Should You Have Cheat Days While Dieting?
What’s up? You know who it is. It’s your boy Chris Jones representing Pump Chasers.
Should you have cheat days while dieting? I get this question a lot. I even have this question in my frequently asked questions.
Related - Death to Cheat Meals and Clean Eating?
The short answer is you can still get results while having a couple of drinks or a cheat meal per week, but that is your choice. Your results will be a lot faster and better without them, so make sure it is worth it.
Just don’t do anything stupid.
The real answer is that it comes down to the person. It comes down to you and your goals. If you have a strict deadline to meet, you should keep the cheat days to a minimum. If you are going at your pace for the long run, it’s okay to have a cheat meal every now and then.
The term “cheat meals” and “cheat days” have been around for so long, so changing the meaning is impossible. But the problem with the wording is that it sounds like you can eat foods that are not on your diet, and you can eat foods that don’t fit your diet, and all of this is without any repercussions or punishments.
This couldn’t be further from the truth — there are plenty of punishments.
Look, every time you cheat… you will set yourself back. You can expect at least two to three days of progress. A good example would be going six days on your diet and you cheat on Sunday fun day.
It will take you to at least Wednesday morning to get you back to before you cheated. That means you have to go Monday and Tuesday without any progress, depending on how bad you cheated.
You already hate Mondays, why make it worse due to no progress? Nobody is going to do that cardio for you, so are you willing to?
If you’re paying a coach to help you with your diet, they aren’t going to tell you to have a cheat meal. You need to remember every time you have a cheat meal, your progress will slow down. Was that pizza really worth it? Of course, it was pizza.
So the term “cheat day” implies you can eat the foods you want and have no repercussions. Cheat days set you back.
So if you have a deadline to meet, or you want to make the most out of your progress, cheat when it’s worth it. Having a cheat meal just because it’s a rainy Saturday isn’t worth it. Cheat because it’s your mom’s birthday, it’s your birthday, or someone graduated from high school. A special occasion. Not just because you are bored.
At the end of the day, a cheat meal will set you back. The choice is yours. If you have a deadline, keep your cheat meals to a minimum. If you don’t have a deadline, just know you are slowing your progress.
But don’t cheat meals boost your metabolism and boost your leptin levels? Absolutely, but there are better ways to approach that. Just because cheat days can ramp up your metabolism and leptin levels doesn’t mean you should eat like a competitive eater.
Instead of cheating on your diet, try a high carb refeed day. You will fill out your muscles, boost your leptin levels, and boost your morale. And this isn’t going to set you back half of your week.
So the next time you want to have a cheat meal, here are a few things you need to ask yourself:
- Do you have a specific dieting deadline to meet?
- Are you willing to give up two to three days of training just to get back on track?
- Are you going to eat foods that fit your diet or are you going to eat recklessly?
- Are you cool with your progress slowing down?
It all comes down to the person, their situation, and how bad they are going to overeat. It’s your choice, but try to make the cheat meal count.