Cheat day ?

kzshelbi Posts: 73 Member
So I’m wondering different opinions on having a cheat day once a week and if it’s worked better for anyone or if it doesn’t work. Let me know your thoughts and opinions. Have you tried it? Did it work for you?


  • pennyring
    pennyring Posts: 1 Member
    I basically agree with Suzy. When we were at Panera, my husband got this enormous brownie. I had two bites and logged it. WORTH IT!! Should I eat a whole brownie? No. But two bites was just enough to keep going without feeling deprived.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    A "cheat day" will "work" if it doesn't prevent you from being in a calorie deficit overall. It won't work if it keeps you from being in a deficit.

    There's no blanket answer. Some people find it very easy to eat enough in one day -- or even one meal -- to wipe out a deficit for a whole week.

  • nvmomketo
    nvmomketo Posts: 12,020 Member
    edited June 2018
    Letting my calories fluctuate, according to hunger, worked well for me. My daily calories still worked out to around 1500 kcal a day, but some days were 2500 kcal and others were 800 kcal. Most days fell within a few hundred calories of 1500 kcal. I lost fairly steadily doing that.

    The cheats I avoid are the off plan foods that I know negatively affect my health (IR and autoimmune) and lead to increased hunger and cravings.

    If I want a treat I'll have por krinds with dip or a few hundred calories of cheese, and then I'm back on track the next day. If I ate a few hundred calories in my trigger foods, like ice cream or candy, I'd be wanting and craving more, and be hungrier, for days afterwards which could derail me further. I avoid that sort of cheat.
  • zyxst
    zyxst Posts: 9,131 Member
    Considering my "cheat" (or I call them overeating) days clock in around 5,000 calories, they are bad for me to have once a week or even once a month. I'm going back to having them on certain holidays which annoys my husband because everything is closed.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,002 Member
    I guess it depends on what the definition of "cheat day" is to you. What makes it a "cheat day?"
  • bpetrosky
    bpetrosky Posts: 3,911 Member
    kzshelbi wrote: »
    So I’m wondering different opinions on having a cheat day once a week and if it’s worked better for anyone or if it doesn’t work. Let me know your thoughts and opinions. Have you tried it? Did it work for you?

    A number of "named" diets that rely on arbitrary food restrictions and nonsensical rules use a cheat meal or day as a way to help people comply a little better with the plan. The idea is that you end up spending your mental energy on being "good" until you're allowed to do the cheat, and don't end up questioning premise of the plan.

    The cheat day idea is unnecessary if the plan is based on achieving a reasonable deficit where you can eat food you enjoy within your calorie and macro targets.
  • MorningGrace73
    MorningGrace73 Posts: 36 Member
    Personally I rarely go with the idea of a 'cheat day' as like previously stated, it seemed more like an excuse to binge and erase my week's work, rather than an innocent splurge. (I say this after I went complete after the rails yesterday... oops). I also used to have 'cheat meals', 2 per week, but I only went for those if it was a very restrictive diet and even then, I found it did more damage than good. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that for me personally, I am much more likely to be successful if I focus on everyday success and moderation rather than eating perfectly every day except for 1.
  • Diatonic12
    Diatonic12 Posts: 32,344 Member
    People have all kinds of reasons for the 'Cheat' day. There are wild claims that cheat days boost your metabolism and prevent metabolic blowback.

    Cheat Meals or Cheat Day: - planned food bender. Or not. Thrill Eating.

    If the protocol you're following is all that and a bag of chips, why you do need to 'Cheat'. Dieting and then Cheating are a total disconnect for the brain. In the long run they dig a much deeper hole.

    If Cheat Meals become Cheat Days turning into eating it all back over giant month hunks of time...did the Cheat Meals change everything for you then?
  • makkimakki2018
    makkimakki2018 Posts: 413 Member
    My cheat days are basically going to a vegan restaurant or cafe. I get to eat food prepared well and its still good for you. I do watch my calorie intake while on my cheat day though. However the food isn't nearly as bland as my week days so I feel content.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    I have refeed days on weekends where my calorie intake is higher, in particular my carbs . But it is still in my deficit and planned so I wouldn't consider it cheating really. I find it helps boost my workout performance and helps with adherence.
  • Matt200goal
    Matt200goal Posts: 481 Member
    For me personally, and through some trial & error, I have found it better to have little "indulgences" along the way that may (at worst) put me a little over for the day than a "cheat" meal/day/etc. on some frequency.
  • BChanFit
    BChanFit Posts: 209 Member
    It also depends on your goals. I have 2 cheat meals a week but I'm bulking and trying to gain weight. It's working for my goals... :)
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    BChanFit wrote: »
    It also depends on your goals. I have 2 cheat meals a week but I'm bulking and trying to gain weight. It's working for my goals... :)

    When I'm bulking everyday is a cheat day, hehe ;)
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    I've never been a fan of such rigid structures over a long period - why all diets fail. You cannot restrict behavior unreasonably and expect reasonable results. It is especially challenging to implement extreme change in behavior, especially without a large support network.

    I've never implemented such an extreme change that would require a "cheat day". I just target a calorie goal and come close to that. I make sure I have enough room for a treat everyday.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I can't cheat because the word doesn't exist in my diet. I do like eating more on the weekends so I bank calories I don't need during the week. I have no need of a treat each day but I can eat one whenever I want. If something happens and I eat too much one day I either deduct it from the saved calories or chalk it up to life happens.

    Learning to live within my calories and be happy doing it is important for now and hopefully years to come. That is not going to happen if I have unstructured eating once or more a week.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,278 Member
    Most days, I eat a couple of hundred calories below my maintenance calorie goal, now that I'm in maintenance. Maybe once a week or so, I eat at or above my maintenance calories. Occasionally, I eat way, way above my maintenance calories - maybe double them.

    Routinely, I focus on eating mostly nutritious foods I truly enjoy, because life is too short to eat yucky things just because they're good for me. The occasional non-nutrient-dense food, within my calorie goal, helps my happiness and is not nutritional Armageddon.

    I consider these "choices about eating" rather than "cheating". If I make overall poor choices, I'll gain weight and/or torpedo my health.

    While losing weight, I looked at it pretty much the same way. The "way, way above" days were very, very rare while losing: Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Now, I'm a little looser about the circumstances, but the bottom line is the same: Choices have consequences, bad choices have bad consequences . . . and, to the extent we have control over it, life should be happy.

  • Scottgriesser
    Scottgriesser Posts: 172 Member
    Everything here is anecdotal as this is something that can't be proven as a hindrance or help.

    I've lost a significant amount of weight while having a "cheat" meal and allowing alcohol intake as long as I had exercised hard enough to fit it under the calories for that day. So every Saturday I get my *kitten* outta bed and go nuts on the trails in order to afford it.

    I like this method as it gives me motivation and something to be excited for throughout the week. Others will think it unhealthy and that you are damaging your lifestyle choice.

    As long as it fits your calorie budget, it really doesn't matter how you get there. Low burn, low intake or high burn, high intake.

    Of course, it depends on what the definition of "cheat" is. Not logging anything and eating/drinking w/e you want all day will almost certainly destroy w/e progress you made throughout the week.