Recently I discovered a way to not only minimize the effects of a huge cheat day, but I found a way to make it work within my diet!
Meaning I continue to BURN FAT!
(Done reading already? Fine, watch this video instead!)
I call this "Dietary Super Compensation"... This is a dieting strategy that I use often, and is especially useful during the holidays when you know high calorie days are inevitable. It allows me to have absolutely massive calorie intake while still managing my body fat levels.
Before I get into the protocol I want to say a couple things about it. First, you need to have a certain level of short term discipline (or stubbornness) if not, then this diet may not be for you. Second, it's possible that this diet further enforces binge eating, or can trigger potential eating disorders… again, if this is you then it might not be the best option. Third, this seems to work for me if implemented once per week, I can't imagine it working if done more often than that (but feel free to be your own guinea pig.. at your own risk of course). That said, it can be a lot of fun and you can continue to lose body fat while following this protocol.
The diet is pretty simple. It's a 2 step process; eat, then don't.
You have one huge gluttonous day where you eat what ever you want in whatever quantities you want. This is my cheat day for the week. I eat most of the "naughty" foods I'd been tempted to eat throughout the week. On this day I will find myself eating even when I'm not hungry… that's probably not the best strategy here but sometimes you have to experiment a little and see what happens. (Plus, I don't like to do things half-way!)
The next 24 hours is all liquids. I pretty much constantly sip on a protein shake throughout the day. I also make sure some of the shakes have greens powder mixed in so I am still getting some micro-nutrients and fiber. The trick to this day is to keep yourself distracted, as long as you keep busy you are less likely to realize you're hungry.
This plan allows you to get away with a huge a cheat day and still burn fat.
I find it's easier than you would expect since the first day tends to be so over the top that I'm not all that hungry the next day anyway. What's the science behind this? Honestly, I don’t know. I only have my own anecdotal evidence that it works… and that if you look at it from an overall energy intake/output perspective it makes sense that this works. There is a lot of evidence that shows your body doesn't work simply on a 24 hour caloric system, weekly intake can also have an impact on your goals.
Another benefit is that an occasional surge in calorie intake can be good for your metabolism and your body's hormone production. If you've been dieting, having an occasional cheat is also go psychologically. Don't do it too often… but don't beat yourself up over it either!
I would like to credit Nate Green at biggersmallerbigger.com, and TC Louma at T-Nation. Both of these guys somewhat inspired me to try a liquid fast, and it has worked beautifully.
So there it is. A simple way to have an epic cheat day and still burn fat.