Science behind cheat days?

Discussion in 'Fitness & Nutrition' started by Aspirin, Jan 28, 2010.

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  1. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    Is there some physiological reason why people who are cutting take cheat days? Does it fool the body into revving up its metabolism again? Or are they just to keep the persons sanity and reward them for sticking to their diet?
     
  2. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    I looked but saw nothing about this in the nutrition edu
     
  3. Thomas Crenshaw

    Thomas Crenshaw New Member

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    i think its a little of both. small reward for your mental health, and it might have something to do with mixing things up inside the body. not sure on specifics though.
     
  4. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    :werd: im in the same boat as you. But I'm tantalizingly close to reaching my goal by March 6, so doing that will be enough for my mental health...I dont need to cheat.

    I just dont wanna be fucking my weight loss by not taking a cheat.
     
  5. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    :drool:
     
  6. smb is me

    smb is me New Member

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    AS I UNDERSTAND IT:

    Its especially important on carb restricted diets.

    But in general, if you are going really low on the cals, once a week it helps to keep the thyroid hormone levels in check, (either T3 or T4, not sure. I think T3 is the good one, and T4 is the bad, could have it backwards) keeps the good one up, and keeps the bad one down. Helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, and lastly helps to keep from over production of cortisol--cortisol is released in spades when you are stressed. Cortisol impedes fat loss. By nature, i heavily calorie restrictive diet and vigorous exercise puts a lot of stress on your body.

    Another way to consider it is a "Cheat day" is to your diet as a rest day is to your workout.

    All this is without taking the psychological component into account. Bear in mind, that cheat day can be interpreted differently by different people. In this context it is a higher calorie day comprised of healthy and clean foods. It does no good for your gains to say: "Oh, i need to have a day of beer, donuts and pizza to keep my metabolism in check."

    In retrospect, I think not having a once a week, or once every other week recarb day was one of the biggest mistakes I made on my low carb diet. I got the results i wanted anyways, but the recarb days probably wouldn't have slowed down my progress, may have sped up my progress, and either way would have had me feeling 100% better during my diet than i did--b/c i felt like death for the last month or so.


    note, i am not an expert on this stuff. most my information is a vague paraphrasing of articles i have read on here, bb.com, or tnation.com, interspersed with anecdotes from my own experience.
     
  7. smb is me

    smb is me New Member

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  8. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    Awesome, I'll check out the article now.

    I am always eating less than 100g/carbs/day, and I feel fine, but it does sound like itd be a good idea to eat a fat plate of spaghetti once a week...I think I can handle that ;)
     
  9. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    oh wow that article recommends a refeed q 4-5 days @ 25-50% over maint...That seems like a big jump for me, but I have stalled in my losses. I will start trying a 25% over maint with lots of carbs q 5 and see what happens :noes:

    god I cant fucking wait to eat rice and spaghetti :yum:
     
  10. smb is me

    smb is me New Member

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    i was on <100 for about a month and a half, <50 for about another month and a half. I didn't do any "re-feeds" b/c i didn't feel i needed it, and b/c i felt like it would slow down my progress. I was going to get to 7%bf no matter what.

    Somewhere along that 3-3+month track of dieting i moved from feeling great and having all the energy in the world, to being completely exhausted everyday. Granted i was runnign 4 miles 5 mornings a week and working out 6-7 evenings a week, but it was to the point where getting up to go take a piss sound like too much effort.

    I definitely think refeeds would have done wonders to keeping me "alive" during that cut phase. Also, I won't diet back down again without having some strategically planned weeks off in there. 3-4 wks of dieting, 1 wk of maintenance.

    Its easy to get in the, i want to get as lean as possible as quick as possible mode. Admirable even. But in the grand scheme of life, you are better off getting to the same point but taking 2-3 weeks longer to get there, and enjoying yourself the entire time.

