Weight Loss
Moderators: coach_k, Mollybygolly, spoiled_candy, devilish_patsy, nycgirl


Is it ok to have a cheat day?


Quote  |  Reply

For 3 weeks I've been able to stick to around 1,400 calories. But today I was constantly hungry, and I went over my 1,500 limit and ate about 1,950 calories. So I decided if I'm going to stick to this diet, I'm going to have to allow myself 2 cheat days a month where I'm allowed to go over 1,500 (but not over 2,000). Will this completely kill my progress though? Thanks!

25 Replies (last)

Just try it and see if it works for you, what works for you may not work for someone else.

However, I have a day off every week where I am still careful but if I want some pizza or dessert I will have it, for me I tend to lose more when I do that but I have a friend where if she goes over her calories she will gain weight.

Its all trial and error :)

Cheat days work for lots of people. Just make sure that the cheat day wasn't really your body responding to too much of a daily calorie deficit.

At your current weight, height and activity level (which should never be set at sedentary unless you are bed-ridden -- just FYI), you should be burning no more than 2200 calories a day (with any workouts too) to make eating 1,400 a day a reasonable and maintainable calorie deficit.

You want to try to burn between 500-800 calories more a day than what you eat to lose weight safely and in a way that makes it more likely to keep it off for good.

If you have a calorie deficit of more than 1000, then there is a good chance your metabolism will slow and after initial success with weight loss you will hit a plateau and a bunch of other health issues can surface as well.

So if you are burning more like 2400-2600 calories in a day then you should up your daily calorie intake accordingly rather than having a cheat day.

If your deficit is usually 500-800 calories a day, it is still fine to have cheat days (eating healthy food up to what would be a maintenance amount for your current height and weight is fine).

Some people find cheat days are not manageable as it spins them off of their healthy habits, whereas others find it helps keep them losing and focused without feeling deprived and frustrated -- you just have to see which camp you fit in.

Best of luck.

Original Post by vspinklover91:

For 3 weeks I've been able to stick to around 1,400 calories. But today I was constantly hungry, and I went over my 1,500 limit and ate about 1,950 calories. So I decided if I'm going to stick to this diet, I'm going to have to allow myself 2 cheat days a month where I'm allowed to go over 1,500 (but not over 2,000). Will this completely kill my progress though? Thanks!

 

 Absolutely have cheat days. Without them I would go crazy. And you don't have to make them total cheat days you can do a cheat meal. Everyone is different but this is how I do it. I eat clean/balanced. One day a week I have a cheat meal. I still watch. Don't eat a bunch of fried foods, diet foods, artificial sweeteners, fatty condiments but I eat a dinner I like and have a big desert. Then I don't do it again until next week. You have to enjoy yourself also. Life is short and food is good :)

Also on holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving day I eat what I want. I do workout extra on those days or fit another workout in that week. Drink plenty of water.

 

Yes definitely have cheat days. Just don't stuff yourself, but treat yourself...

I like to throw in the odd counterbalance to the cheat day too - the long day's hike! You can't hit a perfect deficit every day.

I have a cheat day once a week (Saturdays), and I find that it helps me stick to the diet because I get to have that triple chocolate dessert that I'm craving sometimes, or whatever else I want.

Also, I've heard it keeps your metabolism from getting too used to the reduced calorie intake.

It's worked wonderfully for me, and I'm now only one pound away from my goal.

 

Good luck. :)

Cheat days are fantastic. I have one and I've still lost 15 pounds in 3 months. It gives you something to look forward to while you are restricting your diet, and it keeps your metabolism in check.

definitely have a cheat day. The main reason people go off of diets / nutritional approaches is because they feel deprived.

 

My suggestion: If, for example, your birthday is on the 6th, make the 6th of each month your cheat day... that way you'll always be able to associate that one day a month with a treat - and when your birthday does roll around, you'll have a guilt-free lovely menu :)

Cheat days are great if you can handle them!  Just be aware that if you weight daily, the day after a "cheat" can show abnormally high on the scale. 

Extra salty food, or just extra food weight that has not "cleared" your system can make the scale show an increase of a pound or more, when in actuality there is no real and permanent weight gain. 



Cheat days are great if you can handle them!  Just be aware that if you weight daily, the day after a "cheat" can show abnormally high on the scale.

 This is true. I find that after a Saturday my weight is always up around 3lbs sometimes more sometimes less. But it goes away by Tuesday and I usually still end up losing at least 1 - 2lbs for the week. Its mostly water retention.

Original Post by nardz4:

Just try it and see if it works for you, what works for you may not work for someone else.

However, I have a day off every week where I am still careful but if I want some pizza or dessert I will have it, for me I tend to lose more when I do that but I have a friend where if she goes over her calories she will gain weight.

