. I also noticed with him he would then use fast food as a reward. So after taking a test or finishing a difficult project he would reward himself with fast-food. I understand you’re not always going to be able to healthy, but if you set a day as a cheat day you will want more of those. So instead I would suggest he tries to eat his healthy diet every day of the week, and once and awhile have an unhealthy food during the day. But his mind set gets made up that he needs to cheat every meal on cheat days, which makes it difficult for him the other days of the week. Thanks for posting this article now I understand better why he tends to cheat his diet, instead of switching his life to a healthy lifestyle.

  97. I don’t have weekly cheat days. I’ve been counting calories for about 2 months now and if I want a snack I have a snack. It just comes off my calorie count. I’m at 1000-1100 cals a day and I have found cream cicles in a yellow box at walmart are only 70 cals a bar.

    1. Youre starving yourself. There isn’t a nutritionalist on the planet that would look at your diet and say that it’s a good thing. For you to replace the few calories you actually eat, with empty junk calories, is double fold!

    2. I would up your calories up a small bit, this website only recommends as low as 1200 and won’t recommend any lower than that out of fear that it then becomes unhealthy. Other than that, I’m about the same. If I want a snack or treat, and have enough calories in my budget, then I go ahead and eat it, or I do the exercise necessary to burn off the calories. There are also good tasting treats that are relatively low in calories, like your creamcicles you get. That doesn’t mean that this is all I eat, it just means that I allow myself to eat it if everything else is in check.

  98. It was teachers day all this week so my husband and I bought our teacher daughter a nice cake and I did cheat and I have Had two portions of cake , but they were average size. My blood sugar has only gone up two points and the cake is done as well !!! I have to be very careful, but we all had a nice time with our kid so it was worth it Candy G

    1. baked pasta with fried eggplant last night. burned off enough calories during the day.

  99. once you learn what to eat. it’s easy and you can cheat as long as you go back to the mindset of daily health, in my opinion.

  100. While I appreciate all the positive and useful comments, no one has addressed what, for some of us, is the real problem: addiction.

    I have eschewed all my vices because I had to. There was no such thing as one drink or one joint. More was always better, and it was never enough. Unfortunately, now I have the same problem with food, which is why the sentence, “If you actually eat what you want, you’ll likely end up eating a more reasonable amount of it” is simply untrue for me.

    The only way I can maintain my weight (I lost 70 pounds over 3 years) and my sanity is to entirely avoid sugar, white flour, etc., and exercise regularly (which has become its own addiction, albeit a healthy one!). Once enough time has passed, it becomes a, more or less, permanent change. That said, I do occasionally go on binges, but like all addicts, I’ve learned to let it them go and move on. They’ve become fewer and further between as time goes by, and no longer sabotage my weight maintenance or my general health.

    I’d be curious to hear about this issue from others in recovery.

    1. I am trying to just eat in moderation instead of restricting myself completely. Things aren’t perfect, but they are going better than they were. I have an eating disorder where I can be doing really well for a while, and binging and purging later on. Sometimes for a few weeks. Sometimes for just one day. I am now trying to be more mindful about my portions, but it isn’t easy. I tried the whole cutting certain foods out completely, and it just didn’t work for me. It would be that cycle of depriving myself for a few weeks or months, and then always going right back to where I was.

      1. It’s a balancing act, for sure, and everybody has different issues when it comes to food. How much simpler life would be if food was only a means of survival! Simpler perhaps, but likely duller, as well. Hang in there, Victoria.

    2. Hi Anastasia. Thank you for your post. There are several 12 Step Recovery groups that address food addiction and offer a lot of support. There’s also a really good book about food addiction called “Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction”. I have been free from food cravings, overeating, weight gain and weight yo-yoing for a long time (12 years +) and that’s nothing short of a miracle for me! But I can’t do it alone. And I’m grateful I don’t have to. I’ve met so many wonderful people in my journey.

      All the best to you.

  101. You don’t need an ounce of carbs. They aren’t a necessary nutrient. Calorie deficit tho is a different matter.

  102. Junk is junk, regardless of how it’s worded. This doesn’t mean it’s “okay” to eat whatever you want for one day. I try not to eat junk. I try to eat healthy but I’m not perfect. I don’t eat junk cause I’m on a diet. I don’t eat junk cause it’s not healthy.

