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30-Day Slim Down Challenge Day 27: Plan Your Cheat Day

author image Deborah Day
Deborah Day is a lifestyle and entertainment writer and editor. Former editor in chief of Maxim.com and executive editor of Premiere.com, she has been published on EW.com, TheWrap.com, Yahoo.com, LAmag.com and other media sites, as well as in Maxim, Interview and Time Out NY magazines.
30-Day Slim Down Challenge Day 27: Plan Your Cheat Day
"OMG, want pizza NOW! So huuuunnnnggggrrrryyyy..." (We feel you.) Photo Credit Gracie Wilson/LIVESTRONG.COM; Adobe Stock

Now that you're creating healthier eating habits and tracking your progress, let's talk about rewarding yourself with cheat meals and cheat days. These planned cheats can actually help you reach your long-term goals and avoid weight-loss plateaus, but moderation is key.

The Rules of the Cheat Day

The idea behind "cheating" is to eat clean and get your physical activity in for the majority of your week, but then you reward yourself and lift the nutritional ban to allow yourself a little indulgence. This keeps you sane and helps control your cravings.

There are different philosophies, such as the 80/20 Rule, that might be right for you. Since you know your own limits better than anyone, you need to decide which cheat strategy works for you and your goals.

Remember, "cheating" is NOT a license to binge eat junk food and totally go off the rails. When planning a cheat meal, carefully consider what option works for you to enjoy it without sacrificing your results.

If you're just starting out, allow yourself a single cheat meal each week. This gives you something to look forward to while you stay focused and earn it.

How to Plan Your Cheat Strategy

  1. Make your cheat meal something you truly love and plan for it in advance.
  2. Practice portion control and moderation.
  3. Don't feel guilty.
  4. Enjoy your splurges, but don't lose sight of your fitness goals.
  5. Track the cheat meal with the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Calorie Tracker —available on desktop and for iOS and Android devices — so you can see how it impacts your macros.
  6. It's a part of your journey — which resumes after your cheat day.
The MyPlate app helps keep you on track!
The MyPlate app helps keep you on track! Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

Stay focused, eat clean, track your progress and stay active! Then you can confidently look forward to your cheat meal without sacrificing your long-term results. Think moderation, not deprivation.

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For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our 30-Day Slim Down Facebook Group. We'll share daily recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.

Sign up for our newsletter if you want periodic reminders to get linked up with helpful LIVESTRONG.COM articles and tips.

Read All About Cheat Meals:

The Art and Science of "Cheat Meals"
Will One Night of Binging Ruin My Diet?
How to Burn Off a Heavy Meal

Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Slim Down Challenge? If so, what is your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight loss fitness challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM 30-Day Slim Down Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.


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