Its all trial and error :)

 well to tell u the truth, i try to stay away from cheat-meals and cheat-days like Dracula hates the light and the cross. The problem is, that if i plan to have a cheat-meal of about 500 extra-calories over my regular diet calorie intake, some times i give in to temptations and i just won't stop so instead of 500 extra calories, i would end up eating about 5000 extra calories.  But i will see if i can have small and planned and controlled cheat-meals like once or twice a month of about 400 to 500 extra calories over my regular diet calorie intake.  So what i will do is that for example, my dinner in my diet has around 400 calories, so i will have a dinner of 900 calories about once or twice a month.

 

.

"Cheat days" have helped me tremendously but I prefer not to call them cheat days.  I call them sane meals.  It's just a mental thing.  Cheat days make me feel like I'm doing something wrong.  Mentally I like to think of them as fun, like going to a party.  I wouldn't want to go to parties every night, that would wear me out, but one a week or so is fun.  Just like eating fun food every night would wear my body out.   I also don't like to look at sane meals as rewards.  I just think rewarding myself with food is a bad idea and it makes me more inclined to go CRAZY.  The more I prepare and plan the more I enjoy my sane days and don't eat everything that's not nailed down which could possibly undo all your hard work for the week.  

Cheat days, carb loading, zig zagging what ever you want to call them are especially useful for people that are on long restrictive diets.......they help to reset hormones especially leptin and insulin.......consuming over maintenance is generally accepted as the way to go.....I usually start my cycle Friday night and finish Sunday afternoon........it's a mandatory technique to get to a low body fat percentage for BB'er's and I get to eat what I want on the weekend.

My cheat day is usualy a night on the drink! :D And its strange, im usualy out on the friday night and when i drag myself out of bed on the saturday i think, auh man, im gunna pay for this on the scales on monday! But i have never failed to lose weight in the week ive had a session, lol!

Guess a nice beery cheat night a couple of times a months seems to agree with me :D 

Just out of interest, is there anyone here that hasnt given up the drink but is still getting good weight loss results months into their program?

I think if something like a cheat day once in awhile helps you get through the diet and doesn't throw you off course, then by all means do it.

I don't have cheat days myself, not really.  In the beginning I didn't trust myself enough to stay disciplined if I did things like that, so I made it a rule that I had to "pay" for every extra calorie going in.  Once a week some coworkers and I go out to lunch, so to earn extra calories for that I'll work in some extra exercise in the days beforehand to make up for the expected overage.  On weekends I'm almost always exercising more and getting more calorie intake on those days too.

You could look at it like I'm actually having *3* cheat days a week.  But I don't.  It's not cheating, I PAID for those calories!

Thanks so much for the replies! Now I don't feel so bad about having one :)

I was a little worried about getting too much off track with a cheat day, since in the past when I would feel like going over my limit I would completely binge without counting calories and I would feel so guilty about it that I would just quit the diet. And it would be months before I would able to get back on track again. But I think if I keep counting the calories and still stay within the limit of 2,000 calories then I can feel good about it, and this way hopefully I won't encounter as many plateaus (since I'm planning on being on this diet for 7+ months).

I have a binge eating disorder and I still binge about once a week as well as a day off, as long as I am good the rest of the week I can still normally make a 1 - 2lb loss. I know its not good for me and I dont use it as an excuse I am actually getting help for it but if you do have a binge day remember it REALLY ISN'T the end of the world, get back on track the next day and you will be fine. I spent way too long feeling so defeated by a binge that I would give up and end up gaining all my weight back, since learning to accept them has actually helped me maintain (although I am still trying to lose a bit more). If you are afraid of what the scales say don't jump on, often I can be about 4lbs heavier and it goes away.

I often exercise a little more the next morning to make up for it, nothing too over the top, but just a little more to feel better about it and it usually keeps the scales in check.

ok, so I have just literally had a cheat month and I only gained 6 pounds. Literally, a whole months of pure gluttony.

Let yourself be balanced, I think it can only be a good thing (a month on the other hand is excessive.....)

I've never really needed them (so far) but I suppose if it helps you, and you know when to stop, then it's a good idea.

I don't believe in cheat days for the simple reason they are planned....and it provides an opportunity to over eat. I have always eaten too much. I have kept my weight off longer than ever before because I don't plan cheat days. Not to say I never go off my plan but when it happens its a decision at a single meal to splurge. One cheat day will turn into two before you know it.

I also have problems with portion control, so a "cheat day" is asking for trouble. Having established a calorie goal, in my case 1650, I'll shoot for 100 below that (1550) for six days of the week. I can then "spend" the 600 calorie surplus on the seventh (2250) and still hit my daily calorie intake on average.

No cheats, just calorie management. Also I don't have a planned day to spend the surplus. Just a rule of thumb, 'not more than once a week'.

As for "cheat" foods? I don't have any. I try to eat healthy but if I want a pizza, I eat pizza. The key for me is portion control, "One Serving Only".

 

25 Replies (last)
Advertisement
Advertisement