Cheat Day Damage Control

by Aimee Keiluhn
Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Anaylst



Just so you know, eating clean does not mean having pizza in the bathtub (although that does give me an idea for my next cheat meal). Let’s face it; staying lean by eating a clean diet can be boring. Having protein shakes, chicken, fish, vegetables and sweet potatoes day in and day out can make you nuts. I cannot begin to tell you how sick I am of CHICKEN!

Enter the cheat meal. Cheat meals can keep you sane in an otherwise monotonous weekly menu.

I really hate the IIFYM people (If It Fits Your Macros). Truthfully, I don’t hate them. I’m just jealous. They “fit” in small cheat foods in their daily menu as long as it fits into their Protein/Carb/Fat ratios for the day,

I, however, cannot do that. I cannot eat a half a cup of ice cream and be happy. I’m not built that way. I want quantity. The last time I ate a half cup of ice cream and then told myself that was it for the day, I ended up on the serve-yourself frozen yogurt tour, hitting every place within a 10 mile radius, spending $30 on soft-serve frozen yogurt topped with just about every topping they had.

My name is Aimee and I am a sugar addict!



What about refeeds? There is a method bodybuilders use called refeeds which essentially allow you to increase calories for a specific period of time (usually 24-48 hours). Some do an equal refeed, meaning they increase Protein, Carbs and Fat in equal amounts. Some increase carb intake only. The problem I have with this is, you are just increasing the amount of the same food you’ve been eating all week. I DON’T WANT MORE CHICKEN AND BROWN RICE!  I WANT A CHEESEBURGER, SWEET POTATO FRIES AND ICE CREAM! 



I’ve had my share of cheat meals and cheat days over the years. I have also tried every conceivable way of minimizing the damage I’ve done. I’ve decided to put together a brief list of cheat day damage control tricks that have worked for me to keep weight gain and bloat to a minimum.

Remember: this is what has worked for ME! You are welcome to try some or all of my suggestions, however I make no guarantees that it will definitely work for you.



One big suggestion is no big cheats until you are very close to or at your goal weight and body fat percentage goal. This is important for 2 reasons. First, if you are only a few weeks into your weight loss journey cheating puts you at risk for bingeing and getting derailed off your plan. Eating clean all of the time won’t become the “norm” until you are 6 months or more into it.

Second, if you have a lot of weight to lose, cheating frequently (even once a week) can set you back 1 or 2 weeks. I only started weekly cheats when I got to my goal weight and body fat percentage goal. On average, I gain about 3 pounds after a cheat meal. It takes me 2 full days to get back to where I started before the cheat meal. If you have a lot of weight to lose it will take you twice as long to achieve your goals if you have a big weekly cheat meal. So, I highly recommend you don’t do it!





  • Grapefruit Juice – This is a Slow Carb Diet/4 Hour Body suggestion of drinking 6-8 ounces of grapefruit juice just before cheat meals. It is supposed to spike your insulin thus preventing an insulin spike from your cheat meal. The hope is, your cheat meal won’t be stored as fat.
  • Weight training and cardio the morning of cheat meal
  • Brief (2 minute) exercise immediately before and 60-90 minutes after cheat meals
  • Extra caffeine (coffee and yerba mate tea)
  • Lemon water
  • No big cheats until you are at or very close to your goal weight and body fat percentage goal.
  • Having only a cheat meal instead of whole cheat day
  • Fasting the entire day after cheat meal
  • Weight training and cardio the day after a cheat meal
  • 1200 mg of Cissus Quadrangularis before and after the cheat meal. (I don’t know why it works. I take CQ for joint health. The cheat day damage control was just an accidental side effect.)
  • End the day with flax seed – Doing this makes sure everything runs smoothly the next day. Put ground flax seed in some oatmeal, a protein shake or make a flax muffin. (See recipe below). I use a blend of Flax, chia and hemp. Just make sure the flax seeds are ground.





  • ¼ c Flax Meal
  • 2 tbsp. ground Flax/Chia/Hemp Blend
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk

Directions: Put all dry ingredients into an un-greased coffee mug. Stir dry ingredients so baking powder is evenly distributed. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Microwave for 1 minute.

Optional: Drizzle with raw local honey and top with a sprinkle of local bee pollen





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