18-01-16 | Food | weight-loss |

4 tips to recover from a cheat day (or two!)

Now and then I do it: eating for pleasure and not out of necessity. In order to maintain my healthy lifestyle I schedule certain days where I’m allowed to eat whatever my heart, and belly, desires. It’s called a typically cheat day (or two!), but what happens after? How to bounce back after a binge?

So let me tell you why I prefer to add cheat meals into my diet. First of all it gives me a psychological break from the stressful feeling associated with following a strict food schedule. Secondly, a cheat meal results in a kind of “guilty feeling” that gives me a boost of motivation to stick to my eating plan afterwards.

Doesn’t sound so bad right? No, but I still feel a little “bad” after a well deserved cheat meal. I always tell myself that if I can’t lose 1kg weight in one day, I can’t gain 1kg weight in one cheat day. Though it’s the truth, I still feel knocked down! Therefore I wanted to find out how you can get back into your normal plan and regain control after cheating. The following tips will help you to deal with the day after a cheat day: easy and effective!

1. Hello protein and veggies!
The day after your cheat day you should choose a high protein and veggie day. Cheat meals count tons of (bad) calories, so combine it with a low-calorie day after and it will help you to balance your calorie intake. Click here to get inspired for delicious low-calorie recipes.

 2. Bumping up a calorie burn – but don’t over-do-it!
This one has to be understood properly. It’s ok to bump up a calorie burn with a workout the day after a cheat day. However, most people get the urge to do an intense long cardio session to feel like you’ve balanced out the bad eating. Wrong! Endurance cardio sessions in combination with an improper diet will stress your body maximum. Stress overload causes cortisol and cortisol is a stress hormone that has a relation to fat storage. Bad news! So don’t go crazy and just do an extra 20 min of cardio or add a couple of extra sets to your weight-training routine.

3. Drink water – lots of water!
Cheat meals consist of bad foods and bad foods have lots of salt or sugar – or both! The best way to bounce back after a cheat meal is to flush the salt, sugar and other toxins out of your system by drinking water. Try to drink at at least 2L the day after your cheat day.

4. Move on! Hold on!
This one might sound logical, however in practice it can be hard to put a cheat day behind you. Personally, I’m still (secretly!) thinking about it 2 days after.. It’s a sin, because there’s nothing you can do about it except moving forward and turning your cheat into motivation. A cheat meal won’t hurt us as long as we have a plan to regain control. Include my 4 tips into your plan and you’re always back on track the day after a cheat meal!

How do you feel after a cheat meal? Can anybody relate to my story?  I would love to hear from you girls and tips and tricks are always welcome 🙂 Thank you!

Featured Posts

  • Lydia


    This is exactly what I needed to read right now! I had a bad weekend food wise so today I decided to bounce back to my strickt fiodplan and trainingschedule. While doing my cardio I just read you blog and I’ll just do my usual amount of cardio and won’t go mindfucking. Thanks for the motivation!

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi Lydia!

      Thank you so much for reading my blog post and leaving me a message!
      So great to read my article supported you and gives you a motivation boost!

      Keep up the good work and don’t give up sweety!

      With love,

    • Teneal

      This was exactly what I needed to hear I’ve been eating clean and working out for a good amount of time now and treated myself to some ice cream (and a few other things). I told myself that I’m someone that needs a cheat meal here and there but the guilt is terrible! I really needed to read this to set my mind at ease a little bit. Thank you!

    • Cyn

      Thanks so much for your writing about how you feel after a cheat day and how to get past it. I struggle when going to movies with my family, especially since I started the tradition of popcorn and m&m’s mixed together for our movie watching treat! I caved and had a small portion but a small portion of popcorn and m&m’s was still a portion too much and I’m wrecked thinking that I just blew over a month of really good eating habits. Will try your tips and and hopefully feel better about this soon.

      • Aaron

        Love the idea of mm’s mixed with popcorn tho as a treat ))) can I ask is it chocolate or peanut mm’s?? )))

  • Anne-Loes

    Hi babe!

    VERY recognizable…
    And let’s be honest with each other, I guess that everyone isn’t very happy the day after a cheat day. The difficult thing with me is, I can’t get back on my healthy eating easily. So what I’m doing (it’s like I have this sugar rush also the day after), I make a healthy breakfast and lunch in my head or for real already. Like breakfast. Cool your eggs the day you have a cheat meal for the the day after when you start following your “diet” again.
    Preparing helps me a lot.
    So I had a lovely family weekend with way to much food. No not one, not two but 4 days of sugar stuff. Time to get back on track!
    If you want some healthy and delicious recipes you can always take a look on my blog as well 🙂

    Im sure you like it!


    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi sweety!

      Thank you so much for reading my article and leaving me a message!
      It’s great to read this is recognizable for you and I’m not alone :p

      I totally understand where you’re coming from and appreciate your tip! I agree, prepping’ is key!

      Thanks for sharing your blog, I had a look and I love it! Great vibe!

      Keep up the good work babe and I hope we stay in touch 🙂

      With love,

  • Flor

    Ha, wat een goed artikel, dankjewel!

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi lieve Flor,

      Hartelijk dank voor je berichtje, wat leuk om van je te horen 🙂
      Hoop dat je ermee geholpen bent!


  • khadina Ghanny Mohammed

    Love this article.

  • Kisal Goonarathne

    Thanks for the tips really useful

  • Taranjeet singh k

    Hello this happen to me i start my cheat meal day for 1 day but when i am out of city so my weight increase by 2 to 3 kgs and i would like to set back my weight to the same….

  • melanie

    Thank you! This is just what I needed.

