Recently I’ve gotten some questions about cheat days and cheat meals. So I’m going to go over that in this post. A cheat day or meal means that you eat foods that are higher in unhealthy fats, carbs, and/or sugar than you normally do but the quantity of food should stay the same. This would be either 3-4 cheat meals in 1 cheat day, 3-4 cheat meals spread out over 1 week.
Why Are Cheat Days Important?
When you’re trying to lose weight it’s best to have 1 cheat day or 3-4 cheat meals per week, so your weight loss doesn’t plateau. If you cut calories or consistently fast the same amount every week, you’ll lose weight initially. But eventually, your body will get used to this. Then you’ll stop losing weight unless you keep increasing the number of calories you cut or keep increasing the amount of time you fast. Eventually, this won’t be feasible. The better option is to introduce cheat meals or a cheat day to your week.
How You Should and Shouldn’t Do A Cheat Day
Let’s say you usually eat a salad with grilled chicken for lunch that fits on one plate. Your cheat meal is fried chicken, waffles and macaroni and cheese. I went to Austin last week, and this was a popular dish with my family. A cheat meal doesn’t mean you should eat 3 pieces of fried chicken, an entire waffle, and an entree bowl of macaroni and cheese for one meal.
A cheat meal means you should eat the equivalent of what would’ve fit on your one plate with the grilled chicken salad you usually eat. So maybe 1-2 pieces of fried chicken, ¼ of a waffle, and 1 cup of macaroni and cheese. This depends on what the amount of food you’re eating for a regular healthy meal is, but it should be the same amount of food total for your cheat meals too. If you increase the amount of food you have and it has more unhealthy fat, carbs, and sugar in it, then it’s like you’re eating extra cheat meals. Then you’ll likely put on weight.
Should You Do 1 Cheat Day or 3-4 Cheat Meals a Week?
That depends on which you find makes it easier for you to return to eating healthy afterward. You may find it easier mentally to have just 1 day where you eat less healthy food because if you start eating unhealthy food in the morning, then you’ll eat unhealthy food all day. Alternatively, you may prefer 3-4 cheat meals split over the week if you only go out to eat with other people 3-4 times a week.