To Cheat Day or Not to Cheat Day?

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Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 10

Posted: 07 May 2012, 19:27
Been trying to follow an RDI of 1400 or less for the last few weeks and it does appear (I NEVER step on a scale) to be working sloowly.

I have been thinking about cheat days for a while, especially since my sister's wedding is coming up and I don't want to have to worry about calories on such a joyous occasion.

I am impressed by the number of OUTSTANDING reviews for the Spike Diet on Amazon.

I would be ECSTATIC to have one day a week where I could go to Chinese Buffet, eat four slices of pizza, pig out on chips and dip etc...

But will this sabotage my diet?

I'm currently not exercising regularly and it seems that most people doing the spike thing are.

Any advice?

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 811

Posted: 07 May 2012, 19:33
Check out these threads - there are a lot of threads out there in the forum already with a lot of different opinions on cheat days/free days - just do a forum search.. It also helps to keep all of the similar information in one place instead of a bunch of separate threads..

Free Days?

Cheat Meal

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There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 10

Posted: 07 May 2012, 19:40
Thanks! I will read them and see what I find out!

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Posts: 1,223

Posted: 07 May 2012, 20:29
Personally, I'm against them. For me, it would probably lead to a cheat meal, then a cheat day, then a cheat 2 days, and before I know it I'm done losing weight. The other thing I figure is that the only person I am cheating is myself. It does not affect anyone else if I cheat. No one else is going to care if I cheat. And if I work so hard 6 days out of the week to lose 1-2 lbs. why sabatoge that by eating what I want one day and then gaining or slowing down my weight loss. Why give up my long term goal for something that I will enjoy for 5 minutes. Also, I find that if I eat something, like say ice cream, that I really enjoy it increases those cravings. 1/2 cup of ice cream is one serving, but it is so easy to eat 2 cups in one sitting -so why tempt myself?

That being said, I am not on any particular "diet". I just try to eat healthy 90% of the time. I tried to make my treats healthy. I don't feel deprived at all, so I guess I don't feel the need to cheat. If I want something, then I either cut back early in the day or I learn to make the dish healthy.

Weddings are a once in a lifetime experience, so you should enjoy yourself. However, you also need to learn how to eat for special occasions, as there are always parties, holidays, birthdays...

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 55

Posted: 07 May 2012, 20:42
I personally had cheat days while losing all of my weight. I never stalled, I never had any issues with losing. I didn't binge but just ate a few higher calorie meals or items I had been missing without getting carried away. I did this about once every 1 to 2 weeks. I watched many others stall who were faithful to their plan and never deviated... I have to think that there is something to letting your body have the things it desires every once in a while as long as you can get right back on track the next day.

Joined: May 10
Posts: 142

Posted: 07 May 2012, 21:33
I've lost a pound a week while doing weekly cheat days. If you look at my diet calendar you will see they are truly awful at times. It's something you are just gonna have to try and see if it works for you!

That's the good thing about this site, you can see patterns and causes/effects, figure out what works for your body and lifestyle. Smile

Joined: May 10
Posts: 142

Posted: 07 May 2012, 21:35
Btw, I eat about 1500 calories 6 days a week and 2600 on Saturday. But that's how the math worked for ME, you gotta figure it out for you.

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 26

Posted: 07 May 2012, 22:39
My bf is a big fan of cheat days. Here's my take on it:

Go ahead, because when you sit down to have that cheat meal, chances are you aren't going to eat 10 billion calories. I had my cheat day and surprisingly still couldn't even reach my RDI.

The only drawback for me was...I didn't even really enjoy it, you know? Like, the way my body felt afterwards was really sucky, because I'm not used to eating s##t food anymore. So maybe if you want a cheat day, have it be something that you REALLY love... Like caramel chocolate ice cream cones YUMMMMMMMM HUH?? Razz

But lets be realistic, is ONE cheat day a week really going to ruin 6 other days of HARD WORK? Pfffft, no. Duh. You just gotta be strong and make it that ONE cheat day. And you'll probably feel so guilty afterwards that you'll need another 6 days to work up the courage again to be naughty!

