Are Cheat Days Ok? A Great Alternative

Oh cheat days how I miss them.   Actually not really.  Are cheat days ok though? I had a cheat day every Sunday for YEARS. And then I stopped because I’ve found a much better option.

But it was that one day a week that I got to really look forward to, and I’d even have it planned out in my head on Saturday night, all the foods I’d get to eat on Sunday.

The best cheat day food is just about anything you can find that goes against your diet! You know exactly what they are too if you’re reading this.

When I was doing it, I’d get ridiculous amounts of Chinese food, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, mix and match, and I just went insane with it.

I figure just about any food that you can find at a fast-food restaurant is bad for you, and it’s worth throwing onto the cheat day list. Also, just about any fried chip would go into this list too. Well, also ice cream, and my gosh…so much more. I could write a list out that goes on forever.

My guess is that you’re reading this article because you’re on some kind of diet or nutrition plan. You’ve got a fairly strict eating routine 6 days a week, and you’d like to find out if it’s okay to have a cheat day so you can indulge on your favorite restricted foods on the one day a week that you can really enjoy them and let loose.

I stopped doing cheat days just a few months back. And I’ve done a cheat day every Sunday for years and years. But, one day I went against the beliefs that have kept me locked into a specific diet mentality, and I decided to try something new.

And, I don’t want to say this is disappointing, because now I eat whatever I want any day of the week. But I do kind of miss looking forward to Sunday Pigday every week, where I’m a hog eating like a maniac.

I think you can still do a cheat day and be fine with hitting your fitness goals, but the problem for me, is that I would overeat, probably by at least a few thousand extra calories on that one day a week.

Also, I’ve gotten into better shape, dropped more body fat and weight with less effort, than I ever have before, and now I consider pretty much every day a cheat day, cause I don’t pay such close attention to the details anymore.  Intermittent fasting has made it much easier.

You can see a week in my life of Intermittent fasting right here.  That right there will show you every single meal I eat for 7 straight days.  You’ll notice I cheat a lot.

I think my previous eating plans may have been sabotaged by my cheat days, cause I paid absolutely NO attention to the calories that were going into my body on Sundays.

Here’s why I don’t believe cheat days are optimal anymore. There’s a way of eating that allows you to eat pretty much whatever you want 7 days a week while dropping body fat and getting into the shape you want to get into.

This eating and workout plan helped me do just that.  I got into the best shape of my life eating what I wanted to eat any day of the week.  So there’s really no need for the cheat day anyway.

You Can Easily Overeat

Having a cheat day once a week makes it WAY too easy to overeat on your required calories. If you’re asking if cheat days are okay, then I’m guessing you have at least some kind of system you’re following with the foods you’re putting into your body the other 6 days a week.

It’s a mental thing, but it IS a thing. Let’s say you want a value meal from McDonald’s. You get a Big Mac Meal and it comes with a large fry and a large Coke. That meal is 1,330 calories.

If you only have a 2000 calorie budget per day, then you only have 670 calories left in the day to eat.

And the thing with the McDonald’s meal is that it’s so processed, that it’s barely filling. So, you’re definitely gonna be hungrier later on in the day.

So, since it’s a cheat day, go ahead to Taco Bell and grab 6 regular tacos and a 7-Up. I used to get that as a just a lunch on a cheat day. Well 6 crunchy tacos from Taco Bell is 1,020 calories and the 7-Up is 190 calories.

So, you’ve had a McDonald’s meal, which was 1,330 calories, and Taco Bell, which was 1,210 calories. So, now you’re at 2,540 calories for the day. You’re not 540 calories over your daily budget.

You’re going to be really hungry later on too, cause from what I’ve noticed, eating junk food just makes you crave more junk food. It’s this crazy weird addiction, and I couldn’t stop myself.

I’m pretty sure on many Sundays, I went well over 2000 to 3000 calories BEYOND my budget. I’d feel sick when I went to bed, and I couldn’t even put any food into my body on Monday.

Worse was that it was a cycle that kept repeating. Eat low carb and restrict myself all week long, and then ruin it all by overeating an insane amount of calories on Sunday.

Have A Cheat Day But Count Your Calories

If you’re reading this, then I’m guessing you have some kind of concept of your daily calorie intake. And if you’re trying to lose weight, the only way I’ve learned to successfully do that and monitor progress and eat at a healthy calorie deficit.

If your cheat day involves eating at the restaurants I mentioned above, like Taco Bell and McDonald’s, that’s totally fine, but as you can see from the calculations, you won’t get all that much food for the amount of calories that’s IN the food. So you’ll probably still be hungry even AFTER eating all that food.

