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People who are stalling, please read!

Tomorrow I'm going to have my first 'cheat day' or 'carb loading' day, which apparently are 2 different things. My leptin levels are probably so low that my metabolism has slowed. Plus I've gone god-knows-how-long without bread, alcohol, and caffeine and I think I've earned it. Everything I read does confirm the 'cheat day' theory at least to some degree, so time to test it out!

I just read on a bodybuilding site that suggests you shouldn't eat fat at all while carb-loading and one guy provided estimates on how much you should limit yourself:

"refeeds are NOT cheat days. Don't go out eating . When I refeed I eat a lot of carbs, but 0 fats."

"carb loading should be at 10g of carbs per kg of body weight. and 1g of protein per lbs of bodyweight. NO fat or small small mini amount of fat during the carbs up."

"the leaner you get the more frequent they should be" (once a week at 12%bf)

What do you guys think about this? I'm definitely going to try it! I've always suspected that limitless gorging would bite you in the back, but wow no fats? So for me, that's only 470 calories in carbs and a whopping 105g of protein tomorrow. Also, the more body fat you have, the less you should 'refeed', so that might explain why so many people stalled after their first week?

Update: Ok, so I tried a 'mini' carb load with good results: I drank 3 cups of milk and a banana that night all at once. In the morning I dropped another .3% body fat, an all time low (12.42%). As a result, I've decided to go back on LOMAD. I've been able to gain about 3 lbs since then (5 days) and my bf% has stayed intact. I don't think it will last forever though.

Another update: In Jay Robb's fat burning book, he suggests only having a cheat hour once a week: "Once a week dieters have a free meal where they can eat whatever they want but only for one hour".

My bf and I have been doing only 1 cheat meal (dinner) for the past month, but it's still seems to derail weight loss. I'd like to test out this new 1 hour theory.


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Don't mix up the Slow Carb diet and the Cyclic Ketogenic diet! They're very different. A carb refeed is used on the CKD because liver glycogen levels run out periodically during the diet. The refeed is designed to refill the liver with precious glycogen and enable another couple of weeks on the diet. You eat JUST enough carbs to do so. It's just as much of a pain in the lifestyle as the rest of the CKD.

The SCD does things differently, it doesn't totally deplete your glycogen stores like the CKD does, the cheat day performs a different role. You're supposed to work out during the CKD to maintain a high metabolism, if you don't, it'll downregulate. In the SCD, the Cheat Day is what maintains your metabolism.

  • DexV commented Dec 1st 2012:

    Very well-said, Vince.

All Answers


Read this from Martin over at Leangains. He does intermittent fasting and gets heaps of his clients to single digit fat levels:




From T Nation:

"Planned cheats refer to giving yourself a moment in the week where you can eat the bad food you've been craving. This moment is always on a given day and comes at the conclusion of a week of solid dieting.

Loading, like cheating, means eating a meal (or several) consisting of foods that aren't a part of your daily plan. Contrary to cheating, though, loading uses clean, high-carbohydrate foods like yams, potatoes, rice, whole-wheat pasta, fruits, etc. On a loading day, you want to refill muscle glycogen, so your daily intake of carbs will fall between 200 and 600 grams depending on your size and goals.

Refeeds still consist of increasing your food intake for a day, but you do so by respecting your regular diet. You simply eat more of the foods that you normally ingest. A small amount of clean carbs (15 to 20 grams per meal) is also acceptable.


Calories aswell and carb restrictions decrease the release of leptin, so does having low body fat. Several weeks of dieting or loss of significant amount of fat will affect leptin. Probably will not happen after 1 week of dieting. I think for myself it will be a psychological break to be able to eat some of the foods not allowed during the week. Also, I am quite low in calories to what I normally eat and plus I have hypothyroidism - low thyroid so this will benefit me too to eat more calories once per week. Limiting it to just mostly carbs and protein won't work for me because the stuff I want to eat has fat in it! I think if I was a body builder I would need to do more of the glycogen muscle topping up.


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I'm into my 6th week, lost 5kg though not any for the last 2 weeks, but I've noticed more muscle around my arms and I can see the top 2 abdominal muscles (yay! 6 to go..lol!)

As Tim mentioned:

1. Cheat day = CHEAT. CHEAT THE HELL OUT. EAT WHATEVER you want.

2. No weight loss ≠ no progress. That was why he stressed the need for other measurements like body/fat ratio and arm/thigh/hip measurements

  • filipn commented Feb 25th 2011:
    4 kg in 3 weeks and similar observations. Adding more weight and reps to kettlebell swings this week.
  • cvesper commented Aug 17th 2011:

    I agree with this. If I couldn't have my "cheat" day, and had to eat a bunch of carbs I'm not into anyways, I would not be on this diet.


The idea of the cheat day is very different from the refeed. You're confusing the two.

Quite simply on the cheat day eat anything you want. The idea is to get the urges our and have a stress release if you're finding the dieting hard. And also to boost your metabolism and prevent it from downgrading to burning less energy to keep running.

