Why cheat days don’t work (hint: it’s basic math)

written by Philip Stefanov  |  JANUARY 26, 2021

“I know! I’ll reward myself for the progress I’ve made by erasing most of the progress I’ve made!”

When I put it this way, it doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? Yet, we get in this mindset over and over again. But look at it this way:

Say that you’re trying to lose some fat. Your maintenance calories are roughly 2,800 and you’re eating 2,300 per day to lose one pound of fat weekly (500 calorie deficit). Now, imagine that on Sunday you have an all-out cheat day and consume 8,500 calories. So it goes like this:

Monday: 2,300 calories
Tuesday: 2,300 calories
Wednesday: 2,300 calories
Thursday: 2,300 calories
Friday: 2,300 calories
Saturday: 2,300 calories
Sunday: 8,500 calories (Hell of a “refeed day,” am I right?)

Average daily calories: 3,185 (22,300/7)

Whoa, wait a minute? Even though you’ve eaten in a deficit for six days, the 7th day puts you in a surplus of ~385 calories/day. And people wonder why they’re eating in a ‘caloric deficit,’ yet gaining weight. Here’s your answer.

Until next week,


P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about binge eating, cheat days, and how to overcome it all, I urge you to read the guide I wrote on the topic.


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