Cheat Meal / Refeed Meal

Ideal Cheat or Refeed Meals

Dieting for weight loss is hard. Sometimes you just need to cheat. Many dieters have found that if you contain your diet cheating to one regularly scheduled meal or cheat day, maybe once a week, the results can be positive.

What is a Refeed Meal?

Some weight loss diet plans use extreme calorie restriction to force the body into burning up stored fat. The body is complex, though, and has natural survival mechanisms that kick in over time. With a severely limited caloric intake, your body will begin to slow your metabolism. When you give it less fuel, your body finds ways to expend less energy.

The result of a long-term calorie restricted diet can be low energy. You can only power through your workouts for so long with a slow metabolism before you lose your motivation. Your body may be burning stored fat, but even that process slows down over time. What you need is an energy boost to jump start your metabolism and renew your energy.

That is what a refeed or cheat meal does. You cheat on your low calorie diet for one big meal. If you do it right, your energy gets a boost and your resolution to continue dieting is renewed.

Make a Plan

Just like any diet or exercise routine, a cheat meal goes better when it is planned out ahead of time. Conscious dieting decisions are the most productive, even when they involve high carbs. Don’t just fall off the wagon, jump off and aim for the soft grass.

  • Schedule — Eating and not eating help you achieve the desired results when they are timed effectively. Figure out how often you can afford to add a cheat meal to your routine. People with a higher body fat ratio need to go longer between refeed meals. If you have a higher lean mass and work out regularly, you will benefit from more frequent refeed meals
  • Choose your meal — Whether you plan to eat at a restaurant or cook at home, decide what the meal will be in advance. Looking forward to your refeed meal will give you the most mental boost. Get the menu, or plan one, in advance to decide how you will refeed your body after several days of your restrictive diet.
  • Balance your proteins — The goal of a refeed meal is to suddenly increase your carbohydrate intake, not eat like it was your last supper. Your refeed meal should include a reasonable balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Fried or heavily processed foods are still not good for your body. Stick with natural, whole foods you have missed on your diet. Sweet potatoes, white rice, pasta and bread are good choices for your cheat meal. Be sure to eat the proteins before you fill up on carbohydrates. You may be surprised how fast your stomach reaches its limit.
  • One and done — When your refeed meal is over, walk away. Get a good night sleep and get back on your diet the next day. It is easy to slip off your diet after a refeed meal. Depending on how close you are to your fitness goals, the temptation can be great. Don’t give in. Instead, use your resolve to maintain your diet and exercise routine while you plan your next cheat meal.

When done right, a refeed meal can actually improve your diet results. If it does not have a positive impact on your weight loss, it will certainly give you the energy boost you need to continue striving toward your overall fitness goals.