T Nation

Cheat Day?


I've really tightened up my diet lately and am finally feeling like eating clean is becoming second-nature for me. I have about 20lbs of fat to lose and am starting to see results from my training.

In the past, Sunday has been "free day" where I don't workout and don't eat clean. (As I type this, I'm feeling kind of yucky from the sugared coffee and coffee roll I had this morning.) I'm wondering about giving up free day in favor of a free meal or 2 and wondered what the more experienced of you thought/do.

It seems like a lazy persons zig-zag diet... The idea of tricking your body to keep from adapting seems to make sense, but maybe I need to rethink this. Maybe just eating more clean food with an occasional splurge when I mentally need it...

Somehow following my morning Maximum Strength HOT-ROX dose with a coffee roll just doesn't seem right :slightly_smiling:

Any thoughts? Thanks!!


My thoughts are that to lose weight in an effective, healthy, and natural way, you have to adopt a diet that you can live with. One that doesn't demand an entire day of cheating. Of course you will be able to get away with a cheat meal or two during the week, but the goal should be to stay on the diet as much as possible. This very much agrees with John Berardi's thoughts on eating. He feels that you should eat clean on your diet 90% of the time, noting that the difference of 90% and 100% is negligable, and that you need to release your mind and body from the diet to make it a lifelong strategy. Basically, cheat but don't make a day out of it.


I don't know about an entire cheat day but I usually have a one cheat meal a week and one higher-carb day and have had no problems either maintaining progress nor lapsing and reverting to a cheat week or anything.

FWIW, when cutting, five days a week I eat +/- 40% P and F, 20% carbs in a Don't Dietish meal schedule. I have my cheat meal on the weekends and typically have a higher carb day mid-week that pans out to about 40% (clean) carbs and a 30/30% split of protein and fat. I've had more luck with the high carb day meals on a recovery day because 1) I feel a bit sluggish 2) I can feel a rebound, carb-loading effect on the next day's workout.

Nothing ultra anal or scientific but I still get results, recover from week to week and most importantly, don't fall off the wagon (quite the opposite - like you, I'm almost grossed out by the end of my cheat meal. But, like heavy drinking, I swear it off one week then do it again the next...) Hope this makes sense and helps.


I personally make my cheat day a high carb day. But a clean high carb because I'm just so used to eating clean. If I crave something sweet, I'll just splurge on one of JB's dessert recipe's or make my own GIANT healthy pizza. Any of this Once a week and basically follow a t-dawg type diet every day. My body responds great to that lifestyle.