If you are doing the original Cheater’s Diet, below are my current recommendations; if doing the CD/EDT program; it’s all mapped out in the article over at the Lair of the Ice Dog:
Should I have written the original article today, I’m not afraid to admit that my current recommendations would differ from those previously published. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks (or benefits, depending on how you look at it) of continually learning. So, instead of sticking to my guns and playing the role of an egotistical ass, I’m going to inform you of a few changes that I’d like to make to the original protocol:
Change #1: Caloric Intake on Strict Days
In the original article I had recommended that individuals simply subtract 1500-2000 calories from their maintenance intake to find the amount of calories they should be consuming on strict days of the Cheater’s Diet. This would mean that an individual with a maintenance intake of 4000 calories would still be consuming around 2500 calories daily while dieting severely. For individuals with higher maintenance intakes, this wasn’t working too well. While this approach works well for individuals on moderate cutting cycles, it doesn?t seem to carry over to severe dieting and fast fat loss. After adjusting the caloric intake of these individuals to around 8 times their lean body mass (LBM; total mass minus fat mass), they obtained much better results. Yes, you read it correctly, I am now recommending the same 8 times LBM figure that I was adamantly against in the original article. Feel free to slap me next time you see me.
Change #2: Meal or Session?
Previously, for those individuals who needed to go with a more moderate approach, I recommended that a single cheat meal or a single high carbohydrate meal be consumed on the designated days; however, after doing more research I have found that while a single meal may provide some psychological benefit, it probably wont yield the desired physiological benefit (continual fat loss) in that it isn’t going to substantially alter serum leptin concentrations. In order to get the desired leptin response, the overfeed must be of longer duration and of greater caloric value. Here are my most recent carb overfeeding recommendations, which have been working well for most dieters:
It should be at least 8 hours in length (similar to the cheating session).
The caloric value should be 1-1.25 times your maintenance intake. So, if your maintenance caloric intake is 3000, you would then need to consume 3000-3750 calories over the 8 hour time frame.
The macronutrient breakdown should be 65-70% carbs, 25-30% protein, and minimal fat.
The best carb sources to use are those that have a high glycemic index as these work best to restore fallen leptin levels. Foods such as pretzels, bread, pasta, potatoes, low-fat cookies, etc should be staple foods during a carb overfeeding session.
As crazy as it sounds, some individuals have actually reported better results with a full-fledged, all-out, eat-whatever-the-heck-they-want cheat session, then with a controlled, extended carbohydrate overfeed. Therefore, your choice of which protocol to use should be based on what you know about your body and how it has reacted to cheating in the past.