Cheat Days: Good or Bad?
by Jillian Michaels
Q: What is your opinion on "cheat days"? My friend's trainer says it's okay to have one cheat day during the week (as long as you remain on track the rest of the time). But I've been struggling with my weight for years now, and I'm wondering if it's because of my one day of food sin every week. Am I correct?
A: Great question. I am actually not a big believer in the "cheat day," the reason being that psychologically, it messes with my head when I feel that I've binged. Plus, I don't believe in a free day — I always need some boundaries.
I do believe in higher-calorie days, but I don't call them cheat days — there is always a calorie limit. For example, I let the women on my Biggest Loser teams take one day a week when they can eat 2,000 calories. I just think that a blowout day of taking in 5,000 to 6,000 calories can throw off your entire week's work. Some trainers believe the body will not absorb all those calories at once, but it's been my experience that extremely high calorie days can really throw off a diet.
A regular higher-calorie day, with boundaries, can help a diet, though. I recommend 2,000 calories once a week, and I also recommend adding one "cheat food" to your calorie allowance every day. This helps keep you from feeling deprived and from waiting all week for a weekend binge.