    Plus, from a psychological standpoint, if you go with method A-as lean as quick as possible-its almost like torture. So then when you are done dieting its hard not to be anal about shit, b/c you are in taht, it was so hard and brutal to get here, mindset, that i don't want to eat this or that and gain any fat back.

    Whereas if you diet intelligently, with a little more patience and big picture in mind, your overall experience of the diet will be that it wasn't that bad, and it wasn't that hard. Which will give you a better mindset on bulking, or just living life in general afterwards. And you won't dread cutting back down again when the time comes.
     
  11. smb is me

    smb is me New Member

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    before jumping into something THAT big, if i were you i'd wait till tomorrow when more FN'ers are awake and can chime in with their thoughts.

    another good article on refeeds. went to TNATION and searched "refeeds"

    http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_...ining_performance_nutrition/nutrition_quest_3
     
  12. BrownWalrus

    BrownWalrus New Member

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    how about simply for the fact that it won't make any shred of difference if you cheat 1 day out of 6 and that we are not all competing/mr olympia?
     
  13. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    If I am 1000 cals in deficit 6 days per week, I'm on pace to lose 2 lbs/wk. If I go and eat like a monster 1 day/wk and am 3k over...Thats half of my hard work I just obliterated.

    I think that does matter.
     
  14. el es dee

    el es dee ...through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain.

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    Thats not cheating then, thats binging.

    There are many important reasons for having cheat meals, seems everyone is getting a little piece of the puzzle in this thread.

    First, psychologically, it is refreshing. A kind of "light at the end of the tunnel" some people need this, others don't. I personally am not disciplined enough to do this, I have to go all or nothing.

    Second, physically, It helps replenish glycogen stores in the muscles, however temporarily, which is nice.

    Third, physiologically, when you cheat, you will undoubtedly eat a bunch of carbs. These carbs will increase the production of leptin by adipose tissue. Leptin mediates thyroid hormone, which is crucial for pretty much every bodily function, including lypolysis (fat loss).

    FYI there is no bad form of thyroid hormone, there is only active and inactive. T4 is the inactive form of the hormone and must be converted to T3 in the liver.

    I think thats about it.
     
  15. JeremyD

    JeremyD New Member

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    LEPTIN
     
  16. Elfling

    Elfling New Member

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    .

    There are two different things here:

    -one: cheat/free days. These are psychological in benefit (for the most part). I do notice that if I've stalled in weight for a while, sometimes a free meal kicks off a woosh, sometimes it doesn't.

    -actual refeeds to help re-balance leptin, refill glycogen stores, and so on: these need to be high-carb, low-fat, and done properly.
     
  17. Uglybob69

    Uglybob69 I miss beer.

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    in for study from ceaze
     
  18. Perkwunos

    Perkwunos Dog Bones OT Supporter

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  19. el es dee

    el es dee ...through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain.

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  20. daballer2005

    daballer2005 New Member

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    you mean cheat meal?
     
  21. synthetic

    synthetic New Member

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    i have a cheat meal every day.... chocolate / cookies / muffin before my work out... knowing i burned it off with the workout ftw
     
  22. tenxia

    tenxia OT Supporter

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    Please advise me.

    I am on a 2000 calories diet (50/20/30 PCF ratio). Would a cheat meal be ok (one meal a week)? And what kind of meal can it be in terms of calories?
     
  23. el es dee

    el es dee ...through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain.

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    How long have you been dieting for?
     
  24. Aspirin

    Aspirin OT Supporter

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    Waiting on my zitti pescatore now. I hAven't had pasta in ages yum
     
  25. __Flatline__

    __Flatline__ New Member

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    lol...

    my diet right now is about 1600 calories coupled with vigorous workout 3-5 days a week, with no cheat days (i do drink beer on weekend nights tho)

    my only carbs i get from a piece of multigrain toast every day at 11

    the rest of my diet consists of chicken breasts and greens, and protein shakes..

    i'm definitely not doing it right but have lost ~20 lbs since dec 1,

    i dont have stress issues but i get tired a lot...
     
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