I have found that I like that same structure with my eating plan. So as far as cheat meals go, what I've found that works best for me is having one planned cheat meal a week(I actually have always called it a treat meal, not a cheat!).
I have tried some different things recently with my treat meals. I've tried being a little more relaxed about it and just having a treat whenever I feel the urge, instead of having it planned. I've tried having a few small treats throughout the week instead of one huge meal. And I have even tried having a whole day where I pretty much just let myself eat whatever I feel like.
But what I've learned is this: having one or two treats throughout the week just doesn't satisfy me. And I don't think that having a whole day of eating whatever I want is good because I usually just end up eating way too much junk all day. I may have those days occasionally, usually on holidays or family get-togethers...but NOT on a regular basis. And I wouldn't suggest that anyone else do that, especially if you are trying to lose weight. (Remember-that is NOT my goal!)
I like to eat. I like to eat bad food. And I like to eat a lot of it at one time! So I am going back to what I have been doing for past 5 years. It has worked for me this long, so why fix somethin' if it ain't broke, right?
I can't lie, I like to stuff my face!
I like to have my treat meals planned out. I like to be able stuff my face and eat as much food as I want in one sitting. That is what satisfies me-one BIG cheat meal. Then I'm ready to get right back on track the very next day. I am able to eat clean the rest of the week, knowing that I have my next cheat meal to look forward to!
**Remember, I am not trying to lose weight or body fat. If you are trying to lose weight, I would suggest that you NOT have a huge cheat meal every week. One small treat each week would probably be better, or a bigger cheat meal every two weeks. Or you could have a "healthy" treat meal each week, where you take something that may not normally be very good for you and make it in a way that is healthier. For example: homemade pizza on whole wheat crust and reduced fat cheese, pasta with whole wheat spaghetti and lean ground beef or turkey, whole wheat banana muffins, lean beef or turkey cheeseburger on whole wheat bun with sweet potato fries, grilled cheese sandwich with mozarella cheese on Ezekiel bread, etc.