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Old 10-24-2012, 03:59 PM   #21
Donald Lee
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

I don't think the terminology is being used correctly in this thread.

Cheat meal = free meal = eat a normal sized (or slightly larger) meal (non-diet meal)

A cheat or free meal is either at or slightly above the caloric level to maintain bodyweight.

Refeed = high carb meal to upregulate leptin, which has a cascade effect of upregulating other hormones

Refeeds are supposed to be larger than a cheat meal--sometimes much larger. If you're somewhat glycogen depleted, the extra carbs will restore glycogen levels. When you refeed, you are going above maintenance calories for that day or two. It is best to keep fat and fructose intake low on these days to avoid fat gain.

If you like going hog wild, like David, then you eat a ton on a one day refeed. You can also spread it out over 2 days. Usually, longer refeeds are generally more beneficial for those who are very lean (<10% BF).

After a refeed, you'll often find that in the next day or so, your BF% will have dropped, even if you way more than prior. Within 2 days, maybe even the next day (depending on the extent of the refeed), you'll find that you will have dropped in weight. This is likely the result of the drop in water weight due to the drop in cortisol due to eating more than enough.

Oftentimes, people like to call refeeds cheat meals, but calling it that makes people think it's okay to eat high fat and high carb at the same time. If you're only eating moderately above maintenance, then it's okay to eat moderate amounts of fat (as in a free meal). When you start combining cheat meals (free meals) and refeeds and eating a bag of oreos and popcorn, that's when things go wrong.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #22
Joe Bernard
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

You can have a cheat meal and if you stay within your calorie limit based on your goal (lose, maintain, or gain) then you are fine. Look at alot of people over at www.bodybuilding.com (mostly wfs), they follow IFFYM (if it fits your macros) and many have success with it. Some guys there eat some kind of junk food everyday and are ripped to shreds. As long as you don't go on a binge-fest you will be fine.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:06 PM   #23
Doug Blankenship
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

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Originally Posted by David Sigmon View Post
Whew, i must be doing something wrong. I'm losing between 1-3 lbs a week, dieting monday-saturday and have an all out cheat day sunday. i have more energy the following days and feel better. my cheat day is easily over 5-6k calories...hmmm....

if you are timing your cheats right, it will actually increase your metabolic rate and lower leptin levels in the body. there's a LOT of positive that come from a cheat and no, it won't set you back if you do things right...it's all about timing.
Samething here. I don't plan cheat meals anymore and I have learned to not sweat the small stuff anymore.

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Originally Posted by Joe Bernard View Post
You can have a cheat meal and if you stay within your calorie limit based on your goal (lose, maintain, or gain) then you are fine. Look at alot of people over at www.bodybuilding.com (mostly wfs), they follow IFFYM (if it fits your macros) and many have success with it. Some guys there eat some kind of junk food everyday and are ripped to shreds. As long as you don't go on a binge-fest you will be fine.

^ I try to follow this when I'm eating whatever I want and it works.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:50 AM   #24
David Sigmon
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
I don't think the terminology is being used correctly in this thread.

Cheat meal = free meal = eat a normal sized (or slightly larger) meal (non-diet meal)

A cheat or free meal is either at or slightly above the caloric level to maintain bodyweight.

Refeed = high carb meal to upregulate leptin, which has a cascade effect of upregulating other hormones

Refeeds are supposed to be larger than a cheat meal--sometimes much larger. If you're somewhat glycogen depleted, the extra carbs will restore glycogen levels. When you refeed, you are going above maintenance calories for that day or two. It is best to keep fat and fructose intake low on these days to avoid fat gain.

If you like going hog wild, like David, then you eat a ton on a one day refeed. You can also spread it out over 2 days. Usually, longer refeeds are generally more beneficial for those who are very lean (<10% BF).

After a refeed, you'll often find that in the next day or so, your BF% will have dropped, even if you way more than prior. Within 2 days, maybe even the next day (depending on the extent of the refeed), you'll find that you will have dropped in weight. This is likely the result of the drop in water weight due to the drop in cortisol due to eating more than enough.

Oftentimes, people like to call refeeds cheat meals, but calling it that makes people think it's okay to eat high fat and high carb at the same time. If you're only eating moderately above maintenance, then it's okay to eat moderate amounts of fat (as in a free meal). When you start combining cheat meals (free meals) and refeeds and eating a bag of oreos and popcorn, that's when things go wrong.
Great write up and explanation.

I like to have a cheat meal on Saturday night that's of normal size...something like a hamburger and fries. Then on Sunday morning I'll start a refeed where everything is low fat, mod protein, and high carb. I normally try to get in between 300-500 carbs in Sunday morning through Sunday evening of higher GI foods....low fat pop tart, cereals, pancakes etc. Then I stop Sunday evening and go back to zero carb (just trace carbs) from Sunday evening through Saturday night.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:57 AM   #25
David Sigmon
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

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Yes, I mean weeks of work to lose a couple measly lbs, that I then have to work for several weeks again to re-lose after a cheat.
I HIGHLY doubt that a cheat meal is really setting you back like that. What you're implying, technically, just doesn't sound right. Again, the body isn't 100% effecient and these numbers aren't hard and true but....

