Cheat meal and refeed

Diet busting

The cheat meal consists of eating whatever you feel like eating. Whether it’s a hamburger, dessert, candy, pizza… anything goes. Sometimes it is done in 1 meal a week, other people already splice with the whole day and others already even the whole weekend, party!!!!

For many people this helps them to start the week strong, for others it simply creates a dependency. It creates a dependency because they spend the whole week with cheat meals on their minds. This is not good at all. No dependency is good and even less if it is for food.

I am in favor of the cheat meal as long as it is completely necessary. That is, you have to be aware that a cheat meal is not mandatory to do, in fact if you avoid it better, but it will not harm you to do it.

Let me explain: the body will not be altered because a week you skip the diet in 1 meal when you have been following a proper diet for a long time, it is absurd to think this. Another very different thing is that you start with a diet and at the first change and you skip it.

Cheat meal

Apart from a physical benefit, the refeed has an important psychological power, since it is able to reduce the stress that a very strict diet would generate in the body. By not generating this feeling, it is much easier to follow it and not give up or feel stagnant.

The problem with the cheat day is that you do not measure the amounts of what you consume and, sometimes, it can cause remorse after exceeding too much. If you opt for this practice, we advise you not to take it as a day where you can eat to bursting food that is nutritionally junk. This food can be dishes or foods that are not in your usual diet but that you particularly like.

The cheat day only brings benefits on a mental level and, depending on the person, can arouse a feeling of guilt. On a physical and metabolic level it is usually more harmful than beneficial. Refeeding, on the other hand, brings benefits on a psychological and physical level. It has been proven that it helps the body to reduce the stress produced by a strict diet and, in this way, reduces the retention of liquids caused by cortisol.

Refeed protocol

When planning our diet, it is common to introduce a cheat meal or a refeed. But what is the difference between these two concepts? Both consist of modifying our diet at a specific time and both have psychological benefits; however, the way to approach them is very different.

We give you the keys to know the differences between refeed and cheat meals, so that you know how each of them affects us and so that you can choose which one is the most convenient for you when it comes to achieving your goals.

The main difference between these two concepts can be summarized in that in the refeed the amount of food to eat and its macros are fully planned, while the cheat meal allows you to eat whatever you feel like for a specific period of time without having to think about macronutrients or calories. But, obviously, neither their purpose is the same, nor their effects are the same.

The refeeds are based on a high carbohydrate intake whose purpose is to increase leptin, a hormone related to appetite, and to recharge glycogen stores, among others. For this purpose, high carbohydrate intakes (generally within the framework of a hypocaloric or definition diet) are carried out for different durations, which can range from a few hours to a few days, depending on the needs of the athlete. It also depends on the type of training performed, of course.

Recharging calories

Nutrition, within the field of sport, has a role of great importance, because as we can imagine, it is the fuel and the material that we provide to our body so that it can work.

That is why for decades there is what we know as sports nutrition, which seeks to improve performance when practicing sport, and also improve body composition, especially in the field of fitness.

Something that characterizes the increase of calories in a refeed is that these will come mostly from carbohydrates, while reducing fats and, in some cases, proteins to a lesser extent.

When we subject the body to a very prolonged or very aggressive caloric restriction (which is not recommended), some negative effects will begin to appear such as loss of muscle mass, increased hormones that cause feelings of hunger, decreased metabolism, loss of efficiency in losing fat, decreased testosterone, increased cortisol, slowing of the thyroid…

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