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Can Cheat Meals Help You Lose Weight Faster?

The phrases cheat meals and cheat days have become popular for individuals who are on a diet or just live a healthy lifestyle. Why? Because sometimes the key to healthy eating is “cheating” on your diet once in a while. Fast forward, the first guideline for including cheat days in your diet is to consider them more as a meal you deserve to enjoy guilt-free rather than as breaking your meal plan. Due to this, we prefer using the phrase ‘treat meals’ as opposed to ‘cheat meals.’

In this article, we will cover the basics of cheat meals. You’ll also learn how they can help you lose more fat and speed up your weight loss process. At last, what are the ways to use cheat meals efficiently?

Key Takeaways:

  • A cheat meal can help you lose more fat
  • There are various ways to use your cheat meals to lose fat faster
  • It would be best to always plan your cheating meals

What Is A Cheat Meal?

A cheat meal is a meal that does not follow certain rules of a weight-loss diet. It entails eating “off-plan.” Cheat meals are usually higher in calories than the other meals you often eat and typically contain more servings of things you restrict.

According to many people, cheat meals are eating food that is “unclean,” but actually, the more important thing is the quantity of what you are eating than the quality of the food.

For some, a cheat meal can be a pizza, cheeseburger, nachos, or pasta dish, but it does not necessarily have to mean only that. Others follow more strict diest. So, a cheat meal can only incorporate extra rice or potatoes to the typical steak dish for these people. Simply put, a cheat meal can include even meals you have not thought could be considered treats; it varies from person to person.

How Can A Cheat Meal Help You Lose More Fat?

You are probably asking yourself how can a cheat meal be effective. Leptin and ghrelin are your answer. Leptin is known as the “satiety hormone,” and ghrelin is the “hunger hormone,” and these hormones affect fat loss and appetite.

The main producer of leptin is the fat tissue, and leptin influences the hypothalamus in your brain to increase activity and reduce appetite, which brings us to calorie expenditure. Ghrelin stimulates appetite and growth hormones and is produced by the stomach. The brain receives signals that you are hungry from ghrelin.


Low-calorie diets and routine low-intensity exercise have been found in studies to boost ghrelin production, which can result in increased food consumption and weight gain.

A cheat meal can help you in the following ways:

  • It refills your body with glycogen – Glycogen is an important energy source that your body uses. The glycogen acts like a fuel which is a carbohydrate in your muscles. It is recommended to maintain high amounts of glycogen.
  • It provides you with a mental break from your diet – Dieting is more fun and more sustainable when you have cheat meals planned. This is because you are provided with a mental break from the diet, which makes it much easier to continue decreasing calories. The occasional cheat meals lower the desire to overeat and make it easier to maintain your diet.

How To Use Cheat Meals To Lose Fat Faster?

Now that you understand the basics let’s move on to how you can use cheat meals to effectively speed up your weight loss.

#1: Avoid Going Over Your Maintenance Calorie Limit

You run the danger of overindulging and ruining your diet if you don’t establish realistic limits for your cheat meals. Even those who successfully diet during the week might stop losing weight or even gain it if they binge one day a week.

We advise ending your cheat meals at maintenance calories. If you consume much more than that, you will slow down your progress, particularly if you do it often.


It is not a problem if you go above the margin by 5 or 10%.

#2: Try to Cheat Once or Twice During A Week

Cheating does not always increase daily calorie consumption, but it frequently does. If you cheat many times in a week, you may quickly reverse your calorie deficit during the diet and stop losing fat, or you will rapidly increase the calorie surplus when lean growing and acquire too much fat.

You will find your balance if you restrict yourself to one or two cheat meals during the week.

#3: Try to Consume Less Food Prior to Cheat Meals

This is referred to as “calorie borrowing,” and it requires cutting back on the calories you take throughout the day. In general, the easiest method to do this is to consume more protein and fewer carbohydrates and fat at every meal but your cheat meal on the day you indulge. By this, you will create a calorie buffer that does not blow your maintenance calories.

