He is probably the most popular day of the week with numerous diet and nutritional concepts: Cheat day. Often mistakenly used synonymously, the cheat day is definitely different from free Day. Is it really possible to be less strict on a day of the week with respect to the calorie deficit and the exact macronutrient distribution and still lose weight? The answer we give you in this article.
How does a cheat day work in the diet?
Let’s start with an example. Manish is 25 years old, 1.85 m tall and weighs 83 kilograms. He has a regular office job and goes to training four times a week. He would like to lose weight, but still treat himself from time to time.
If he feeds a calorie deficit of 400 kilocalories a week for six days and eats 500 kilocalories of his needs on a single day of the week, his weekly record would look like this:
Since he saves 400 kilocalories on six days, the result is a deficit of 2,400 kilocalories . Due to the cheat day on Sunday, 500 kilocalories are deducted in the weekly balance, therefore, there is still a total deficit of 1,900 kilocalories .
As you can imagine, this deficit could quickly turn into a surplus if the deficit on the six days of the week were lower and the surplus on the last day much higher. The success, despite the Cheat day still decrease, is therefore determined by the weekly balance of calories. The deficit on all other days than cheat day should be high enough to be able to do one day a week the way you want it.
In our example such a day would be possible once a week without any problems. Depending on individual parameters such as size and weight, level of activity and above all the goal setting and the time frame of your diet, it may of course make more sense to do a cheat day less often or only as needed.
How you handle this in your diet should also be based on how difficult or easy it is for you to get back into your usual routine after cheat day.
Checklist: This is how to prepare for your cheat day
Determine your calorie need and your calorie deficit in the diet and learn how many calories you can eat on your cheating day
Get an overview of what your day will look like and when you want to eat the bulk of your available calories
Be aware that you still have to reach a calorie deficit throughout the week to successfully lose weight
Plan your day so that you still get a sufficient protein intake of at least 1.5 g per kilogram of body weight
How should you feed on cheat day?
On a cheat day in the diet should be refrained despite the name of it, to massively junk food stuffed into himself until one is sick, just because it is “allowed” on this day.
Rather, one can use these days meaningfully, in order not to lose the fun and the motivation during the diet. For example, on such days, dining out with friends, cake on Grandma’s birthday, or glass of wine on the weekend are no longer a problem and can help us maintain our social contacts as usual, despite the diet.
However, as you can see in the checklist above, there is still some planning ahead on this day. Although you do not have to strafe your calories and macronutrients, but you should still keep a rough overview of the calories fed at the end of the day, so that the bill also works as in our example.
You should still pay attention to a sufficient protein intake of approx. 1.5 g per kilogram of body weight. So if you have z. For example, if you’re invited to a birthday party in the evening, you can eat a low-calorie, high-protein diet in the morning and at noon to get enough calories for snacks and maybe even a drink for the evening. For alcohol, you should always be careful! In addition to the many calories, he also often brings a reduced performance on the following day.
As you can see, a big benefit of having a cheat day on the diet is that it makes you flexible, that you do not need to worry about your exact carbohydrate and fat intake from time to time and make your diet more successful. It’s just easier for you to go through your diet consistently. As mentioned above, such days are not to be confused with free Days, which are mainly used during a low-carb diet to replenish the carbohydrate stores and to cushion hormonal reactions of the body.
Of course, that does not mean that you can not do a cheat day if you’ve opted for a low carb diet. If you pay attention to the above aspects, such days are compatible with any dietary form.
Checklist: These mistakes should be avoided when cheating
Do not be afraid of an increase in body weight the day after cheat day, then just follow your plan again
Do not go into a kind of “binge eating” and stuff everything into yourself, but eat consciously and enjoy your food
If you find it hard to get back into your normal routine after a cheat day, you should rarely use such days
Conclusion – can cheat days help you lose weight?
Losing weight and cheating can work! A controlled cheat day can bring you closer to your goal in the long term if such days help you consistently follow your diet on all other days. This is especially true if you have planned your diet for a long time.
If you properly determine your calorie needs and stick to your plan consistently, you can still achieve a sufficient calorie deficit and progressively get closer to your goal.
In conclusion, cheat days are, in our opinion, mainly a great way to be spontaneous and flexible while still not losing the joy of the process.
And let’s be honest: as nice as it is to get the best out of its form: sometimes it has to be the piece of cake with the best friend, the beer with the buddy or the lunch with the family – and that’s a good thing !