A cheat meal should be more looked at as a refeed meal the a cheat meal. Eating a clean food diet has started to improve your gut health, immune system, cognitive function and sleep, this is not the time to go out and eat all the foods that will run you straight back to where you started from.
The ideal of a cheat meal is that for the past at least 2 weeks you have depleted the amount of glycogen in your muscles by eating low carbohydrate foods and have now created a lager then normal sensitivity to carbs. Your muscles are depleted of glycogen from weight training and in demand of carbs to restore those empty glycogen stores, this is the optimal time for carbs to be used to feed your muscles and not your waist line.
Because carbohydrates have a big impact on hunger hormones and your metabolism cutting them out for a long period of time will cause your metabolism to slow and weight loss also to slow or stop. Cheat meals or refeed meals are designed to reboots your metabolism and hunger hormones and keep the body burning body fat.
Step 1. Figure out how often you can cheat. The leaner you are and the more often you train the more frequently you can make a cheat meal work in your favor. You want to be strict low carbs for 14 days (50g of carbs per day only from vegetables). After these 14 days you can have a cheat/refeed meal and then again after every 6-7 days of low carbs. Once you get leaner you can increase the frequency of these meals. Save your meal for dinners out with your partner, friends or family so you don’t feel like your goal to lose weight is effecting your social life too much. Best day to have a cheat/refeed meal is the night of a hard weight training session or the night after, dinner is your best time.
Step 2. Decide how you will cheat before hand. Figuring out what you will use your cheat meal on before hand is a good idea, look up the menu before heading to the restaurant or plan what you will cook, this way you will make the right choice and not be rushed and choose a meal that doesn’t work in favor of weight loss.
Step 3. Determine your carb allotment. First time cheating/refeeding is a bit of a test, follow the morning after assessment to see how you went. I recommend women start at 50g and men 75g of carbohydrates from white rice. How do you know if you ate to much or too less, you should wake up in the morning feeling flatter and leaner, only a little but looking in the mirror you should be able to tell.
- If you wake up feeling leaner then you got it right, next time try eat 20% more carbs then last time and reassess.
- If you wake up the same it can go either way so next time increase by 20% more carbs then last time and reassess.
- If you wake up feeling fatter you had a little to much, reduce carbs by 20% next time and reassess.
- If you wake up bloated and feeling horrible you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, avoid that food next time, rice and gluten free are your best options.
Step 4. Make the best cheat/reefed choice you can. This is an indulgent meal not a blowout so choose a cheat meal that is higher in carbohydrates, moderate protein and lower in fats. Just because its a cheat meal doesn’t mean you go out of control eat what ever you like, we are still focused on improving health and getting you your ideal body, use this meal to have foods you haven’t been able to having, rice, quinoa, gluten free pizza are all good choices aim to stay away from trans fats and deep fried foods.
Step 5. Eat your protein first. As with every meal you have you still need to get your protein in, eat your protein first. Women are still looking for a minimum of 100g of lean meat and men 200g of lean meat.
Step 6. When your butt leaves the chair, no more eating. This a cheat meal, not a cheat buffet or a cheat day, choose your meal, sit down to that meal and when its finish or you leave your seat for any reason its over, whichever come first, no going for re fills, bathroom breaks, 10 minute breather, those all show your eating too much.
Enjoy yourself but remember your goals.
To Healthy Living