God...caramel chocolate ice cream cone.....UGHHHHHHHHHH WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE UNHEALTHY?!?!?
If it tastes good, spit it out.

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 7

Posted: 08 May 2012, 08:22
I think you have to distinguish between a "cheat" day and a binge. A cheat day shouldn't be about over indulging, it should be about fitting in some treats so that you aren't tempted to binge. I prefer to work the foods that I love into my everyday meals. I can have pizza & a salad for dinner one night and a piece of cake for dessert another night and fit it all within my daily RDI. That is so much more satisfying than depriving myself for 6 days and trying to fit all my cravings into one day.
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Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 10

Posted: 08 May 2012, 13:51
Thank you all for so much great advice!!

I'm kind of like chayleah - I would say that I already do "cheat meals" and allow myself to have the foods that I like. For example, for lunch today I went out to eat and had a grilled cheese with avocado plus a side of mac & cheese and ate the whole thing. However, I don't count it as cheating if I eat a small, healthier dinner and stay within my RDI for the day (FS has me programmed at 1400 but I try to shoot for between 1200 - 1300).

So maybe I'm already cheating? There have already been days where I go over my RDI by a couple hundred calories.

I think what I'll do is try to plan one day a week where I let myself go above 1400 by 300 calories or more, but I should still log my food to keep in check.

Honestly, after eating lighter for a few weeks I'm not sure I'd be hungry enough to eat 3000 calories in a day. Of course, I live in Wisconsin, so fried cheese curds are abundant Razz

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,995

Posted: 08 May 2012, 21:09
I have had huge success with this. I modified the Spike Day thing into some simpler, and it's worked brilliantly for me. If you're interested, check out the link on my bio Page. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Visit my website:

"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
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- Master Yoda.

I went from morbidly obese to being the owner of TABDIG - a weight loss coaching service that helps people worldwide losing weight. It's been an amazing journey. From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, living healthy and helping people to reach the very same goals. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier! If you feel that you need help losing weight, don't hesitate to send me an inbox message.

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 107

Posted: 08 May 2012, 23:34
I am pro-cheat day. I have been doing it since I started here (this past time), and on another diet from a book called "The Obvious Diet". This allows me to have the foods I want once a week, and not beat myself about it. I follow the spike/kingkeld plan where I attempt to eat 3X my RDI on Fridays (I never make it close anymore). This allows me to defer all my cravings for later in the week, and not feel deprived insane all the time.

Then it also allows social events like weddings/birthdays to be incorporated into your journey. Sure, I still have slip up's, but the on-again off-again nature of the cheat day also makes it easier to get back on the program without feeling like a failure.

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 25

Posted: 09 May 2012, 09:20
To me, having a cheat day still suggests that you are ON a diet, a temporary thing, instead of changing your diet. If you take your focus off of food, and on to health, the need to "cheat" is taken away. Try not to deprive yourself of the things you love. These should be worked into to your daily eating plan in moderation to take away that feeling of being cheated. Special occasion, go ahead and enjoy yourself, then get back on track the next day. Carb cycle ahead of time, decreasing your carbohydrate intake a few days before the wedding, to compensate for the bigger meal. Pre plan - if you know what's being served, chose things you love, without sabatoging your diet. Trying to lose weight doesn't mean you have to sacrifice every treat in the world. It does mean changing your perspective on what is a treat, and what isn't. Personally, I'd rather treat myself with a sexy dress to show up in at said event than to focus on the food that will be served. Good luck with what you decide.
"Believe in yourseelf, trust the process, change forever" - B. Harper


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Posted: 09 May 2012, 09:48
Northerngal1 wrote:
If you take your focus off of food, and on to health, the need to "cheat" is taken away. Try not to deprive yourself of the things you love. These should be worked into to your daily eating plan in moderation to take away that feeling of being cheated. Special occasion, go ahead and enjoy yourself, then get back on track the next day.

