When is the best time to have a cheat meal? I am trying to work out my diet. I have been following my program on the weekdays and cheating on the weekend. I'm just trying to pretty much maintain now. The biggest problem with this is that I feel like crap most of the weekend. So I'm trying to figure out a new plan.
When I was working with Shelby, he'd have me take my cheat meals after a workout. I was wondering if I'd be better off having a cheat meal after each of my 4 workouts instead of blowing up the whole weekend. I think my cheat meals would be a little more subdued this way and definitely better planned. Short of my shakes, the weekends have been a complete free for all.
Actually, now that I have thought about it for a few minutes I'd probably keep it down to 3 meals a week. My Friday night workout is not over until late and then it's about a 40 minute drive. By the time I get home, I just want to sleep. i'll just continue to bring a pwo meal to the gym in tupperware.
I save my cheat meals for the weekends as I usually end up drinking as well. During the week I am able to keep a better routine with work and such.
As far as when to cheat I find it better to implement them on a day off while you are resting and recovering. I never agreed with eating less on off days as that is when you body is growing and needs the nutrients. Also it is definitley better to have your cheat meals planned and not just binge on food randomly. This will keep you in control and not let the food control you.
Another thing is don't focus to much on the cheat meal becauseing doing so takes away from a lifestyle you chose and it says the food is controlling you. When you cheat enjoy it and don't think too much about it then go right back to your typical nutrition plan.
Here is a quote that serves many well, its the Capital "S" directive:
No Snacks, No Seconds, No Sweets, No Sugars, No Supersizing, except one day of the week that starts with S!
Originally Posted by Allen Cress
why not just have one wherever it lands instead of planning one?
for example if you planned it on a friday and have one... then your buddies call you up on saturday to go grub you won't be having back to back "cheats." If something social doesn't happen that week you can just either skip it all together or just have one when you feel you really need it. (cravings uncontrollable)
there is no real physiological importance of a cheat meal, so have one when you need a mental break away from dieting.
You can have whenever as long as its not just uncontrolled and you just grab food and eat it. Again it comes down to ones mindset and approach.
Originally Posted by ryuage
There can absolutely be a physiological need to have a cheat or what i call a re-feed meal, especially when dieting to get lean or As I have do on the Cycle diet.
Thanks guys. I like your quote Allen. I have found over the years and especially recently, I need more structure than ever on the weekends. There are actually weekends where I am cheating, but actually eating less calories. My life revolves around eating, training, and recuperating (which I like by the way). So when I lose focus, I could go the better part of a day without eating and that's not good.
Wen I say cheat I don't want it to be a free for all anymore with fast food crap. I am going to really try to put down some higher quality meals than what my past cheat meals have been. I am going to eat these after training. A sample meal might be a few baked breaded pork chops, some apple sauce, a couple cups of a flavored rice, with maybe a coke or two or a candy bar. I really feel like this will work better for me.
So for maintenance I am going to try 3 high carb days which will include a cheat meal after my training, 3 medium days one of which will be a training day, and one low day. On the three non training days i am going to hit the treadmill for 25 minutes of hiit. I might throw one conditioning workout in there also consisting of prowler work or strongman medley stuff. I'll be starting this the second week of August when I get back from vacation. I'll keep you all posted.
Thanks for the advice even though I clearly did not listen to any of you. I must be a total d1ck. I ask for advice and then completely disregard it. Seriously, I'll be curious as to what you guys think about my plan.
The more depleted you are the better. IMO a cheat/binge/refeed whatever will have nearly no negative effect if One - you are extremely depleted. Two - it has a timeframe rather than a calorie frame, basically just keep it to a meal, not multiple ones strung together becoming a cheat day. And Three: lipids are very limited, protein too but to a lesser degree.
I think I would plan my cheat meals after training as well. Psychologically I would think I was doing "less damage" that way, even if it really didn't make that big a difference. Often I think the biggest factor in this whole thing is knowing yourself and knowing when and how much you can have without putting yourself into a tailspin for several days or weeks.
It doesn't help when eating junk food really gives you the craving for more junkfood later. Is that something in the brain that junk food causes a release of that makes you crave more junk?