  103. Thank you for this post! I like what you said about the wording…making certain foods seem forbidden. For some, forbidden is something they seek, and so this only sets that person up for failure in weight loss.

  104. Great tips! I like your simple list at the end, especially about listening to your appetite. Sometimes if we just focus on eating what we need, we could find ourselves actually eating right for our bodies!

  105. Deprivation is the hardest when it comes to weight loss. Sometimes just having a treat can make all the difference in staying on the overall plan. Great post, thank you for all the tips!

  106. Best advice I ever got was to never let yourself be too hungry or too full. Find that sweet spot between mildly hungry and satisfied.

  107. You can have a medium-cheat day. Obviously not anything extremely unhealthy or binge-worthy, but some things that you would normally not eat AND in moderation.

  108. I have a cheat day, for me its essential. Lost 120 lbs, 3+ years keeping it off. Most people are not animals so a cheating day doesn’t turn into eat everything you can stuff in your mouth.

  109. I enjoy a low carb, high fat, no sugar, rarely eat grains, diet. I have given myself permission to eat outside of my normal routine, i.e. a s’more while camping or chips and crackers at a party. I rarely “cheat” because I wake up the next day feeling bloated and crappy and craving carbs.
    My body tells me what it needs and it’s a great feeling to eat when I’m hungry and be completely satisfied with nutritious food. I don’t feel deprived….I feel great!!

  110. Cheat days are simple, I love my cheat days. I have one once a week. And it’s usually only a few hundred extra calories…typically on a day that I golf though. I do not have my cheat day on my rest day.

    My cheat day is generally when we go out to eat…I usually splurge on some sweet potato fries. Still get a Turkey burger, or something lighter to compensate.

    It’s knowledge…it’s all about knowledge. Educate yourself in a healthy lifestyle, and you will increase productivity whilst living a healthier lifestyle, and will decrease the effects of a cheat day.

  111. I have the occasional cheat meal, I try to manage my calorie budget around it but don’t stress if I go over. The reason you call it a cheat meal is because it’s not part of your regular diet. You wouldn’t eat it normally. I use it mostly for get together where trying to work out the calories of the meal isn’t worth the effort, and I’ll also try to burn it off.

    If your diet can’t survive the word or the idea behind it, you’ve got bigger problems.

  112. A big part of it is It helps me eat good most of the time. A lot of people still like to have that one cupcake once a week or a couple beers w the guys every couple weeks. I find when I go very strick on a diet for a long period I end up just falling off bc I want those bad foods and I end up going out of control when I finally get it. If I know I have have a couple pieces of pizza on Sunday and watch the game I do better and I look forward to it. There’s no right way for every human to eat and diet the same.

  113. Well a cheat day on a ketogenic diet can kick you out of ketosis, then I feel absolutely horrible. So I have learned not to cheat because it isn’t worth it in the end.

  114. There’s good, sound advice in this article – moderate, mindful, guilt-free eating with balance. People who can learn to moderate their food intake and “Enjoy treats from time to time” are fortunate. Some – perhaps many – cannot. Food issues are always on a spectrum with, say, people who have no issues with food on the left and people with serious food issues on the right (e.g., morbid obesity, morbidly underweight from anorexia and/or bulimia). Eating disorder treatment centres/clinics often use the behaviour modification approach suggested in this article. Which is fine, provided food addiction is not an issue. That’s another can of worms altogether. Moderation of things like cookies and chocolate isn’t going to happen for the many who have serious addiction issues. It’s not a sexy topic – no one wants to hear about abstaining entirely from foods containing added sugars. But if it helps anyone out there to know they’re not alone because even the best, most sound advice just doesn’t work, that makes me happy. The best book I’ve found thus far on the topic is by Dr. Vera Tarman, an MD specializing in addiction. I’ll post a photo of her book, “Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction”.

    One size doesn’t fit all. I’m so grateful we have options.

    Thanks again for the article!

  115. Semantic debates aside, just because some of us need a period of indulgence does not mean we have undone our progress. And speaking of psychology and stats, you guys are a bit too obsessed with what you eat and critical of how others eat, which is rather the precise opposite of healthy eating if you ask me. It smacks of eating disorder. You have all managed your eating disorders into some weird, strictly controlled lifestyles that work for you; which really doesn’t mean that it works for others. It just means you have a niche industry of people buying in to this as a hobby competitor sport and a reason to write a lengthy article.

