Cheat days and cheat meals should only be used to accomplish specific physical and psychological functions directly related to fat loss goals.
Know WHEN and WHY you should cheat
- To spark a dead metabolism from being on the crash diet yo-yo or constant low carb dieting.
- To replenish and/or refill glycogen stores (when you’ve low carbed yourself to death or exercised intensely for prolonged periods of time).
- To serve as a psychological reward (only when you’ve earned the right).
- You have no energy or drive in your workouts or when you constantly feel flat and can’t seem to get a good “pump”. Or you just can’t find the emotional renewal you’re looking for.
- Your body temperature is always low or you’re cold all the time and feeling the chills a lot. This usually happens in leaner individuals. (Cheating will heat you up in a healthy way by using the thermic effect of cheat food and stoke your metabolism to get it moving again.)
- To reset fat burning hormones like leptin and provide a metabolic spark for your thyroid (usually from 4 to 6 days or longer of aggressive carb/calorie restriction or maintaining super low body fat levels for a long period of time).
Know when NOT to cheat
- You’re bored with bland diet foods – Newsflash, it’s a carb cycling plan, not the Food Network…if you want results, you have to Macro-Pattern™ and be willing to make some sacrifices a few days a week
- You’re stressed out and need an emotional food “high” – I think they call it “life” and last time I checked we’re all going to deal with some stress while we live it – so get used to it. Food can be like a drug, so don’t let yourself get addicted or emotionally attached to it.
- You lack discipline – It’s either the pain of discipline OR the pain of regret. In other words, cheating is a reward – NOT an escape.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat your favorite foods guilt free when you carb cycle. Just plan out when your cheat days and re-feeds are, make your sacrifices and go after your reward!
This is crucial for your long term success with fat loss. By focusing on earning a reward you automatically cultivate more discipline with your nutrition plan.
Apply STRUCTURED Re-feeds, Carb Loading Cheat Days,
and Strategic Binging
- Strategic Cheat Day (sometimes referred to as Carbing UP or Carb Loading)
Most times this is used mid-week and it’s specifically designed to provide a metabolic spark to help avoid the adaptive response.
- Hormonal Cheat Day (sometimes referred to as a Free Day or just Cheat Day)
This is the most flexible and fun cheat day with hardly any food restrictions.
- Structured Re-Feeds
This is the most restrictive, but effective type of cheating.
- Strategic Binging
This is a carb loading strategy used after high intensity weight training or bodyweight training (sometimes called MRT) workouts.
As you can see #3 and #4 are a little more structured. BUT…it’s still cheating.
Remember, even though cheating can be fun, it can also be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. The goal is to cheat long enough to get it out of your system and reward yourself, while metabolically triggering what your body needs physically and mentally.
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