What is it?
Cheat day is that glorious 24-hour period where you allow yourself to shovel anything and everything into that gaping maw located on your face. Cookies, candy, soda, pizza, donuts -- all are fair game.
When should you do it?
At its shortest (without destroying your progress), it is once per month. At longest, once per year. This usually depends on how far along you are in sticking with your diet. The longer you've been eating clean, the less desire you'll have for chocolate.
Should there be caloric restrictions?
Some of the more anal bodybuilders do, some don't. It's really up to personal preference. However, the longer you go without a cheat day, the less of a dent shooting way over your daily calorie count will cause.
Honestly, though, after you've really started eating healthy on a regular basis, you'll find that those sugary sweets aren't really as enjoyable anymore, leading you to eat overall less of everything anyway.
Should you do it?
Again, this really depends on you as a person.
If you're worried a cheat day will send you careening back into a negative spiral of bad eating, don't tempt yourself. Stay the course and be proud.
If you're sure you can control yourself and immediately jump back on clean eating the following day, go for it.
Are there any warnings?
Be a smart shopper. This is a one day thing so make sure you only buy what you can finish in one day, otherwise you'll wind up with leftovers that carry over into a non-cheat day. It's much better to underestimate than overestimate how many Cheetos you can finish off within 24-hours.
Worry about slipping back into bad eating habits. While perfectly acceptable to do occasionally, this one cheat day could easily lead to a few cheat meals through the week. Those few cheat meals could then lead to two cheat meals each day. Those two cheat meals then lead you right back to where you started.
The only way to counter this devolution is to remain aware of what you're eating. Cheat day is basically a food vacation. Live it up as much as you can, but you better be damn ready to get back to work once it's over.
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.