When you ask someone about their cheat meal, you may get a nasty look or comment before they respond to you. There is such a negative connotation with the word “cheat” that few are using it to describe a break from their particular diet. There are some that don’t even consider it a break, because it’s a pre-planned or scheduled variation from the norm. So what should this break be called instead?

Alternatives to Cheat

People have come up with all kinds of alternatives to the word “cheat” for their breaks. Examples include “It’s Miller Time” or “Treat Meal” when it’s only one meal. For a planned full day out of the norm it could be something like “Exception Day,” “Oh Happy Meal Day,” “Take a Break Day,” “For Heaven’s Sake Day,” or “Relax Day.” With so many varieties of what you can use instead of “cheat” it’s best to call it by whatever name works for you and makes you comfortable. After all, it is your special meal!


Why have a cheat day?

Just as there’s a variety of names for this break, everyone has his/her own reasoning behind having one – from just being human to special occasions.

People can benefit from these mini diet breaks in different, personal ways.

– By being able to have food I crave or miss on cheat days, I’m better able to stay on plan. When I’m on plan, I feel no guilt. I’m not focused on what I can’t have, which therefore makes it all the more attractive. I know I can have it when I really want it, so I can focus on making healthy choices now.

– It reminds me that only “I” am in charge of my habits. Changing my way of eating and my lifestyle slowly over several years has made it my normal. I don’t do rules very well, it seems that if you have to constantly remind yourself about ‘rules’ then you haven’t changed your normal.

This cheat meal helps me mentally because I still pretty much know what I’m having (picking up a pizza or Chinese) and don’t have to think about it. It also helps me, so I don’t have to hear others in my household constantly asking when dinner will be ready on these late nights.

pizza, cheating the diet

As with everything in life, cheating doesn’t work for everyone. Some can take this healthy eating break to the extreme and not have any benefit. The key to having a successful “cheat” meal in your diet is still to plan for it!

Planning to Cheat

When planning a “cheat” meal you should adjust the rest of your day or week to accommodate it. This can be done by simple changes, such as increasing the amount of exercise you do or eating a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables. It’s not necessary to make changes, but it can still make you feel better. If you don’t want to make any adjustments, you need to mentally prepare yourself. Allow yourself to maintain or gain weight from having this break and don’t be hard on yourself when you do. The very next week you could be back to losing again!


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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans