What if you could eat more calories on certain days while still making progress toward your weight loss goals? Good news: you can! Most people who track calories or macros typically aim to hit the same targets each day, whether it’s Tuesday or Saturday. One exception is athletes who need to eat more carbs on particular training days, for instance. But the average person may also find the “calorie cycling” strategy helpful. Let’s use the example of a special dinner. Say you normally aim to eat 2,000 calories each day, but you want to have some flexibility for Saturday and Sunday when you’ll be hosting a special dinner event at your house. You plan to prepare some goodies for the event and you’ll probably have leftovers to eat Sunday as well. Instead of thinking of calorie allotment for a single day, let’s look at the week as a whole.
If you want to give yourself more flexibility Saturday and Sunday to enjoy more food while still eating in a caloric deficit, how about we steal 500 extra calories per day for Saturday and Sunday from the calories you would normally eat Monday through Friday?
Here’s an example:
On a normal week, say you eat 2,000 calories per day x 7 days in a week = 14,000 calories total for the week
If you eat 1,800 calories per day Monday through Friday, this equals 9,000 calories. Now you have 5,000 calories left to split between Saturday and Sunday and you are still hitting your 14,000-calorie total for the week!
This could be a strategy you use for special occasions or something you use every week if you need more flexibility on certain days. Think Friday pizza nights with the kids, Sunday brunch with the girls, etc. If you are eating in a calorie deficit for fat loss, as long as you are eating the same total calories for the week, you won’t stunt your progress!