T Nation

Happy happy cheat day/meal


Ok, here's my problem... In my long string of dieting since I was a fat boy, I have learned to follow my dietary regimen to a T. So when it's a cheat day, and I don't weigh my food, I lose any and all control or moderation. I'm talking like... tubs of ice cream, cookies by the box, pizza, whatever it takes to be quite honest. The question that I have is this... how much fat can you actually put on in a single day of dietary manslaughter? If I eat 15,000 calories, about 10,000 above maintenance, maybe 2000 calories from that will go into glycogen replenishment. What about the other 8000 additional calories???? Are they stored as fat? Do I shit them out? What exactly happens? I am looking for someone here who KNOWS the answer to this question. What say you shugs? I need to know that Im not setting myself back more than a day or two. Thanks


Squatty, I don't have the answer to your question off the top of my head. But there is a rate limiting factor (an enzyme, I'm sure) in lipogenesis (fat storage). Have you ever noticed when overfeeding that sometimes you just lie around sweating? The body can store fat only so fast.


Squatty, I don't have an answer for you either but I will share my personal experience.

I have a cheat day once a week. Like you, it's not a pretty sight what I pack away on that day. The next day I sometimes weigh two or three pounds more, but it's gone two or three days later.

My cheat days don't stop me from losing fat when I'm dieting for fat loss. They don't cause me to gain fat when I'm maintaining.

As long as you're losing fat over the long haul, what's the problem?


Thank God, I thought I was alone in my ravenous gorging...

I get this attitude "Hey, its a cheat day, I might as well eat while I can" and end up eating ridiculous amounts of food.

And I'm pretty sure TT is on the mark, although sometimes I've been quite surprised how much definition I've lost in such a short amount of time.

Squatty: interresting post, hopefully more will chime in on the specifics of an answer for you and all of us.


Thanks for your input fellas. I agree that lipogenesis can occur only so fast however, it seems that our bodies are pretty efficient in releasing insulin to take care of obsene amounts of blood sugar. This insulin will transport either to adipose tissue or to muscle tissue but what the hell happens to the rest of that blood sugar... assuming you max out your storage capacity in both respects? Should I just be prepared to shit my brains out tomorrow? Ususally I have a cheat meal... this was a cheat DAY... from eggs, corned beef hash, and toast with butter in the AM, pizza in the afternoon, McDonalds with a bacon double quarter pounder and supersized eggnog milkshake for dinner, and whatever i could find just now at 4 am. It was bad... but what is the MAX amount of fat that you can store in a day. How much damage can we really do? I think if I knew the answers to these questions, I would either have much better or much worse cheat days. Hopefully like the man said, you can only store fat so fast. I'll look for some of that eggnog shake in the shitter tomorrow morning.



Got me curious... this abstract is brief, straight-forward and reflects the results of most of the studies that I reviewed. Looks like appx. 50%of the calories are converted to fat.

Anyone find conflicting evidence???



I guess you could think of it this way. If you don't consume any kcals and you expend 3500 kcals in a single day, do you lose one pound of fat? No. You mobilize some energy from fat, carbohydrate and protein to make up the energy deficit. Depending on the individual and the manner in which the energy expenditure was created (i.e., sitting, HIIT, etc.), the individual may lose zero to five pounds or so in that single day. Again, not all the weight lost is from fat.

In the present example, overfeeding by 3500 kcals (above energy requirements) in a single day will not result in the gain of one pound of fat. Rather, the weight change might be rather dramatic. Five pounds may have actually been gained in the form of stored carbohydrate and the accompanying water. Some of this excess energy may also go to the synthesis of new lean tissue (i.e., skeletal muscle), while some of the energy (perhaps 10%) will be expended processing the kcals (i.e., thermic effect of feeding), and some will ultimately be stored as fat.


Sounds like what I eat all the time J/K.


Good posts fellas... sometimes I just need to hear that I didn't damage my progress too severely. I think I am going to negate the need for clarification in the future just by simply refeeding on cheat day.


Forget the science, are you getting fat?


Squatty, a common theme/thread/post among those of us who practice refeeds is, "How much can you pack away on a refeed?" Reading how much people eat on their refeeds is a humbling, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring experience. Your refeed, although it was nothing to be embarrassed about, pales in comparison to what some skinny guys are able to pack away.

After you've been doing refeeds awhile, you'll see that they don't work against your goals and are actually complementary.

And here's the deal. If you do a refeed and don't lose any weight over the course of the next week, the problem is not the refeed, but the diet you follow during the week. It's the diet part of things that would need to be adjusted to get you back on track, not eliminating the refeed.

Continue to read up on refeeds, cheat meals, etc. It will raise your comfort level.


You can't make a blanket statement like this. There are people that have to adjust their refeed based on what happens. Some can get away with an all out binge. However, others cannot. I have a friend who has dropped about 35 lbs now incorporating weekly refeeds. Great results. However, he had then plateaued. His diet was on the money. In fact, he also thought it was his diet, so he fiddled with it for a couple weeks - nothing. What did he do? He eliminated the weekly refeed and has dropped another 7 lbs, with no strength loss.

There's way too much cookie cutter programs/approaches these days.

The same approach does not work for all people, whether that be macronutrient percentages, length of refeed, frequency of refeed, whatever.

Where is the individuality?


(Chuckling) Sure I can make a blanket statement like that, Thunder. Not that I disagree with anything you said.