It might surprise you that cheat days aren't all that bad. In fact, these planned indulgences can actually help you reach your long-term goals and avoid weight-loss plateaus. However, moderation is key.
Having a few healthy but indulgent recipes in your back pocket can help make cheat day a day of delicious moderation. Katie Dunlop of Love Sweat Fitness has the ultimate recipe for cheat day — chocolate peanut protein butter balls.
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 allow yourself to indulge in the not-so-healthy foods you may be craving. This keeps you sane and helps control your cravings.
There are different philosophies, such as the 80/20 rule (eating healthy 80% of the time) 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
- Make your cheat meal something you truly love and plan for it in advance.
- Practice portion control and moderation.
- Don't feel guilty.
- Enjoy your splurges, but don't lose sight of your fitness goals.
- 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.
- It's a part of your journey — which resumes after your cheat day.