  116. “Cheat days” undermines the whole point of tryi ng to lose weight and stay healthy. You have to change your eating habits for good.You can’t indulge in garbage anymore.

    My biggest problem after losing weight was going back to eating sweets almost every day and snacking on chips. Now I know I have to stay disciplined all the time or I will lose complete control. Essentially, I have to be mindful of my weight every day in order to avoid a relapse.
    I have lost 20 pounds and need to lose 40 more.

  117. This is a great post! As someone who once was severely anorexic & bulimic, and starved herself down to a weight that was ridiculously low for my height and age at the time…learning about eating in a balanced & healthy manner literally saved my life. I became a personal nutrition health coach at a local holistic health food store at fifteen years old, and began my journey towards healthy living while working there. I conducted hours of nutritional research, experimented with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets, and began buying all my own food & cooking all of my own meals, so that I could experience the unique nutritional benefits and challenges that each lifestyle presented. I learned about alternative protein and nutritional sources, alternative medicines, essential oils, and began hiking frequently and seriously training for a half-marathon run, my running taking me everywhere from the desert regions in California, to Yellowstone National Park, to the Dakota Badlands, Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin, to the swealtering heat in Louisiana. Four years later, I have survived a brutal 3-month military-structured boot camp, am happily married, pregnant with our first child, running my own household (my husband & I have a lovely, very large apartment together) and am still continuing my journey in healthy, balanced living. I am still a passionate runner to this day, and I plan to raise my child to learn from the get-go what it means to live a truly healthy, full life! I still can hardly believe, looking back, that I made it through what I did….but I can honestly say that my experience with food, body image, and life has been changed forever through the discovery of nutrition.

  118. I practise moderation, whether it’s healthy eating or indulging. So yes, I do have pizza, fried chicken, sausages, burgers, dessert and wine or beer but on most days, I try to eat relatively healthy to prevent lethargy.

    It helps me remain the same size as during my college days, and maintain healthy BMI and body fat levels. And I still get to eat sinful food.

  119. I’m so bummed to keep reading stuff like this! This is why I was fat for so long. Savor my food? Are you kidding!? Take hunger queues? If I had the ability to do this stuff I wouldn’t be fat! I’m addicted to sugar. It took years for me to find the skinny coach, but once she told me that sugar lights up the same area in my brain as drugs I knew I was an addict! Cheat days are bad! But theyre bad simply because if you eat what your addicted to you’re never going to be able to quit eating it in any real way. If I was a serious coke addict and I did coke once a week- I’d be in rehab by the end of the month!!!!

  120. Cheat Day!!! Seriously, Why would you have a whole cheat day. You could easily consume well over 5000 calories having a cheat day.
    A cheat meal, once a week works just fine for me. As well this method has been scientifically shown to increase leptin levels which can help further weight loss progress. Remember it’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle change.Have what you want when you want as long as it fits with your daily calorie limit!!

    Why undo all your hard-work indulging in a all day binge.

  121. i appreciate this article. I look at it a little differently. For me I track total number of calories per day. On weekdays i target 1800 / day. On weekends i allow for 2750 / day. things seem to work out fine.

  122. My weight maintenance rule(for life)
    1- eat unprocessed food 99% of the time

    2- exercise solid at least 3x/week(include 20-30 cardio + big muscle weight) to speed up metabolism

    3- drink when thirsty, sleep 8-9 hrs

    4-avoid stress. It’s a health mandate!

    5- don’t cut off any macro group(it’s not sustainable)

    6-Enjoy life! Eat what you really, really, really want (check 3 times with yourself) and work out to burn it off. No guilt.

  123. When I did, “Body for Life,” the cheat day worked for me. Actually, sometimes I didn’t even want anything extra on the cheat day and didn’t feel the need to stuff myself. What worked best about cheat day is I could go out to eat or to a holiday meal or to someone’s home and feel I could eat everything I wanted, including dessert. It is no fun to go out to eat or to someone’s home and feel you have to eat differently than others.

