NutritionHow “Cheat Days” Hurt Your Longterm Weight Loss Success

October 11, 2021by Mike Phoutrides0

Once upon a time, there was a teacher giving a lesson to his class on the importance of life’s priorities. He demonstrated this with an empty jar and various sizes of rocks: big rocks, pebbles, and sand. He showed the class that filling up the jar with the small stuff first would mean that fitting the rest of contents on his desk would be impossible. Amazingly, he revealed that if you start with the big stuff -the Big Rocks- you could fit everything into the jar! The moral of this wise teacher’s story is to give attention to the Big Rocks of life first because, if you’re not careful, you could be giving too much time and attention to things that are insignificant.

We feel the same way here at Cornerstone Weight Loss.

You’ll fail at any weight loss program if you ignore your taste buds long enough

It may seem counterintuitive, and feel free to disagree here, but after years of helping people like you better understand how food affects your body in common sense way that puts you in control of how you look, it seems like a weight loss program you can stick to is built upon the foods you really want. 

These foods are called your Big Rocks.

Imagine the person who starts off on your everyday, one-size-fits-all, non-science-backed weight loss program. They probably begin by taking out every food that brings them joy.

*Side note: Whatever foods you just thought about are your Big Rocks, by the way.

How long do you suppose will they stick to their weight loss program? Better yet, how long until they need a “cheat day?” 

As always, feel free to disagree with any and everything in this blog, but there is research that supports the notion that “cheat days” can be psychologically harmful to the point of developing eating disorders. I’m listing only one study, but feel free to check out more by doing a simple search online, and, as usual, comments and emails are always welcome.

How about a personal anecdote about “cheat days” before we move on?

In a previous blog post I briefly mentioned a very nonsensical weight loss program I was using (being used-by) that involved swapping all my carbohydrate out with beans and weekly “cheat days.” How about we go over some of the personal details and see how it may align with those who may currently be using “cheat days” as a tool to get through a weight loss program?

*Side note: Remember, this is purely anecdotal. This is my story, so you can disregard this entirely if you want to and move on to the next part of this blog post…

Without saturating your mind too much with the garbage methods that were used in this fraudulent weight loss program, the procedure was to replace all meals per week with various combinations of these foods: all carbohydrate with beans (only certain types of beans, by the way), a protein to eat with the beans (no pork and grass-fed beef only), and a vegetable (on the approved list, of course). 

The terms were this: from the above list, eat as much of this as possible throughout the day for six days of the week. 

Zero counting. Zero understanding. Zero individual evaluation. 

Just eat until you’re full, measurable results and a forensic approach be darned.

On the seventh day, the “cheat day,” eat as much of the food you’ve been dreaming and drooling about the past six days without holding back. The more the merrier. 

Repeat for an undefined amount of time.

Who wants some doughnuts on their deep-dish pizza?

Though the above mentioned pizza sounds delicious (not going to lie), this Yo-yo Diet Profiteer’s weight loss program (if you can actually call it that) did a remarkable amount of destruction to the psychology of my eating habits. 

First things first, initially I did experience some weight loss (more on how this trick works in a later blog post) and, being completely transparent, that first “cheat day” was epic. It took about three or four days of going back on the beans to feel normal again, but something peculiar was happening as the weeks progressed.

I started noticing that I was continuing this joke of a weight loss program because I was looking forward to the “cheat days” and no longer trying to achieve any weight loss. It got so bad, that I would think about next week’s “cheat day” during my last meal of the current “cheat day.” 

You see where this is going, right?

After a while, I began to justify spilling over that glutenous day into other days because, you know, a day is 24 hours after all! 

So there I was, overeating my face off from Friday night and stopping on Sunday morning, and to be perfectly clear this was NOT because I was hungry. This was psychological eating at its best because I was restricting myself all week of “cheat foods.”  

You see, labeling some foods “cheat foods” is risky business. It seems to place a feeling of guilt onto foods that you enjoy and it looks like it doesn’t help foods you enjoy-less taste better. 

How familiar does this sound to you? 

I get it, you’re in good company…

Over time, those guilt signals began to grow stronger until I actually feared certain foods. Over time, I was no longer really following the restrictive regimen prescribed by the Yo-yo Diet Profiteer, however I was still omitting certain foods from my life entirely from the irrational fear of them magically damaging my body. 

It was ridiculous, and, looking back, easily avoidable if I had a guide who actually cared enough about me to share some common sense knowledge of how food actually affects my body. 

Your overall diet and weight loss program is something to be BUILT, not torn down

Here’s where your Big Rocks will help you. 

In building your weight loss program, it’s essential you start with your Metabolic Snapshot, which you can easily learn how to evaluate on your own for free here. (Click, scroll down, and wait for the pop-up). Think about this as the foundation of a home; the more perfect, square, and level the foundation is, the easier the overall construction of the home will be.

Next are your Big Rocks. These are the foods you really don’t want to do without, ever. These are your unique likes and preferences and anyone else’s opinion does not matter, including the person wagging their finger at you and condemning your tastes as being “unhealthy.”

Got it? 


*Side note: Whether I am competitively natural bodybuilding, losing weight for the heck of it, or just living my everyday life maintaining the weight I feel comfortable with, I choose to not go a day without bacon and Lucky Charms. I get it, it sounds ridiculous (and maybe a little childish) but those are my Big Rocks. What’s yours? If you’d like to share, and feel free to say “no” here, it would be a pleasure to hear what your Big Rocks are. Please, email me at and, as always, comments on this blog are welcome!

If you would, consider your Big Rocks the frame of your weight loss program home. How do you want your weight loss program to look on a daily basis? Just as you would enjoy your home for the longterm if you framed it properly to give you the space you needed for your life’s goals, how long would you stick to your weight loss program if you could eat what brought you joy everyday?

This is how you BUILD a weight loss program for longterm success. 

Remember, a home is not ONLY a foundation and frame

A novel idea was discussed in this blog post and it will probably be met with some skepticism and a great deal of questions. It seems like many nay-sayers would scoff at the notion that beginning a weight loss program with all the tasty foods you enjoy is a good idea. Regrettably, many Yo-yo Diet Profiteers would rather have you use foods you enjoy as a tool of psychological manipulation to get you to buy-in to their program and do things you’d rather not do.

I get it.

In the coming blog posts, the rest of the story will be discussed along with many tools you can use everyday to fully construct your weight loss program. Though it seems best to have a guide during this process -just as you’d want a skilled architect to design your home- understanding and applying the principles of longterm weight loss can be a solitary act if you’re willing to put in the extra time and effort. As always, the aim of this blog and Cornerstone Weight Loss is to help you better understand how food affects your body in common sense way that puts you in control of how you look.

What actions can you take right now to release any phycological issues you have with some foods?

In order to get in touch with a professional who can help tailor your weight loss plan to you, click below, fill out the information, and a member of the Cornerstone Weight Loss team will reach out to you to get the results in weight loss you deserve.

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Cornerstone Weight Loss is a leading health and nutrition training company that helps people better understand how food affects their body in a common sense way that puts them in control of how they look, forever.
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To empower you with a clear understanding of how food uniquely affects your body, in a common sense way, that enables you to have complete control over how you look - for life.

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