Episode 33. Cheat Meals and Refeeds, Moderation and Social Events

Nov 28, 2016 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

We again structured this episode around a few specific questions, but focused on metabolism, cheat days and refeeds, and then balancing those with real life and one’s fitness goals. If you have a social event coming up, how do you handle that? Should you just use “moderation”? What is or is not a healthy mindset? How does one balance “vigilance” with “not being totally and insanely obsessed”?

“Metabolic Resilience”

  • Metabolic resilience is something someone does or doesn’t have. What kinds of things your metabolism can “withstand” is going to be partly genetic. So because someone says “Oh I went on a starvation diet and it was no big deal,” doesn’t mean that will hold true for everyone, or even for them, if they were to do it again.
  • The problem is that going on a 21-day or 12-week challenge or whatever can be exactly the kind of thing that is not good for your metabolism. Adding in strict timelines like that is an example of forcing the body, not coaxing it.
  • Sometimes it’s far, far better to lose weight slowly. Sure, it’s sexy to lose 7 lbs. in a week. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you, sustainable, or worth doing.
  • What can you do? Mostly it’s not screw it up. But, that aside, what can be done? Generally, it’s the big picture stuff: looking at lifestyle and larger context, eating whole foods at roughly the same times each day, protein plus a protein-sparing nutrient… and doing all these things long enough for there to be a change.
  • The hard part is sticking to these things for a long enough time period for positive metabolic effects to take hold. This is hard, because you won’t see the change on the scale.
  • You should feel better before you see changes on the scale. It’s not you just do all these things, and then oh, eight weeks later you’re allowed to start losing weight now. Biofeedback to look for: You should (1) start feeling better overall, (2) perhaps sleeping better, (3) perhaps be more in touch with hunger, and (4) have more energy. [There are probably more indicators; those were just the ones mentioned that I could pick out. – M]

Question 1. How do I balance social events with aesthetic goals?

I’m interested in “How to have your cake and eat it too.” How do I balance social events with aesthetic goals on a weekly basis.

  • Depends on the person. For example, imagine two extremes: the person who uses social events as an excuse to immediately go off their diet, and, on the other end, people who will dread social events because they are so focused on diet that they cannot deal with the mental turmoil of the “temptation” (and are afraid of binging, either at the event or later one). These two extremes are obvious, but you can imagine how they’d require different approaches!
  • One strategy is to use those as a target. So if Thanksgiving or Christmas is coming up, yeah, have a cheat meal, and use it as a target to be committed to the process until then. Don’t binge on that day, but see it as something to shoot for. (At the same time, every Saturday != a once-per-year holiday).
  • When it comes to weekly cheat meals (big ones) the fact is, metabolism has to be trained. That means, again, healthy whole foods, a relative caloric deficit, a protein and a protein-sparing nutrient (carb or fat) at each meal.
  • Sometimes the answer is, no, you can’t go to as many social events as you have been going to, not count calories, and maintain 7% bodyfat. That is a high-level aesthetic goal, and depending on genetics, age, etc., it’s a higher level goal for some than others. There’s no way around that it takes a bit of vigilance to get there and stay there.
  • NOTE: This doesn’t mean you can’t go to social events. It just means you go without indulging. Does that mean you don’t eat it all? Depends on the person. Can you eat a decent meal (a lean protein and a carb or something) there? (Can you do it in terms of the situation and what foods will be there, or in terms of what you can mentally handle?)
  • For example, Scott recently visited a former mentoring student, Amir, in Dubai. While there, Scott was indulging, basically the entire time. Amir did on his cheat days, but on the diet days, he would simply hold off, and actually reminded Scott of what he was like back earlier in his career. Sure, he went to restaurants because obviously he wanted to hang out with Scott and the others there, but he has high-level physique goals, it’s a career for him, and for him that meant not indulging just because a friend was visiting. (And besides, he knew he had cheat days coming up.)
  • Compare two different mindsets: one of deprivation or restriction, and one of anticipation. “Oh I can’t have that :(” OR… “Boy, I can’t wait ’til I can have that.”

Question 2. How do I practice moderation and eating out with friends and having “one” cheat meal versus an “all-out” binge?

I’m interested in “How to have your cake and eat it too.” How do I balance social events with aesthetic goals on a weekly basis.

  • “Choose the behaviour, choose the consequences.” Having an off-night for an important social event is fine, but you need to remember that it doesn’t need to mean you blow your diet for the next three weeks. Going all out for your friend’s wedding is fine, as long as you accept that it is what it is.
  • Scott also mentioned Trevor, who is able to make it work in a constantly “not ideal” scenario year-round. See episode 7 for more here.
  • An important note with respect to Trevor is that he accepts that the Cycle Diet doesn’t work with his lifestyle. The Cycle Diet requires fairly regimented eating schedule 6 out of 7 days of the week. That’s not feasible for him, so he doesn’t do it.
  • Know thyself. Scott doesn’t try to practise moderation if he doesn’t have to because he is black and white. But he has clients for whom it works.