T Nation

Refeed Days?

I have read and have been told from various sources that refeed (clean or not) days/meals are very important on a calorie restricted diet, especially a low-carb one. Lower cortisol levels, keeps metabolism from dropping, etc.

But on the physique clinic here they allowed a cheat meal every week but advised against it, saying if you have a lot of fat on your body you don’t need that cheat/refeed, it’ll slow your weight loss down.

Which is it?

I’m on my 4th day of a very low cal, very low carb diet (i’m ~260 pounds and taking in around 2300 cals, 25g carbs daily) and really want to know whether I should refeed one day or one meal every 7 days or so.

It’s more of a self control issue than anything else. Far too often dieters will turn the “cheat” meal into a gorge-fest cheat day.

One option you can consider is have one day where you eat all the same stuff, except add a few servings of carbs like rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, etc.

Staying away from junk and fried food on my refeeds has improved my physique drastically. Thank goodness for MetRX Protein Brownies and those Tri-O-Plex cookies.

I can control my cravings and hunger. I crave a lean body far more than junk. I want to know what is the most beneficial for my fat loss goals. If not refeeding will keep me losing fat and get a leaner body, then I won’t deviate from my diet at all. But if refeeding is going to help break plateaus or keep my metabolism high too keep fat loss at a maximum than I’ll add a clean refeed.

So will it help to have a clean refeed day every 14 days or should I just stick to my diet with no deviation?

Stay on your diet and don’t worry about plateaus. If you’re worried about your metabolism, take your temperature every morning. When/if it starts dropping, have some carbs that day and take advantage of them with a hard training session.

It’s been years since I’ve had a lot of fat to lose. But I like them while dieting. I don’t know that they actually increase metabolism. I don’t know that one day [and certainly not a meal] will do that. BUT, I think they aid in keeping muscle while dieting. I have always have a great workout the next day which I think is part of the reason they are good for maintaining muscle while dieting. I don’t necessarily have a refeed/cheat day every week when dieting. But I rarely go more than two weeks without one.

Ok, Thib answered this on his forum so I’ll just repeat it here.

Rule of thumb:

20% body fat: clean veggie carb-up day every 14 days

15-20% body fat: clean carb-up day every 10 days

10-15% body fat: carb-up day with some cheating every 7 days

< 10% body fat: carb-up/cheat every 5 days.

That’s a great rule of thumb. Someone should just sticky it as this shit is always asked.

Cool rule of thumb, I agree as well. I was getting ready to post something like “every two weeks until you get to a lower BF”…

I started 2008 at 30-35% body fat and am at 10% right now. I didn’t start a cheat day at all until I was <15%. I think for mental and physical reasons it’s important to integrate in more and more tweaks like cheat days after some time dieting. They help avoid plateaus and seeing a consistent change on the scale works wonders. I don’t know how much the cheat day has helped me but I know it helped my wife. She has probably lost a higher % of her body fat than me (has went from 155 to 125 since Jan) and her weight loss was stalling until we started a once a week cheat day in April. Now she’s losing ~5/lbs a month again. So I think the effect will vary person to person.

As far as healthy verus anything-goes. I’m in the anything-goes camp – as long as you’re done by 6 or 7PM. Sort of like Gremlins, you dont’ want to eat after a certain time because the ugliness will bleed into sleep and the next day! My cheat day is tomorrow and I’m hoping to eat Waffle House at 8AM, go to the powerlifting meet (to watch), eat Taco Bell at 11AM, then eat at a seafood place around 3PM. My goal is 4000 calories before 4PM!

[quote]anthony51 wrote:
Ok, Thib answered this on his forum so I’ll just repeat it here.

Rule of thumb:

20% body fat: clean veggie carb-up day every 14 days

15-20% body fat: clean carb-up day every 10 days

10-15% body fat: carb-up day with some cheating every 7 days

< 10% body fat: carb-up/cheat every 5 days.[/quote]

Good find; follow that.

I’m at about 10% and still do bi-monthly ‘refeeds’ just to keep myself in check.

Maybe right now your craving a lean body more; but the mind is a powerful device.