Usually when I eat a "cheat meal" I replace one of my meals calorie per calorie. I eat a piece of pie, 350 calories. That's more than a meal for me considering I eat 8 times a day. Maybe I shouldn't be one to talk since I'm still on the losing side of the diet, not maintaining. Anyway, I say feed the cravings. Don't schedule a vice, or you might end up forcing yourself back onto the losing side again...
What's your rationale for placing cheat meals or refeeds on days off? If you're gonna eat more calories then doing so on lifting days will at least keep better partitioning while allowing you to eat the junk.
Yes your muscle are growing on off days but that doesn't mean they don't grow on training days or that concentrating calories around training won't enhance recovery. If there is ever a time to cheat I'd say do it right after a workout to minimize the damage / actually get some improvement out of it. Around training is when your body needs calories the most.
Vin, what do you consider a high, med, and low carb day?
Some great info on this thread.
I try to eat as clean as I can, so that when a situation does come up (like a bbq or hosted meal at school or work) I can just enjoy myself because I know that the majority of my diet is good. I think it's fine too if you have some regular cheat meals built into your schedule, as long as the majority of your diet is on track. Everything in moderation.
I'm intermittent fasting with the leangains approach. Yesterday, I had 1500 calories, mostly protein. Today, I'll eat 2700-2800 calories. My post-workout cheat meal will be two Arby's hot ham and cheese and a "gyro", two baked potato with sour cream and butter, plus two scoops casein after my workout. My 2nd meal will be a 10-ounce steak with a side of tomato and cucumber, plus a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
I've lost 15 pounds of fat in under 2 months this way. All my lifts are improving, I don't feel deprived and I train fasted (well, I take a scoop of whey pre-workout) and eat my high-GI carbs after my workout. After that I'm back to slow carbs and berries or low carb depending on how my body temperature's running.
It seems like I'm eating a lot, but it's still a 650-a-day calorie deficit, some days I'll drop it to a greater deficit depending on how I feel or if I have two consecutive non-lift days.
Long-winded, but I'd stick to post-workout cheat meals 90% of the time and occasionally throw-in a cheat day, but one that meets your daily protein requirements and maintains your calorie goals. I recently had a calorie surplus day. I ate an entire 12" pizza loaded with extra cheese and all the meats they had, plus two tacos and a large super potato ole from Taco John's. My metabolism thanked me.
My vote is to do what makes you feel happier and more sane. Either way can work, which one will make you happier and is easier to be consistent with?
A month before I went on vacation I fell into a rut where I was terribly inconsistent. But, I was able to maintain 170-172 during this period.
I would be low carb + 4 hours cardio Mon - Fri. Everything was 100% and I found that structure of the working day and early evenings made it easy for me to stay on the plan.
Weekends... Another story altogether... I had good intentions but normally fell into eating everything in sight and every now and then this slipped into Monday and Tuesday.
But, all through this time I was able to maintain 170-172 because of the 4-5 days of 100% behaviour.
So for example After a weekend bingeing I would weigh 175/176 and feel a bit crappy. I would then put in work 5 days straight and by Friday I would be 170.... Then the cycle would continue. A big eating weekend, put on 5-6lbs and then pull it off by the following weekend.
I'm not saying this is the most ideal approach, but it DID allow me to maintain my bodyweight.
Also, I stuck to the shelby plan Mon - Fri 100%. When it came to the weekend and I knew I would be in trouble, I followed an intermittent fasting approach. I would get up early and be as active as possible. So perhaps a huge long walk with the dog, or 45min cardio and some swimming. Then I would try and hold out eating till about 2pm.
If you do cardio in the morning and hold off eating through to 2pm, it's actually pretty hard to totally **** things up from an overall calorie perspective.
Sometimes I would hold my first meal till 6pm and have a huge meal with dessert and my weight wouldn;t even change.
Again, it's not how I wanted to do things, but if you're goal is to maintain for the time being, I think this approach will work and also allow you total freedom on the weekend and keep you sane.
Oh also, the other reason I prefer to take lumps of time off is because for me at least one cheat meals always seems to turn into 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Once I start I find it hard to stop.
Therefore an approach of a set period of time VERY clean and then a small set period (say a day) of whatever you want) works better because by the time the end of the day is up, I am ready to be good again.