I agree with this pretty strongly. You can incorporate almost anything into a diet without adversely affecting your health or body composition - as long as those foods do not displace what you need for macro- and micro-nutrient sufficiency.

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 1,552

Posted: 09 May 2012, 10:41
I usually leave a day on the weekend open for a cheat day. I usually try to eat well for breakfast and lunch, then if we go out for dinner or go out for ice cream I still have my cheat, but don't go over my RDI so much that I regret it or feel guilty. As long as you're able to get back to healthy eating after your cheat you will be okay. One day shouldn't completely mess you up. And, if you try to incorporate some higher calorie days and you find that you're gaining, either stop having those days or try to stay a little closer to your RDI.
As far as the wedding goes, I'd say have fun and don't stress out about the calories. Do some dancing and it will work some off anyway, and then after the wedding you can resume life like normal. Good luck!!
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Posted: 09 May 2012, 11:07
"They say"...3500 calories = 1 lb. So if you reduce your calorie intake everyday by 500 and/or burn an extra 500 calories a day you will see at least 1 lb. of weight loss in a week. I've decided to opt for smaller portions of the "forbidden". Like Haagen Daz has the little 119ml portions of ice cream. It satisfied my fix and I felt good about it. Believe it or not, but I had that first then filled up on a heathly dinner. My friends giving me the weirdest looks. LOL I stayed on the eliptical for an extra 15 mins and did yoga for an extra 15 mins and there I torched my extra 500!

Joined: May 10
Posts: 142

Posted: 09 May 2012, 17:56
I understand the people who say the focus should be on health, and to incorporate small cheats into daily life instead of one cheat day on the weekend, but I find for me that is very difficult.

One small treat leads to two, leads to three, and so on. I have cravings daily, if I indulged each, even slightly, it would throw off my RDI worse than the cheat day I have factored in. I seriously needed to work on my self-control, cheat days help me do that. 6 days a week I need to be disciplined, and even on the 7th, I need to make sure I don't go over my cheat day number.

So, anyway, what I'm saying is find what works best for you. You need to know if a cheat day is best for you, or if it would be detrimental.

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 156

Posted: 10 May 2012, 00:12
I had great success with a cheat day. I did not go like all CRAZY and eat 2 whole Pizzas or anything, but I just ley my gaurd down and indulged 9and sometimes I DID go a little crazy) and I lost steadily and have for the most part maintained for well ove r a year. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. We are often not successful when we subject ourselves to total deprivation!
Do it now...tommorrow never comes!

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 107

Posted: 10 May 2012, 15:14
suremeansyes wrote:

So, anyway, what I'm saying is find what works best for you. You need to know if a cheat day is best for you, or if it would be detrimental.

You hit the nail on the head sister! To each his own here. Its good to share our experience/strength/and hope. Like they say, take only what is needed, leave the rest. Often people (myself included) think only their way is best.

Bottom line is I know what is working for me this time, and I am hanging onto it like a snuggly teddy bear. I fear deviation. I guess that is a healthy dependency, and I am ok with that.

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 10

Posted: 11 May 2012, 18:49
Update: I do cheat on occasion, in terms of the food that I am eating, but I do try and factor them in to my daily RDI. Had an unplanned "cheat day" due to a big lunch out (and beer - duhhh!!) and I was able to get back on track pretty easily. But I might just consider that my "spike day" for the week and even let myself do it again next week.

I think for me at least, the guilt after the cheat day helps to re-motivate.

Anyway, last night I dreamed about Friday Night Fish Fry and woke up in a very bad mood that I can't have that tonight. Sad .... but if I plan Friday as a cheat day next week, I can do it. Maybe that's something I need to keep me sane, I don't know...

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