Cheat Meals Vs. Refeeds


Last week, I started a new chapter of my bulk - adding even MORE cheat meals & even LESS cardio. Although this may sound AMAZING to some, to me, it’s truthfully been a bit of a nightmare.


When I was on my cut, I THRIVED having cheat meals. I was so depleted of energy that my body loved being treated to something I normally wouldn’t eat. I cherished my weekly cheats & it allowed me the balance I needed to continue with my cut, keeping me focused & satisfied.

Since I’m now eating at a caloric surplus, having 2 additional “cheat meals” a week has left me feeling pretty gross. I find that I THRIVE when I have a CLEAR PLAN for my meals, or the surplus can quickly turn into feelings of overindulging. I come from a place of binging & restriction, so sticking to a plan during the week & then allowing myself to “cheat” on tacos & ice cream on the weekends feels like I’m following the same unhealthy pattern.

What I realize I need at this stage isn’t necessarily a cheat meal, but a refeed.

So, let’s talk about the difference between a CHEAT MEAL vs. REFEED.

CHEAT MEAL

Only ONE meal, where you completely disregard the macronutrients & calories of that meal.

PROS:

  • eating whatever you want & however much you want of it.

  • satisfies food cravings w/o restriction.

  • mental break from tracking your macro/calorie intake.

  • provides a surge in calories to boost energy & hormone levels.

CONS:

  • conducive to binge eating/overindulging.

  • difficult to incorporate into a structured plan.

  • "cheat" foods can result in bloating & discomfort.

  • can lead to feelings of guilt, negatively impacting mental state.

REFEED

A CONTROLLED increase of calories for a specific period of time. (Usually an increase in carbs & decrease in protein/fats.)

PROS:

  • allows you to maintain control of caloric intake.

  • easy to incorporate into a structured plan.

  • replenishes glycogen stores to help with training & recovery.

  • satisfies “sweet tooth” via carb loading

CONS:

  • restricting the amount of food consumed may not be satisfying.

  • controlling measurements/macros doesn't provide a mental break from “dieting”.

Which type do you prefer - cheat meals or refeeds? What experiences have you had using either of these? Let me know below!

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