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Refeeds / cheat meals and metabolic reactivation

Dugbet

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Justin Harris:

The cheat meal is a fully free meal. It's one meal where you don't have to worry about macros. When dieting, it's your chance to get all the cravings out of your system so that we don't have an excuses to fall off plan the rest of the week. In the offseason, it's a chance to get a high calorie meal in when appetite might be low (as well as to get any and all cravings out of your system so you don't have any excuse for not sticking to the food list the rest of the week). As for what I typically eat; it depends on how hungry I am. When dieting for a contest, I'll be starving... so the cheats turn into a bigger meal.... as much as a large pizza and tub of ice cream. When I'm not dieting, I'm not as hungry so the cheats basically just turn into a meal where I don't have to count macros. I typically get Thai food or sushi.
 

madg

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On prep i never cheated

On general i like go out to eat 1x week
 

qbkilla

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I think being depleted really plays a huge role in this as well. That side, strategy is still very important when incorporating these things. Say your maint is around 3000; you diet on 2000 a week for 6 days (6000 calorie deficit) and on the 7th day you eat 5000 calories. of those 5000 you burn 3000 so you're left with 2000. Assuming you're somewhat depleted (which you should be) you're not really cutting much into that 6000 calorie deficit. Let's assume you're left with 5000. Is that really too bad of a sacrifice for a reasonably nice cheat day that could also enhance your training for the next few days through glycogen replenishment? It's still nearly 7lbs a month...
I'd say it comes down to calories in vs calories out. You can definitely erase the defecit.

If someone is cutting on 2k calories per day, they could do adf. Assume they train eod. Fast on off days, eat 4k on training days. If that 4 k is wholesome filling food then every other day basically feels like a "cheat"
Ke
4k calories of junk may seem like nothing but if it's fruit, potatoes, meat, season it good cook it right, you may feel satisfied the whole next day you don't mind a fast eod. On the fast days coffee helps too.
 

FuriousAngus

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I'd say it comes down to calories in vs calories out. You can definitely erase the defecit.

If someone is cutting on 2k calories per day, they could do adf. Assume they train eod. Fast on off days, eat 4k on training days. If that 4 k is wholesome filling food then every other day basically feels like a "cheat"
Ke
4k calories of junk may seem like nothing but if it's fruit, potatoes, meat, season it good cook it right, you may feel satisfied the whole next day you don't mind a fast eod. On the fast days coffee helps too.
It all boils down to strategy (calorie cycling, as you outlined). If you're in a deficit of 1k a day for 6 days for example it's easy to have 1 10k calorie cheat day a week (assuming you're not dieting) and still maintain a good shredded physique and we're talking about someone who maintains on 3000 calories here; not some of the monsters we have on this board. You can do a lot with calorie cycling and it can definitely enhance your dieting experience if you're someone who needs to have such breaks.
 

Glory4God

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I have one theory. It actually has nothing to do with thyroid , but cortisol. Post cheat meal, after dieting hard for weeks, stress hormones probably drop and the body will be able to handle dieting longer. You don't need a cheat meal per say , but the cravings may get strong for some, making them more stressed.

Another is just psychological. Knowing you have an off meal , you'll push harder after.

Maybe simply switching up the diet too, or having a higher amount of nutrients which enables you to train/cardio harder too
 

Dugbet

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Possible benefits and risk with cheating on a diet?

Allowing some diet flexibility on weekends, holidays, and vacations might reduce boredom, which is a known contributor to dieting lapses, and be more realistic from a long-term perspective. However, flexibility might also increase exposure to high-risk situations, a the chance for loss of control. This is especially true among people with addictive personalities.

What does the research say?

While it is well documented that holidays are associated with fat gain it wasn’t until recently that studies started to investigate the influence of weekend eating patterns on short- and long-term body fat weight. The first study on weekend eating patterns was done on National Weight Control Registry subjects, who had successfully maintained a weight loss of at least 13.6 kg for 8 years .

The purpose of the study was to examine whether maintaining the same diet regimen across the week and year promotes weight control or if dieting more strictly on weekdays and/or non-holidays is more conducive to long-term maintenance. Participants who reported greater dieting consistency were more likely to maintain their weight within 2.3 kg during the subsequent year, whereas participants with lower dieting consistency scores were more likely to regain weight during the subsequent year. A more recent study, where subjects consumed on average 236 calories more on weekend days, confirmed that weekend dietary indulgences contribute to weight gain or cessation of weight loss.

It has also been documented that as the duration of a diet increases, a shift in the balance between the effort and pleasure of weight maintenance may occur, which makes it easier to stick to the diet and thereby increases the likelihood of continued maintenance. This is supported by findings showing that repeated exposure trains flavor preference. In other words, a strong correlation exists between a person’s customary intake of a flavor and his preference for that flavor.

 

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