T Nation

Whos Right?

So whos right, Berardi or Alessi and Joel Marion? Do cheat meals/days work or not? Berardi says to avoid cheat meals when trying to lose weight but both Alessi and Marion claim that they can be extremely useful.

They are all right. You have to find out what works for you. If you read both Alessi’s and Marion’s articles, you will find that each program must be very specifically tailored to your own individual needs - frequency of cheating, type of cheat (day long, 1/2 day, one meal, refeed only).

From what I can see from Berardi's writings, he either doesn't have cravings or has a whole lot of discipline.

Personally, I like to employ cheat meals regularly, but it is a dangerous practice as they must be controlled.

So in short, there is no answer. Try out both ways and see what works for you. If you have no cravings, don't cheat (you should look into controlled refeeds on a hypocaloric diet though). If you have cravings, then maybe you can test drive Alessi or Marion's plan.

You’ll notice that Marion’s diet is severly restricted, requiring an androgen, while Berardi’s looks more like normal eating, just progressively less. Both are valuable: do regular cheats with severe diets so you don’t plateau when you want to lose fast and when you’re taking your time, don’t cheat and eat sensibly. In one article Berardi reccommends doing a 6-week “contest diet” every year, claiming it accustoms your body to being leaner. Can’t remember the link. If you’re on a ketogenic or near-ketogenic diet, carb-loading regularly is absolutely necessary if you value your sanity.