How Much Does a Cheat Day Effect Us When it Comes to Dieting?

6 days a week im eating super clean, not a gram more when it comes to my RDA , hitting the gym,cardio … the whole 9 yards

On the 7th i always break my diet like crazy until my friend pointed out that having an entire day just to eat anything isnt recommended "on my cheat day i eat anything between 5k to 8k calories. you name it , im eating it , as every 90 mins i get hungry again

im 6"3
208 pounds

whats your take on the above?

In most cases I would suggest a cheat meal once a week, and I mean considerable carbs and fats. I usually did it on Friday nights after my workout.

IMO, the only reason to do a cheat meal is to help prevent your body from going into starvation mode, where your metabolism slows. Your body is trying to protect you from starvation. I didn’t like to lose more than 2lbs a week. Monitor your strength. Best case is you don’t lose strength, IMO, an upper body pressing (strict) movement is the best indicator.

I never counted calories. I knew my body well enough to know once I cleaned up the diet (no sugar or processed foods) and started pulling small amounts of carbohydrates, that I would begin to lose fat. The only purpose of the cheat meal was to restart my metabolism to non-starving mode.

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How’s your diet progressing?

If its not working, it’s probably the cheat day.

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If you generate a 5k caloric deficit throughout the week, then eat 5k surplus on your cheat day - you did a good job making no progress.

If you generate a 5k caloric deficit throughout the week, then eat 1k surplus on your cheat day - you did a good job losing ~1lb (4000 calories) that week.


well i was a thaiboxer for 11 years fighting @ 95 kg

switched to powerlifting went up to 127kg

now im back to normal weightlifting and cardio @ 98kg

goal is 88 to 90kg

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Question… Can you explain what this means?

recommended daily allowance… calories needed per day

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Uhh you’d be better off following a different template than whichever govt entity came up with that. Especially since you’re training.

Aim for 1g/lb bodyweight in protein (you weigh 208lbs so 208g). This equates to 832cal.
You can then split your fats and carbs however you want while staying under your total calorie goal. I like to run a 40% protein, 25% carbs, 35% fat macro split, but however you want to work your nutrition is up to you.

The recommended daily allowance table in the US is honestly a load of garbage, so I recommend not following that - if that is the model you are following. Higher protein is more satiating and also spares muscle.

You can also search “diet” in T-Nation archives and come up with at least 300 articles on different diets you might find better suited to you. Gotta keep an eye out for that cheat meal though - it’s undoing your whole week’s work as it stands right now.


I have never trained or dieted hard enough to justify an entire day of cheating.


thanks for the info , im having more than 830 cals from protien

daily diet goes as follows

7:00 am protien shake

8:00 am tuna with water , 2 tbs of brown rice

10:00 am cottage cheese , 1tbs of oat meal

13:00 4 pieces of steak & 3 tbs of brown rice

15:00 protien shake + banana

18:00 tuna with water 1 tbs of oatmeal

20:00 protien shake + 15 pieces of almond

23:00 70 grams of Greek yogurt + 2 turkey slices + bowl of salad

After reading what you wrote, i think it makes sense that my cheat day is messing up everything…so need to change from a cheat day to a cheat meal … but rather than having one cheat day per week … maybe having 2 cheats meals a week makes more sense… will give it a go and revert back in 4 weeks

No! One cheat meal a week. Your metabolism should run most of a week before needing a restart.

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so 2 cheat meals or more? man this plateu i hit is driving me crazy … im thinking increasing my cardio to twice a day

I dont feel like you answered this question. You told us what you used to be and where you are now but not of your current diet plan is working. How much weight have you lost each week for the past 6 weeks ?

Also this

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I did write what my diet plan is.its right above your post

In the last 6 weeks i lost almost 2kgs

I started dieting in november

Yes I saw what you were eating but the missing piece was whether you were currently losing weight or not. I would say if you are still steadily losing weight and what you are doing is working for you then no real need to change anything.
If the question is whether eating that much on a cheat day is a good idea or helping towards your goal ? For me I would not eat that much. Nothing wrong with allowing yourself something nice to eat to break the monotony of the diet but I wouldn’t allow myself to just eat anything and everything.


I think you’re misunderstanding me a bit. I don’t mean 830 cals from protein sources, i mean getting in 208g of protein. I don’t think you’re getting that much protein daily, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. Count the actual grams of protein you’re taking in daily and that goal is north of 200g. (1g protein = 4 calories)
If you’re meeting that, then disregard; my eyeball macro lense is only so accurate.

Your cheat day /cheat meal can go however you want, but the best diet is a sustainable one… meaning that you shouldn’t feel like you need a cheat meal to survive. You said you lost 2kg in 6 weeks, which is <1lb per week. This means you are not even generating a 500cal deficit per day, so your cut is going to take quite some time. Cool it a bit on the cheating and i think you’ll find much better results.

BTW, you haven’t hit a plateau. You’ve been sabotaging your progress with overabundant cheat meals.


Have you considered eating a single vegetable?


I once followed a Tim Ferris plan a long time ago, and he had a cheat day in it. I remember trying it: waffles for breakfast, snickers as a snack, pizza for lunch, burritos for dinner, etc… It was awful and really makes no sense. I’d rather have a couple of extra snacks or favorite foods in reasonable amounts more often. I’d also suggest getting to the point where fast food, candy, and super high calorie splurges lose their appeal. For me, an extra “splurge” for the evening is a couple spoonfuls of Nutzo drizzled with raw honey, raw cacao chips, and half a scoop of chocolate protein powder. Stir it up and it tastes like cake frosting. Extra calories for sure, but useful and not empty.


alright , makes sense…come to think about it … during my 6 month weight loss journey i kept losing weight with one cheat meal a week/10 days… the moment i switched to a cheat day i messed up everything.

Thank you very much for all the info man… appreciate it


ehehhehe, sometimes i eat salad with my 18:00 o\clock mean … but yeah , youre right … i dont eat much veggies