One cheat day a week speeds up fat loss and muscle growth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 27, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Hi, I am very strict paleo for 6 days a week. Usually do the Sisson type menu- eats few fruits, lots of veggies, big dinner with a good cut of meat etc.

However I found when I add one cheat day it just speeds up my metabolism like crazy and I look a lot better.

By cheat I don't mean McDonalds and crap like that- I mean homemade pasta, Greek food, some bread etc. I still eat quality foods but I do one "worry free" day and don't get carried away. Anyone do this?

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on March 27, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Probably get the same effect if you just increased daily carbohydrate intake.

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4 Answers


on March 27, 2013
at 02:54 PM

Works for me! Although, I don't call it cheating... I guess if I ate gluten and such on those days I might call it that, but still I let go of my Catholic guilt years ago ;)

But yah, I practice carb cycling wherein I eat pretty low carb 6 days of the week and then one evening I load the eff up on carbs. I stick to PHD friendly sources like rice, rice products, fruit, potatoes, etc. If on a general basis I get 40 carbs, on carb days I aim for 300. Generally speaking I am somewhere between -2/+2 as far as weight is concerned the next morning. It definitely accelerates fat loss for me. Or.. maybe it just helps me maintain sanity.


on March 27, 2013
at 08:57 PM

I notice it on an individual meal basis. If I'm eating 300-400 calorie meals I get cold easier but I lose weight if I keep it up. When I eat a big meal of 700, 800, maybe 1000 calories I get warm, I can tell I'm burning a lot of those calories off as heat, and presumably it's making a big difference to other parts of my metabolism as well.

So I mix the two approaches through the week.
Works for me.



on March 27, 2013
at 11:17 AM

My problem with this is that one cheat day leads to another and another and it is a really slippery slope for me. In fact, prior to Nov 2011 one cheat day in June led me to completely fall of the wagon until Nov.


on March 27, 2013
at 11:10 AM

I have done it a lot of times (and I guess I'll still do it) and my findings are a little bit different than yours.

For me, one cheat day may revert what I gained in a full week in terms of leanness, it depends a lot on how far I go into the cheating. Until 500 kcal surplus I would not notice it a lot but if I feast until full and satiated (and for me that could be A LOT), then I do.

Some benefits like increased recovery and faster metabolism and putting on muscle mass can certainly may come and be welcomed as in the end, carbs are anabolic, so that's why I don't worry too much about it as long as I eat quality food like you just described, but just for keeping the lowest body fat I could It didn't work for me.

Another thing to keep in mind is that upping carbs will lead to water retention so maybe the gained weight is partially reversible when going down again. I've found that after 1 or two days after the cheat I almost reverted to the previous state, body weight and composition and lean-wise. It depends a lot on the cheat itself.

That being said, sometimes I´ve even cheated two days in a row and still managed to keep almost the same lean. Three days in a row and everything would be messed up. For me, the real problem is that if I cheat one day it's more likely that I will the next one because my brain recovers the cravings I was having before. So for me, better stay clean almost all the time :D

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