Don't worry about macronutrient rations, just eat all the delicious food you want and enjoy it.

  • shane commented Mar 28th 2011:
    Yes, cheat day and refeed day are different, but I think the idea of this is to replace a cheat day with a refeed day for maximum benefits for those willing to do the extra work. Don't refeed if you are also doing cheat days, eat more carbs/less fat
  • filipn commented Feb 25th 2011:
    This is what I think as well. It's more psychological tool and also don't-let-metabolism-slow-down tool than anything else. Anyway, should I refeed in addition to cheat days? I am following the diet and perfect posterior program. I don't think so...


Personally, I haven't had much luck with my cheat day, though I admittedly don't follow Tim's guidelines perfectly. I don't consistently drink grapefruit juice and I don't consistently do the squats or any other exercises prior to my "cheat meals". As such, I typically end the day around 3 lbs more than I went in and I haven't gotten down to my pre-cheat weight until around Wednesday of each week(cheat day on Sunday).

I did read a little on the carb-loading(though not as much as you), so on my last cheat day, I didn't go all out. I simply added carbs to my regular meals. For example, for lunch, instead of a Chiptole bowl(onions, peppers, meat, beans, salsa), I got a regular burrito w/ rice. I still came out of the day w/ an extra 3-4 lbs, so my future off-days, I won't be going out of my way to stuff myself.

I've definitely found that for myself, I don't go hog-wild on my cheat day because I know it'll take 3 days to get back to my pre-cheat weight if I do.

I also don't have the will power you do. The cheat day for me definitely needed in that any cravings I have during the week I save up for Saturday or Sunday.

You'd think the 12 lbs(from 231 to 219 @ 6'2" - 26% down to 22% BF) in 3 weeks I've lost would be motivation enough to keep me on the wagon, but I guess I've spent too much of my life giving in to the cravings.


Thanks for the information! That last question really hit home...I have high BF%, but I'm a relatively small person. I go CRAZY on cheat day. I lost 10 lbs the first month, but now in week 5, no weight loss at all. I'm thinking of going down to 1 cheat meal per week instead of gorging all day. I guess this whole process is about experimentation :)


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I'm on slow carb since December, 27th and I've lost 6kg in weight. Funny thing is, I lost these kg during the first 6 weeks. Since then, my BF% decreased slightly by 0.4% per week (I'm not at 11.3%). I'm doing weight training every 3-4 days.

I usually enjoy my cheat day on saturdays but often start at friday evening ... :-) I always gain 2-3kg on these days and it takes the entire week to get rid of them, but BF% goes down pretty constant. I guess most of that weight is water anyway. Last week I tried something different:

After celebrating carnival (Thursday - Monday heavy drinking and eating) I gained 4kg, according to the mirror NOT only water. The following week (Tuesday-Saturday) I ate the following:

1x Body Attack 90 Proteinshake in the morning

1x Salat with tuna, egg, beans and and and for lunch

1x Body Attack 90 Proteinshake in the evening, 1h prior to bed

1.5l water during the day

The result: By Friday I lost all my extra weight gained during carnical and even 0.5kg on top but felt like shit. This diet drained all energy out of my body.

I also found that running can increase weight loss!

Just my 2cts :-)


I also read recently that we shouldn't ever combine eating carbs with eating fats - this combination isn't natural, but a product of our industrial living. So it agrees with what Laura says above - the bodybuilders are probably onto something.

Still, I imagine it's going to be very hard to eat carbs and not take in any fats - isn't that just what we do during the week?


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I always wondered why when I eat hardly any carbs and (never really counted) but small portions, still cannot lose weight. The cheat day kind of makes sense & I am going to try it. In the past when I eat carbs, I get really hot and sweat at night and I always thought it was my metabolism revving up since it was not used to it.

  • tknc commented Sep 5th 2011:

    Mine does the same -- today is my binge day (or leptin-spike day!) and now 7 weeks in, and this heat-from-binge-day thing is a very noticeable phenomenon that has repeated enough times that i think it's legit, and not a coincidence.


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I had 3 cheat days so far, and I never gained weight after cheat day. I always weight at least 1-2 pounds less following day. Strange or not?

  • 4hpam commented Feb 23rd 2011:
  • filipn commented Feb 25th 2011:
    I was max 1kg up, and lost it in 2 days. (on the second day after cheat day the weight was lower than the day before the cheat day).
  • Susan Oscar Susan Oscar commented Sep 20th 2011:

    What are you eating, desert fox, on cheat day?


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If I am on a 20g daily carb intake( The Last mile which is mostly keto ), maybe fewer in some days, what should I do? Have a cheat day or carb load?


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If you aren't goin to cheat on cheat day, don't call it cheat day. Personally I usually cram whatever I want in there and lose it in 2-3 days. It's just water weight. Even if you ate 6000 kcals that's just a pound and a half, minus your bmr and any exercise you did.

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