Do Cheat Days Work when Dieting?



Question: I recently heard on the radio that eating a cheat meal once a week would help me to lose weight. How is that possible?

Answer: For at least 20 years we have been informing clients that taking a cheat meal every seven to nine days makes a difference when you’re maintaining a disciplined diet all the other days leading up to the cheat meal.

The most convenient method is to follow a disciplined, healthy, calorie-restricted meal plan during the week. The idea is that your work days are more time regulated and you can schedule your eating at the same times, or close to it, most days and can plan and follow through with healthier choices.

The weekends are less structured and you can loosen up a little. Choose one day to enjoy something that is not on your daily routine. Eat it, enjoy it and get back to normal routine on Monday.

This break has two different positive effects. One is physical. During your week, by restricting calories your metabolism will tend to diminish slightly. The influx of higher calorie foods will boost your metabolism back to a higher level. The most obvious effect is psychological. The tendency is to feel like you’re never going to enjoy “good” food again. You will miss and then crave foods you used to eat on a regular basis. This cheat day is like a release valve so you know you can eat something different without interfering with your weight loss process.

The danger is if you keep extending your cheat day. If you use this break wisely it can extend your weight loss and keep you happier during the process.

God bless and keep training,