When you’re on a specific diet (to either lose, maintain or gain weight) there are certain food you have to eat and rules you must follow. For example if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to stay within your recommended calorie intake while avoiding foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. If you’re trying to gain weight, you need to take in enough calories and protein to sustain muscle growth.
The problem is that these diets are hard to sustain over a long period of time. How long can you eat salads and unsalted chicken breasts before you get tired of your food selection? If you don’t find a solution to this problem, you risk failing with your diet strategy.
Cheat days are diet-weekends. On Saturday and Sunday you take a break from work and relax with friends and family. On cheat days, you take a break from your diet and eat without worrying about your calorie count, fiber intake or empty calories. It’s a day you can use to enjoy all the foods you can’t eat while on a diet.
Even though a cheat day should be a break from your normal diet, don’t go overboard or you’ll get in trouble. Just as weekends aren’t a free pass to do whatever you want, cheat days shouldn’t be used as a blank check to eat 2 whole pizza, 3 tubs of ice cream and 4 hamburgers. Enjoy yourself but use the same moderation you do everyday in your diet.
The Bottom Line
A cheat day should be a time when you enjoy foods you love that aren’t compatible with your diet. They will help you stay dedicated and motivated so you can continue moving in the right direction the rest of the week.