I think that cheat days are very disruptive to the whole weight loss process for 3 reasons.
1. One day that is a free for all as far as food consumption is concerned can undermine an entire week of work. You work hard to create a calorie deficit to take off pounds. One pound is about 3,500 calories. A very festive day can easily blow that out of the water. Especially if your deficit wasn’t that big to begin with.
2. You mean to tell me that on every other day of the week your food and exercise was perfect as planned? You’ve probably already “cheated” on your diet. You do not need to add an entire day to cheat on your plan. That said, don’t beat yourself up about slipping. We do that enough. You also don’t need to wait until tomorrow or a Monday to get back on track.
3. A cheat day sets us up to binge on junk. This is the same junk that triggers all sorts of unhappy and unhealthy feelings in us. Isn’t this the cycle that we are trying to break. Why feed into it?
I suggest higher calorie days. I try and keep my daily calories around 1300. A higher calorie day brings me to about 1600. You can do a lot with 300 extra calories. Mixing things up like that will keep your metabolism from getting in a rut and adjusting to your new regiment, but it won’t sabotage your hard work. You can have items that don’t fit your ideal menu, but plan for it. I can have a scoop of ice cream, but I’m definitely going to move around my meals to adjust for it. Don’t cheat yourself out of reaching your goals.