But that’s also coming from my OWN experience. I had almost NO discipline on cheat days. It’s almost as if though I had an eating disorder of some sort, so I think this truly depends on how disciplined you can be with it.

What About A Cheat Meal Every Day?

I’ve heard this before from various nutritional experts. They will suggest that you have a cheat meal every day or a few days a week, as opposed to one full day of completely binging on foods.

I think the benefit of doing this is that you’re spreading them out over the week, and since it’s just one meal you’re cheating on per day or a few times per week, you can easily calculate those calories in with the rest of the food you’re having for the day, and you’d be following your diet plan for the MOST part. As long as that cheat meal stays within your calorie budget for the day, you should be fine and not gain weight or body fat.

I’m writing this assuming that you ARE calculating your calories if your goal is to drop body fat and lose weight. And if you’re NOT calculating your daily calories, then the next part of this article will help explain why I don’t have cheat days or cheat meals anymore. I just live a life of cheating whenever I want now.

Eat What You Want When You Want

This last section here is to briefly explain the way I currently implement eating into my daily life.  I pretty eat what I want any day of the week.  Okay let me take that back for a moment. I follow an intermittent fasting lifestyle, so I don’t eat until later in the day, but when I DO eat, I eat what I feel like eating.  

I’ve been a very restrictive health nut for years.  I NEVER in my life would have believed you could do this and lose fat, drop weight, get lean, and be proud of the progress you see in the mirror.

I created this website because I was so surprised at the progress I started to make towards my own fitness goals, when I finally went against the grain and against my own beliefs, I had an urge to help others who are also struggling.  I always believed for years that you had to eat low carb to drop fat. I always believed you could have a cheat day a week and I always believed this would get you into shape.

However, my body always stayed soft, and I never saw definition and leanness that I wanted to see, regardless of which workout or cardio program or membership I decided to join.

I don’t want to make this article any longer than it already is, and I want to keep it focused on why you came here – to learn about whether or not cheat days are ok.

But if you’d like to learn about the way I’ve chosen to eat and live, which is very liberating, fun, and INCREDIBLY simple, this post will explain how you can do the same. You’d be so surprised at how easily you can achieve your fitness goals of dropping body fat and weight, without sacrificing any of the foods you love to eat, and that’s any day of the week.

So Can You Have A Cheat Day?

So, are cheat days ok or not?  I think they’re okay. I did them for years. I just found something better that allows for them to happen pretty much every day.

If you’re going to have a cheat day every week, and you follow a nutrition or diet plan that requires you to take in a certain amount of calories, then just make sure you’re being very conscious of how many calories you are taking in on those cheat days.

My problem was always that I overindulged, and had absolutely no idea how many calories I was taking in, and I’d be willing to bet that I was overeating on Sundays by at least 2000 – 3000 calories and maybe more. That’s insane!

The way I eat now is so much simpler. It doesn’t mean I’m against cheat days. They’ll always have a special place in my heart. I almost miss having that Sunday to look forward to, but oh well. I also like having pizza, a snickers bar or Ben & Jerrys ice cream whenever I feel like it.

Visit this page to learn about the eating and workout program I follow that taught me exactly how to do this, while stripping off 3% body fat and losing 15 pounds in just a few months.

I hope you found this article to be helpful. I’d really love to hear your experience with cheat days and what you may have learned about them. What works for you or what doesn’t? Maybe you have a method that is unique that I should learn about. In any case, please leave any comments or questions below and I’d be happy to answer them. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Are Cheat Days Ok? A Great Alternative”

  1. I totally agree in that cheat days maybe aren’t the best solution if you’re trying to lose weight. I know a lot of people who eat what they want for the whole weekend so they never end up losing weight!

    I used to do intermittent fasting before the first lockdown we had in the UK in March, but then I ended up doing quite a manual job working nights so had to eat a lot more. 

    I generally follow the 80/20 rule and eat healthy at least 80% of the time and eat what I want 20% of the time. think if you eat healthy whole foods with the odd few treats spread out across the week you don’t end up binging on a Sunday! That works for me anyway 

    1. Hey Katie – thanks for your comment.  I really loved reading this and hearing your experience with it all!  I think you’re totally right on track with the 80/20 rule, and I guess that is sort of how I’m living now without really paying too close attention to it.  I mean when I have a Snickers bar or an ice cream cone, that doesn’t really fall into healthy, but it’s also no longer a Sunday thing.  It’s an any day thing.  That’s awesome to know that you’ve done intermittent fasting, but I was thinking, you said you stopped because your job had you working nights.  Couldn’t you just switch up the hours of eating to a different time so that it aligns with your work?  In any case, sounds like you definitely have a method that works for you – congrats on that!

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