The difference between a cheat meal and re-feed meals is a completely different outcome when you’re looking at the fundamentals of dieting, weight loss and a calorie deficit.
WHAT IS A CHEAT MEAL?
We all see social media influences posting photos and videos of an oily dripping burger and fries however a cheat meal is emphasised as just one meal of disregarding any macronutrient and calorie intake that the meal provides. You can eat whatever you want, in whatever quantity, but only for one meal.
Is this an ideal thing? Probably not if you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a calorie deficit.
WHAT IS A RE-FEED MEAL?
A refeed meal is a monitored/controlled increase of macronutrients and calories for a specific period of time. Generally speaking, most refeed meals will involve an increase in Carbohydrate intake and a corresponding slight decrease in protein and fat intake depending on one’s desired goals.
Keeping all this in mind, how do you avoid this diet and exercises induced metabolic adaptation and subsequently stall in fat loss? Enter the refeed and or/cheat meal: an increase in energy intake can help to revive hormonal levels and metabolic factors.
Generally speaking these will happen between 8-10 weeks of a calorie deficit phase to reduce plateau.
You should look at refeeds instead of cheat meals for the following reasons:
Cheat meals are more conductive to binge eat and over indulging once you get that hit.
- Not tracking or controlling macronutrient or calorie intake makes it difficult to replicate in the future and hence difficult to incorporate into a structured diet plan.
- “Cheat” foods are typically high in sodium and starch which can result in severe bloating and discomfort.
- Tends to lead to feelings of guilt for “cheating”, which can negatively impact ones psychological state.
At the end of the day, it’s your preference on which you’d like to do.