Oh they come around so quickly. Did the time difference mess with anyone else? I tell you I was meal prepping until midnight, but when I was finished I still wasn’t tired. I do enjoy seeing the sun when I’m leaving the gym, but it takes me a day or so to adjust.
Yesterday I had plans for a cheat that I totally backed out on. I’ve been working really hard these past 8 weeks and I didn’t want to throw away a meal for some ice cream or cookies that had zero nutritional value. Cheat meals are fine when you aren’t prepping for something, but when you put so much effort into a training program it’s hard to get your mind in the state that it’s okay to eat that treat.
Actually after I went to the gym I wasn’t that hungry, but I had my tilapia in the car:
So then I went to the grocery store searching for something half way decent to “cheat” with. I went up and down every aisle, looking like a lost puppy. I usually stick to the perimeters of the grocery store since it’s the natural and fresh items, so I felt extremely out of place. Staring back at me were chips, candies, Chips Ahoy Ice Cream flavored cookies (did you know they make these? Me neither!), processed “100 calorie” snacks (don’t waste your time with these guys, I could easily eat a whole box and it defeats the purpose), and something else that I saw featured on television: the 98% fat free frozen french fry.
I know what you’re thinking! Virtually fat free french fry? I’m in! Well not so fast…
As I flipped the SMALL bag (smaller than a regular sized piece of paper) over to read the ingredients I noticed all of those were acceptable. Then I look at the top and what do I see? 11 servings per bag. ELEVEN!? Come on. I guarantee I’d eat that whole bag, making this serving of french fries 1100 calories, when I could have had the real thing. So lesson learned, read labels and portions on things. Obviously I skipped over these and kept walking. Plus it would be better to just make your own serving at home anyway since it’s just potatoes, a little olive oil, and sea salt.
As I continued around the store I realized nothing was that appealing to me. Nothing jumped out and said PLEASE HAVE THIS TO EAT! So I headed to Starbucks and ordered that soy latte I had been craving. Soy milk has healthy carbs and after a heavy leg day and a lot of cardio I knew it would be okay. I ordered a Grande, paid for a Grande, and was handed a Venti. The cheat meal Gods said please, you deserve more. So what did I end up doing? I barely drank half of it and threw the rest away, I know…. it just wasn’t as delicious as I anticipated.
At home I ate my normal dinner but decided to up my portions since I did so much gym work. After reading a little bit about cheat meals, I came across the “REFEED”.
A refeed is not a cheat meal. You’re not having a burger with fries. The idea behind it is to jump start the metabolism again while refueling the body with nutrients it needs, not excessive trans fats. It’s done to prevent diet plateaus, and since I’m going into my last 5 weeks I needed to make sure this wouldn’t happen.
The body makes something called leptin. To keep things simple, it is a type of fat hormone that regulates hunger, food intake, behavior, metabolism, and how much energy you use. When leptin levels in the body fall (over dieting), the body craves the bad foods.
If leptin levels fall too far, it slows down the metabolism, creating a plateau. To get the levels back up to normal a refeed is necessary but with extra calories that are beneficial to the body like good sources of carbohydrates that will turn into glucose. A good number to shoot for is 20-50% more calories than you would normally consume in a day. I went a little closer to the 50% mark because I spent way too long on the stair master to prepare for a cheat that ended in an epic fail.
So what did I have?
- an extra fluff- carbs/sugar from the banana
- one of my oat bars- carbs
- about 5 of my “sugar cookies” that I made with spelt flour and garbanzo bean flour- carbs
This was on top of my meals for the day already, around 650 extra calories, but all GOOD calories.
So if you are training very hard and you do not see results, think about a refeed, not a cheat meal. Now I’m not saying go out and do this every week. Most people do not even need it, however if you have reached that “plateau” and you know you are working insanely hard, it might be the jump start you need. I only did this one for my 13 week prep, but major athletes do them every 2 weeks or so.
Gotta keep those abs in check!
Have a great Monday!
XOXO With a Cherry On Top,