How and Why to Cheat

Ohhhhh, the daydreams I have of a magical fairyland where I get to swim in a sea of heavy cream cappuccinos and float along in donuts. I land upon the shore and am greeted by endless ice-cold beers, and then bask in the sun as I eat the day away enjoying fresh chocolate chip cookies.

That’s the definition of a “cheat day” right?


But it sure is a super fun daydream.

Here’s the scoop on “cheating.”

If you are restricting your daily calories in an effort to lose weight (decrease body fat) it is inevitable that you are going to confront some hunger. Why? Because it is pretty much impossible to lose weight without experiencing hunger!

After a certain number of days (usually around 10) of chronic hunger, your brain will begin to scream at you. The hormone ghrelin increases and signals your brain that you are HUNGRY! If continued, this hormone will then also trigger your brain to slow down metabolism in an effect to avoid weight loss. While it seems to be a problem, it is actually a protective mechanism to keep you from starving to death. This system worked great thousands of years ago, but it is a bit outdated in 2016.

Enter the concept of the cheat meal. A large meal is often all that is needed to tell your brain to sssshhhhhh. A large meal will tell your brain everything is okey-dokey and ghrelin can take a chill pill for a few days.

 This week’s special Blog content

 It’s important to remember that it’s very easy to eat more calories than are needed to reduce ghrelin, and therefore undo all of your efforts. Also, this tool works best if you are very active and getting in at least 2-3 strength workouts per week. Unless you are experienced with training and cheat-eating, I recommend you schedule cheat meals only 1-2 times per month until you reach your weight loss goal.

To make the most of your cheat meal, keep these things in mind:

  • Aim for an increase in volume (rather than calories) by eating more of things like vegetables, protein and foods that fill you up due to high fiber and high water content.
  • Schedule your large meal right after a challenging strength workout if possible.
  • Allow 2-3 hours of normal activity after the large meal. This is in contrast to say, eating a very large dinner and going straight to bed.
  • Choose some of your absolute favorite foods, and items that you tend to dream about when dieting. Like donuts.

Check out this week’s video below for more thoughts on this! 

PS! I reserve exclusive content just for the members of my Inner Circle email update list. If you’d like to get more inside tips from me on health, fitness and weight loss that aren’t shared here on the Blog, you can sign up at the top right side of this page! It’s free.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you find that you struggle with constant hunger? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!

1 reply
  1. Staci
    Staci says:

    Hi Holly! I am @misfitgirl on Instagram that asked that question and has endometriosis. I am so glad you explained this and am looking forward to the 2nd part. It is amazing to be learning that our hormones play such a huge part in our overall body function and health. I know for me trying to keep things balanced is not easy. I really appreciate all of your wonderful vlogs, they have been so helpful to me.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.