one pound of fat equals around 3,500 calories. if you lost three pounds dieting over a couple of weeks that would be 10,500 calories burned over maintenance.

what you're suggesting is you are ingesting enough calories, damn near 10,500 calories, to return to the same bf you were the three weeks prior....i truly don't see you sitting down knocking back that many calories haha.

my thought is that you're depleting your glycogen which also eliminates a lot of water from the body (glycogen and water storage are hand in hand). then you have a cheat meal high in carbohydrates which replenish your glycogen stores and it takes a while longer for your body to regulate and rid itself of water and glycogen before returning to the same weight you previously were.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:07 AM   #26
Rebecca Roth
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

I wasn't implying that it's a gain of entirely fat, scale weight is also not an incredibly great measure... so yes, water likely accounts for quite a bit. I really only look at "new lows" as a measure, but as much fat as I have to lose, realistically should be hitting new lows all the time, but I don't, and cheat meals (I rarely go all out like you guys talk about, 600-800 calories is pretty much the upper end of a cheat meal for me regularly, more recent months I've kept it limited to 500 or less) make them even farther removed.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:10 AM   #27
Chris Mason
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

I have dieted very strictly in the past for bodybuilding shows and just to get ripped. When dieting I would have cheat days and literally ate whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I would have them once every 7-10 days. EVERY time I had a cheat day I would LOSE body fat within 2-3 days. The theory being the massive intake makes your body rev up its metabolism and there is a carryover effect which lasts for more than a day and ends of burning off additional body fat.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:18 AM   #28
Adam Fisk
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
I have dieted very strictly in the past for bodybuilding shows and just to get ripped. When dieting I would have cheat days and literally ate whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I would have them once every 7-10 days. EVERY time I had a cheat day I would LOSE body fat within 2-3 days. The theory being the massive intake makes your body rev up its metabolism and there is a carryover effect which lasts for more than a day and ends of burning off additional body fat.
This is how I always looked at it. My question is tho lets say your cheat consists of 1200 calories, wouldn't your body store all those excess cals as fat? How do those calories get utilized?

Also, do you guys cheat on rest days or active days?
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:44 AM   #29
Robert Walsh
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

This kind of stuff comes down to one's individual physiology. There are guidelines and suggestions, but you have to tweak things by trial and error.

It has taken me a few years to even begin to "know my body" and how it responds to different changes in diet.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #30
Donald Lee
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Re: Can't a cheat meal kill most of your results?

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Originally Posted by Adam Fisk View Post
This is how I always looked at it. My question is tho lets say your cheat consists of 1200 calories, wouldn't your body store all those excess cals as fat? How do those calories get utilized?

Also, do you guys cheat on rest days or active days?
Your body can temporarily upregulate its glycogen stores (glycogen supercompensation). This is something that endurance athletes sometimes attempt to do by low-carbing for a period and then going high-carb. I don't think it has panned out to be helpful for performance in practice.

Also, you have to think about the cheat/refeed or whatever as being compared to a maintenance sized meal and not a diet sized meal. That's partially where the fear of fat gain comes in, because you're not used to eating a normal sized meal and because you're hungry and you feel like you're gorging. Funny enough, the primary benefit of a cheat or free meal is psychological and not physiological. You're not eating enough or long enough to upregulate your metabolism.

A refeed, on the other hand, will upregulate your metabolism. It'll also lower your stress levels from dieting, which'll allow you to drop the water weight that may have been masking the fat loss.

So you have two areas working in your favor with a refeed. Carb intake going into glycogen stores, and high carb intake increasing leptin levels which increases your metabolic rate.

With respects to what day you refeed or cheat on, it works either way. It's ideal to do a refeed or cheat on a workout day, so that maybe some of the extra calories can go toward rebuilding muscle and restoring glycogen levels and so that you can eat a few hundred more calories if you want. You can even go to the gym and do circuits of pump work to use up some glycogen before you cheat or refeed.

If you're only doing one meal off your diet, I'd recommend it be dinner, so it doesn't affect your appetite for the rest of the day. You can also do something like a 5-hr refeed in the evening, if you don't plan on doing an all-day refeed.

Cheat/free meals and refeeds are not the devil, and they can HELP your dieting. There is no glory or benefit in spacing out your cheat/free meals out less frequently.

Here are some general guidelines for males:

- If you're over 20% BF, you probably don't need a refeed. You can do it maybe once a month. You can have a 1-2 free meals a week.
- If you're 15-20% BF, you should refeed 1x per week for up to a 5 hr period or just do a light refeed day. You can have 1 free meal/week, but it's optional.
- If you're 10/13-15% BF, you should refeed 1 full day/week. You should probably have 1 free meal/week if you're feeling really hungry.
- If you're less than 10/13% BF, you should refeed 1-2 full days/week. If you do 2 days, this can either be back-to-back or spaced across the week. If you do 2 full days of refeeding, drop all free meals.

The 10/13 is because that tends to be the range where people start really having trouble dieting. For some it'll start in the higher range, and for others in the lower range.

Hope some of that helps. I can't really give recommendations on how much carbs to eat on a refeed, because I always went by feel (never much of a calorie counter). You want to keep protein intake at moderate to moderately high levels on a refeed though.
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