How I Stay Lean II: A Look At A Cheat Day

How I Stay Lean II: A Look At A Cheat Day

June 24, 2012 // Nutrition

I Love The Weekends.

When my alarm goes off at 730am on Saturday mornings (I only get to sleep in once a week), I awake with a smile knowing the amount of indulgences that are about to take place within the next 24 hours. Just as strict as I am with my healthy eating habits, I am equally aggressive about enjoying the delicious decadent pleasures of food and beverage during appropriate times. I feel that a cheat day is necessary for compliance to any eating regiment. In my years of various dieting and eating experiments, I have found that long-term compliance is one of the most underrated factors of any new eating habit. I can’t tell you how many times I quit a certain style of eating after a short period of time because I felt too restricted with the choices available. I believe that embracing your cravings, rather than fighting to ignore them, is an important part of a relationship with food. This doesn’t mean eat pizza and drink wine daily, but it does mean that you should set aside a day or period of time where you enjoy your indulgences guilt-free.


Christmas Day 2011

“Monkey Bread” (Special Thanks to Judy Clancy)

Homemade Monkey Bread with loads of butter, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins. I ate 90% of it in a matter of minutes.



  • 1 Vanilla McDonald’s “McCafe” Shake
  • 1 Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese, Lettuce, and Tomatoes
  • 1 IsoPure Protein Drink


  • 2 Sam’s Adam’s Winter Lager Beers
  • 1 Magic Hat #9 Beer
  • 1 Hoegaarden Beer
  • 3 glasses of Ciroc Coconut Vodka w/ Soda
  • 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • A bunch of Tostito’s Chips
  • A bunch of chocolate sticks


The best approach with a cheat day is timing. We must understand that even small increments of a “cheat food” have an effect on our body and its reactions. Having a few bites of chocolate will cause a rise in the insulin level of the body, and interfere with fat-burning. This is why I am an advocate of a cheat day, instead of “small daily habits” that incorporate enjoying indulgences everyday as long the portions are small. I use a window of time (8-24 hours) to feed my body all the sugars, carbs, bad fats, chemicals, and alcohols. Since my insulin levels will be dramatically increased, no further damage can be done. It is not uncommon to put on 5-8lbs in a cheat day and lose that same weight the next day when you begin restricting carbohydrates. I use the rule of measuring the TIME my body is in fat-storing mode (cheat days) rather than the amount or portions of the cheat food. In short, DO IT ALL IN ONE SHOT rather than spacing out your indulges over the week. You can’t die of chocolate overdose. Plus, you’ll feel horrible after this splurge day and will actually crave good proteins and vegetables (I’m not joking). It’s like a brutal reminder of how good you feel when you eat clean foods. This is another great time to incorporate the element of exercise. 


Spend less than two (2) minutes in constant exercise and make use of your recent indulgences. It will also provide a feeling of satisfaction during times often associated with guilt and regret. Watch how easy it is:


The difference between good eating habits and a diet is that a diet is temporary and doesn’t teach sustainable, realistic habits, while good eating habits are a series of guidelines that are manageable, long-term, and effective. If done correctly, a person can implement good eating habits that are enjoyable and effective, and see better results than a radical diet in the same amount of time. I have good eating habits that I enjoy and are effective. I use foods and meals during the workweek that are tasty, nutritious, and are very low in carbohydrates. I also set aside a period of time each week to indulge in my cravings. This is another way of how I stay lean.