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Cheat Meals Out of Control

I look forward to my cheat meal very week.

I like to mix it up. Today it was lunch at a all-you-can-eat asian restaurant, and I think I had overdone it.

3 plates of omelette, one plate of bbq chicken and pork, one plate of noodles and fried rice, 1 plate of squid, 1 plate of assorted meats and I finished off with a small piece of tira-misu. 4 hours later and I still can not move. It got me thinking that maybe I should hold back on my cheat meals.

What are your thoughts on cheat meals? Should there be a limit on the food you actually eat? Does anyone go into a cheat meal with some macro targets?

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Cheat meals are an excuse to be undisciplined.

I wrote up some things you can do for “damage control” in this article: http://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/controlling-the-damage-from-overeating

My personal strategy is as follows. I’ll buy one junk food item per week, like a tub of ice cream or chips & salsa and eat that throughout the week. For instance I might eat 1/2 cup to a cup of ice cream per day tell I finish it and then that’s it for the week. Same idea with the chips. The thing I like about this is that little bit of junk every day or two days also helps me hit my calorie goals for the day. I’m trying yo lean bulk at the moment. Anyway, that’s my take on it. Is this a good strategy? Gorging yourself probably just works for people on steroids. The rest if us can only repair so much muscle…so you’re mostly getting fat when you gorge.

I find the occasional cheat meal not to be much of an issue unless fat loss is the goal. To be honest, I go all out at an all you can eat, I find getting into the habit of eating bad food and not preparing good nutrition much more damaging than a once every few months gorge. It is nice once in a while to let loose and enjoy myself whether it be food or alcohol along as if it is not at a time that will interrupt my goals and I get straight back on it the day after.

Thanks for the advice friends.

I am now writing up the new protocols for my cheat meal. Im thinking I will allow one item a week, such as a burger, once a week on leg day. Although I like Digity’s strategy as well and will consider this option.

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[quote]DAVE101 wrote:
Cheat meals are an excuse to be undisciplined.[/quote]

well then thousand of people have gotten into better shape than you being undisciplined

LOL, nice!

A thousand? Yeah that sounds realistic, but then millions of others will never come close :wink:

[quote]Paul33 wrote:

[quote]DAVE101 wrote:
Cheat meals are an excuse to be undisciplined.[/quote]

well then thousand of people have gotten into better shape than you being undisciplined[/quote]

Good point

[quote]Paul33 wrote:

[quote]DAVE101 wrote:
Cheat meals are an excuse to be undisciplined.[/quote]

well then thousand of people have gotten into better shape than you being undisciplined[/quote]
I suppose it all depends on what exactly is a “cheat meal”.

My new protocol for cheating;
Once a week I will be allowed to have one meal where I can eat whatever I want. In most cases I will save these meals for social outing(weddings, birthdays etc…). I will try to have a workout session before going out for this meal, and I will prioritise good quality protein.

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I pretty much stick to all whole foods, each meal with protein, carb, and a fat. I don’t really plan a “cheat meal,” rather, if I happen to be in a situation where there’s something like pizza, I just have a slice or 2 and don’t think about it. The ultimately goal is to just live life and eat what I want, it just so happens I enjoy eating whole foods.

My primary cheat meal is a 16 oz ribeye w/ a loaded baked potato and veggies lol

I wanted to run this by you guys regarding cheat meals. So I believe in the 80% rule. The primary way most people look at the 80% rule is by the # of meals. What if you went about that in calories. This would especially be helpful in fat loss. 80% of your calories come from whole foods, with 20% coming from whatever.

Thoughts?

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
What if you went about that in calories. This would especially be helpful in fat loss. 80% of your calories come from whole foods, with 20% coming from whatever.

Thoughts?[/quote]

Yes.

Although I would put the calories from things like Plazma or protein powder into the 80% to make room for the appropriate amount of Beck’s Light and dark chocolate in the 20% bucket.

Also, whatever your preferred style of cheating, I recommend trying to entrain and habituate your brain to expecting a reward that is highly “rewarding” from a taste/texture standpoint and NOT training yourself to be rewarded by a gut-busting calorie orgy.

I think that cheat meals, if used correctly, can benefit your physique while dieting or even during an offseason period. They also depend on the individual.

There is a good amount of research done by Dr. Eric Serrano which has been written about and talked about by John Meadows to show that there are more than just psychological benefits from cheat meals (although, those are very important). A cheat meal, however, shouldn’t give someone free reign to “eat everything in sight” for hours and hours on end. Rather, a proper cheat meal will elevate calories above what you normally are taking in in a calculated manner. I used to not believe that they were necessary, but I’m believing more and more that they can work if incorporated correctly.

I stopped calling them cheat meals, as the word “cheat” associates feelings of guilt with food, and I don’t think that’s healthy. During my gaining phase now, I’ll usually have one or two “free” meals each week, but I don’t plan them in advance. Just gotta live life and when you’ve got the chance to enjoy a good meal with family, friends, a girl, etc, I think you’re missing out if you try to be so Spartan with your nutrition that you don’t let yourself indulge once in awhile. If your macros are on target the majority of the time and you’re training effectively, it’s not gonna hurt you during a non fat loss phase.

Even then, cheat meals can be used effectively as Ebomb pointed out. However, at least for myself, I’d prefer to stick with carb refeeds rather than an uncalculated cheat meal…I just don’t like to leave anything to chance

Thanks guys.

Some really good info and approaches been displayed here.

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Betaine HCL is awesome for helping to digest big meals, for the record.