  124. I know some people that have been successful, with much weight loss, doing one cheat day per week. But I know for myself, it’s not a good idea. It’s too easy to continue to eat the “cheat” foods & ditch my regular routine. Instead, I plan and if I really want a special treat, I plan that in too. Over the holidays, I managed to squeeze in some fudge & cheesecake, while continuing my weight loss goals. Small portions, planned & accounted for – and I didn’t feel like I “cheated”. I simply budgeted, in the same way I would budget for a new fab pair of shoes lol. It’s taken me 10 years of dieting fails to finally “get it right”, make progress & fix my disordered way of thinking about food. Cheesecake is not “bad” and I can no longer have the “all or nothing” mentality. This blog post is spot on!

  125. I disagree with the article. I lost 50 pounds with a schedule in which i had about a 600 calorie deficit 5 days a week, plus working out about 4 of those days week (weight lifting, jogging, walking, swimming) and I had a day off every Saturday where I ate anything I wanted and as much as I wanted and Sunday was something like an eat-to-maintain day. The “Day Off” system motivated me to work even harder to earn the day off, Helped me stick to my plan and practice delayed gratification, added fun to the proceedings,added a prouctive weeklycycle mentality, renewed my motivation for the week to come, and was easier socially (all my close friends knew and often planned for my days off to go out for dinner or ice cream, or bring me cookies and their knowledge and support was so encouraging!)

  126. What is the greatist that was mentioned after this article to help you with food choices, is it an app?

  127. Just don’t diet, period. Find an eating regimen you can stick with through more weight loss AND weight main, and you’re good to go.

  128. Ultimately, you want to reach the stage where “cheating” is not needed. A stage where you would eat a balanced diet that includes veggies and “bad” foods (there are no such thing as bad foods). but In order to get there you have to employ some form of cheat meal. It took me many attempts to get healthy but the one I found that works the best for me is a planned “cheat meal” every 2 weeks. and it doesn’t have to be an all out binge. It can be something I am craving. Over the years my cravings have changed because of the small changes I’ve been maintaining for my diet. From a pizza craving to a gourmet lettuce burger. So it can be a useful tool in weaning your body off processed sugar and switching your pallet to like more healthy types of food.

  129. This is really good advice. It’s they way I operate these days and Myfitnesspal keeps me in check!

  130. I feel that if it fits your macros you can eat anything. As long as your proteins and fats are in and complex carbohydrates are consumed, then accounting for whatever calories left in your daily eating you can eat anything you want to without going over your maintenance calories. The problem is that people want a whole tub of ice cream instead of a serving or a scoop of it. Self control and discipline needs to be developed in our way of eating because it should be a lifestyle and not something temporary that we do. I needed to learn that myself and now I have mastery of me and not my mind with its mental cravings. It can be done but tenacity and persistence should be exercise.

  131. Cheat days rule! 6 months into slow carb diet. Down 52lbs. Knowing “Faturday” is never more than a week away makes it easier to deal with cravings during the week. I don’t know if this is true, but in some slow/low carb circles, it is thought that a weekl cheat day keeps the body from resetting its metabolism. For me the results speak for themselves. Cheat days rule!

  132. How about a cheat meal not day I personally like to stay on trac it’s much harder to take off than put on

  133. Perhaps discipline and will power should be taken into account. Eating anything you want, all the time, or cutting everything, all the time.. Is that real strength and discipline? Arguably real discipline is sticking to a set philosophy whilst still allowing yourself the occasional treat.

    This could come in the form of the occasional treat on a day-to-day basis. Personally, I have a “cheat day” once a week. It doesn’t get absolutely crazy, I just allow myself some processed and sugary food that I usually avoid. I still run a calorie deficit for the overall week despite the cheat day. And there is research out there that suggests running a calorie deficit for too long a period can impact a man’s testosterone production. Part of my cheat day incentive is to reset my hormones.

    Food is something that we all can enjoy, and whilst I find wholesome, home made food to be far more enjoyable than many people realise… Its still nice to have some guilty pleasures. So I encourage cheat days if you’re a well disciplined, rational individual who likes a nice dopamine rush from some less healthy food!.. But just remember, don’t go too crazy.

  134. My cheat days turn into cheat weeks and when I give myself an inch I take a mile so I’ll stick to healthy eating all the time. It prevents crazy food cravings for me as well.