#4: Reduce Your Consumption of Fat and Prioritize Your Carbs

You may refill your glycogen levels by focusing on carbohydrates during cheat meals which will speed up your recovery and increase the productivity of your exercises. You will also need to limit fat when you are prioritizing carbs. This is due to the fact that consuming carbohydrates reduces fat burning, which causes your body to retain the majority of the dietary fat you consume with the carbs as body fat.

Pro Tip

Choosing carbohydrates over fat is advantageous if you overeat during your cheat meal. A few good examples of fat-free or low-fat foods high in carbohydrates include breakfast cereal, flour, white and whole-wheat bread, pasta, barley, oatmeal, rice, and other grains.

#5: Drink Alcohol Cautiously

Alcohol slows down the process of burning fat, which accelerates the rate at which your dietary fat is turned into body fat. Not only that, but it also speeds up the process of turning carbohydrates into body fat. You may get the most fat when you combine this with overeating.


One or two larger alcohol-infused cheat meals over the week are all it takes to destroy your weight loss success and put you in a rut.

The Bottom Line – Always Cheat With A Good Conscience

Cheating can be helpful in losing weight as long as it is deliberate and planned. Random bingeing is not a good idea because it can have bad physical and emotional effects even if you are eating cheat day-approved food. If you take care of your body, it will take care of you. That means responsible cheating!

Frequently Asked Questions

Both approaches can be effective, but people mostly prefer cheat meals. This is due to the fact that eating smaller, more calorie-conservative meals doesn’t provide the same level of satisfaction as a single, heftier meal. Additionally, monitoring a complete day of “organized overeating” takes more work than tracking a single meal.

Yes. In reality, if done in a healthy way, having a planned cheat day each week may help you lose weight by minimizing binges, decreasing cravings, giving your mind a rest from dieting, and improving your metabolism.

Most people experience the best outcomes when they include a cheat meal once a week. This is plenty to reap the rewards without jeopardizing your efforts to lose weight. However, if you arrange your cheat meals wisely, you might be able to eat them twice a week without any problems.

Yes, you should. The amount of exercise and your current calorie intake will both have an impact on how many calories you should consume on a cheat day. It is a good idea to consume 1,500-3,000 extra calories than you would on an average day, depending on how strict your diet is.

No, it won’t. Having one cheat meal each week can actually help you lose weight more quickly by giving your brain a rest from dieting and allowing you more energy to push yourself during exercises.

The amount of time it takes to recover from a cheat day is unclear, although some research indicates that your body requires at least three days to absorb high-fat meals. You should be alright if you choose to indulge in a cheat meal once in a while and consume nutrient-dense meals the rest of the week.

Yes, however, excessive consumption of a lot of carbohydrates may knock you out of ketosis, which is typically uncomfortable. Therefore, it’s usually preferable to consume keto cheat meals that are largely made up of keto-friendly foods.

A cheat meal that is heavy in calories and carbs might help your metabolism and hormones. You motivate the body to continue burning these calories rather than adapting to the reduced intake by doing this.

The best approach is to cheat once a week. This prevents gaining weight, and it is beneficial for your metabolism

Your cheat meal should be well-balanced with high-quality protein and a few unsaturated fats, although it should have more calories and carbs than usual. While you want to boost the number of carbohydrates in your cheat meal, carbohydrates shouldn’t come from meals that are high in sugar or low in nutrients.

Your body speeds up your metabolism after a cheat meal, which helps you burn more calories. Leptin, a hormone generated by fat cells and in charge of preserving the body’s energy balance, is responsible for this increase in levels.

An excellent time to fast is after a cheat day when you consumed excess calories. However, you don’t have to devote a complete day to fasting. Instead, you can simply skip a meal or consume all of your daily caloric intakes during a single window of time.

Your pancreas will produce more insulin to metabolize high-sugar meals, which may cause you to feel bloated. Additionally, larger servings may take longer to digest, so those cheat meals will remain in your stomach for a longer period of time.


Tose Zafirov

I have dedicated my life to professional fitness. It’s my passion and life’s work. With over 26 years of experience, I am willing to share everything I have learned within the industry. If you love sports as much as I do, this blog is the place to be!

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