Episode 54. Cheat Days and Refeeds: Biofeedback for Supercompensation Mode
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One of the most requested topics is more info on biofeedback for things like tolerable hunger and supercompensation mode. Understandably, people want to know when they are or are not ready for a cheat day or refeed. You can find out more about the Cycle Diet at thecycle.diet.
Cycle Diet Basics
- The Cycle Diet is a form of dieting in which you diet to get into “supercompensation” mode.
- Once you’re there, in begin implementing cheat meals, half-day cheat days, or full cheat days. People who have metabolisms that are really “revving” can have up to a day and a half of a refeed: a full day cheat day plus a mid-week spike meal.
- The Cycle Diet is relatively unique relative to other popular cheat” diets or refeed systems, because you don’t apply a set of external things to get your body to need a refeed; instead, you work from the inside out, and diet in a relative deficit and let your body tell you when it needs a refeed.
Cycle Diet vs. Other “Refeed” Systems
|Other Refeed Systems||Cycle Diet|
|Outside in||Inside Out|
|Forcing the body (’til it reacts)||Coaxing the body (so it responds)|
|Special workouts before cheat days||Do the workouts that accomplish your goals. The cheat day itself is just a means to an end. Depleting yourself so you can “have a cheat day” is not the goal.|
|Eat low carb, since a refeed restores glycogen.||Eat reasonable/moderate carbs, and let the caloric deficit over time deplete glycogen (and other stuff).|
|Eat only high-carb, low-fat foods on refeed.||Anything goes on refeed. You’re replenishing more than glycogen, and what you’re “craving” is often a hint as to what your body needs.|
|Do weird cardio, or juicing, or something before, during or after the cheat day.||Just go back to a diet in a relative caloric deficit with healthy whole foods.|
Biofeedback for Supercompensation
- Hunger, hunger hunger. A slide from “tolerable” hunger to “always thinking about food” hunger. (Hunger, not just cravings for delicious things.)
- Being relatively lean. The leaner you are relative to your metabolic setpoint, the more likely you are to be in supercompensation mode.
- Concentration levels (partly just a bit of diet-induced attention deficit, and partly just always thinking about food)
- A feeling a being “flat” or “empty” in the gym, as well as less energy all throughout the day.
- Hunger is keeping you up at night.
- One of the things you need to take into account is the diet history and the mental history: if you have emotional eating issues, or a past history of yoyo dieting, you might be hyper-focused on hunger without it being physiological. A history of yoyo dieting can hyper-sensitive you to hunger or craving cues.
Trying a Cheat Day
- You don’t have to be 100% sure absolutely absolutely whether or not you’re in supercompensation mode. You can try a cheat meal, cheat day, or whatever, and then assess how it went.
- Be willing to make a small mistake here and there. The key is not to play mind games, but it can be done.
Scott’s Tips for Getting in Touch with Biofeedback
- Start with frequent small meals, use the 1/3 plate rule: protein, carbs, fat, each 1/3 of the plate.
- If you’re thinking of cheat days, use the above indicators, but start with 4-6 weeks *at minimum*
- If you’re ready, try a cheat MEAL, then ASSESS. What’s the weight scale say, what’s the mirror say? Did you lose the water weight quick? See what happens.