Truth be told, the concept of cheat days is pretty shitty and it does not help anyone!
Everyone might have seen the internet famous picture of The Rock’s cheat meal after five to six months of strict dieting where he ate 12 pancakes, 4 double dough pizzas, an entire tray of brownies, and a jug of milk. Basically, all the junk food a mountain can stomach in a sitting.
Just reduce the amount of food being eaten, insert every weekend instead of the five to six months – and that is you.
Every week, a majority of people on a diet do the deluded ‘deserved cheat day’ and wreck their progress and have average physiques all their life. Either they are constantly deviating between diet days and cheat days or they have totally given up on their physique goals.
Reason #1: You Start Labeling Food Items As ‘Clean’ Or ‘Dirty’
The concept of cheat days means you label certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘clean’ and certain foods as ‘bad’ or ‘dirty’ and this misses the entire picture. Any food in isolation does not have beneficial or harmful effects on your body composition. It will always come down to calories and macronutrients. Yes, some foods are less nutritious and some are more nutritious but by themselves alone, they do not mean anything. It is the entirety of your diet. You can still have an average physique or stay fat by just eating those ‘clean’ or ‘good’ foods if you are eating a lot of calories via them. And by this labeling of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, you can invite the creation of a terrible relationship with food in the long term.
Reason #2: Cheat Days Make You Fat (Mostly)
By having these so-called deserved cheat days every weekend, you are eating a shit load of calories and undoing your progress. Let’s assume that your maintenance is close to 2200 kcals and to lose weight, you are eating 1700 kcals per day. You follow that strictly from Monday to Friday and then Saturday and Sunday are 4000 kcals each. By doing this, you are effectively eating calories over and above your maintenance calories for the entire week and those extra calories are going to be stored somewhere. In short, you are going to gain fat.
Reason #3: You Can Incorporate These Treats Or Foods Into Your Routine
If you get your basics about dieting right, i.e. understand calories and macronutrients at a basic level, this will change the entire dieting situation for you. Every food has a certain amount of calories coming from the grams of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in it. Yes, it holds true for both of your ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ foods. You can moderate the food that you like and tend to binge on into your routine regularly. Having majority (70 to 80%) of calories and macronutrients for the day from the more nutritious food items and the remaining calories (20 to 30%) coming from these less nutritious foods that you like binging on.
This way, you can have a better food relationship and enjoy the dieting process more instead of doing these shitty cheat days and staying average.