  • KB

    I really appreciate this article, i went (nearly) all out today as I went to Panera and a potluck and by the end of today I’ll have eaten maybe 2500 calories…good advice and next time, I’ll try having a cheat meal instead of a whole cheat day, lol

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi KB, thank you for reading my article and sharing your thoughts on it!

      A little ‘cheating’ with food is part of life and as long as we balance it out, it’s fine. Hopefully this post will guide you through it. Good luck with your fit journey, and let me know if you have any questions!

      With love,

  • Neexe

    Just waht i needed to read! Today has been a food disaster. I have never ate so much in my life and tomrrow is going to be off plan too! Plenty of watter and a salad on monday

  • Pam

    I have a BIG cheat day coming up Saturday…we’re going to Red Robin for lunch and Chickfila for supper, and there will be lots of baked goods and girl scout cookies. I’m already in a panic so I came for tips. I’m going to cut calories before and after, I’ll do the veggies and protein like you suggest and drink tons of water. Thanks!

  • Angie

    I am getting married in a month so for the last few months I haven’t been working out at all because for one I tend to get bulky when I work out (and I don’t want to look bulky in my wedding dress) and also lately I have been occasionally going to sleep late at night due to wedding prepping etc. so my daily schedule has been very inconsistent these past few months & I am definitely one of those athletes that has to go all or nothing. So that being said. I have however been eating super well and healthy which I generally do anyway but my weight has been exactly where I want it to be for my wedding. Wellllllll I had a cheat meal yesterday-dinner, and let me tell you it felt sooo good, dessert too, lots and lots of it! (I too felt super guilty tho afterwards but I also had the boost of motivation to get back on track from it). My question is, I intend to follow your steps to get back on track today, but if I don’t do any type of working out or cardio since I haven’t been, will I still be okay? Or should I do cardio today just to help w burning the calories I consumed? I know you said don’t go overboard on the cardio so I didn’t know them if that also applied to someone like me who has my daily nutrition mapped out with no added cardio or strength training (for only one more month).

  • Angie

    (I haven’t been doing any cardio either the past few months)

  • Molly

    Thanks for the tips on eating protein and veggies the day after <3

  • rohit aggarwal

    thanks for the information keep it up guys

  • cordell

    my last cheat day was today. i really over did it by 700 calories 9: but tomorrow i will get up go to the gym fast and drink plenty of fluids!!! thanks for the help! xxxx

  • Janaina

    Yes, I can totaly relate. I just had ny cheat day yester day, and I allready do all the things youblisted and they rwally do work very well, what I also do though is intermitted fasting the day after, I do it unconcously though because after my cheat day I do not feel very hungry for a long time the day after. What I also do te day after, is I drink a lot off detox tea.

  • Matt Clackett

    Omg it makes perfect sense. I’ve done a 10 days intensive work out and clean eating ready for holiday tomorrow.

    But broke up from work and went straight to the pub, via the restaurant then the supermarket on way home for ice cream Pringles & sweets.

    Beating myself up this morning as thought I’d undone everything but no. A low calorie low carb day today with a run should diet me out. Thanks x

  • Sanidhya Agrawal

    Cheat day is a part of life ass long as we are following a fixed diet plan. Instead of making whole day ass cheat day, I’ll prefer to have cheat meal one time.
    Great Work.

  • Deepa

    My problem is that I don’t know how to just have a cheat meal. I tend to eat all the sugary food I was restricting for the past week or so right after that one planned cheat meal. Then I feel like a crap. Luckily though the guilt helps me make fresh start the next day. The only thing wrong I was doing unintentionally is #2 from your list. I just did that today too. Did more cardio. Then had my breakfast and came across your post in a search for how not to turn my one so well deserved cheat meal into a binge afterwards. I think I do that because on the planned cheat day I try to do better than other days. I’d eat extra clean lunch or perhaps I should say unbalanced lunch where I’d just each tons of veggies thinking about all the calories coming up next and not to cause too much damage. I don’t know where all my motivations go after that one cheat meal and I just binge and binge until I can’t eat anymore.

  • Emily

    Omg this helped me so much!!!! I can totally relate to the guilty feeling after cheat days!!! Thank you sooo much for sharing these amazing tips!!!!! Appreciate it lots!!! :)))

  • Emily

    Omg this helped me so much!!!! I can totally relate to the guilty feeling after cheat days!!! Thank you sooo much for sharing these amazing tips!!!!! Appreciate it lots!!! :))

    • Jasino

      Hi what I do after a cheat day is have 12 hour fasting no workout so I save energy let my body use up that bad food and eat really smaller than regular potions very clean

  • Kimberly

    Thank you! I felt relieve now
    Sometimes i cant help my self feeling guilty everytime i do the cheatday i ended my self being stress and thinking that i’ll be fat in just one cheatday
    I am so glad i have read this tips so that i will not feeling guilty and stress anymore


    Omg this helped me so much!!!! I can totally relate to the guilty feeling after cheat days!!! Thank you sooo much for sharing these amazing tips!!!!! Appreciate it lots!!! :)))
    link text

  • Aaron

    Fantastic article thankyou! I’ve been eating clean on and off over the last year but not totally committed but still working out last 2 weeks I’ve upped the cardio along with weights and diet has been super clean but had a wedding yesterday and feeling guilty today that I indulged but now I dont feel so bad but I am back on the plan today trying to tell myself guilt is a useless emotion lol

  • Kanishk

    Very well written blog.

    I am following 1800 calories day diet but on cheat day dinner went to 4k calories alone. But you after reading your blog , I’m felling less guilty and more motivated to go back to diet next day.

    Next day will fix this with fibres and will quick go back on track to eating clean and working out.

    Best regards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *