Diet

When eating to excess is a good thing

By December 16, 2010 14 Comments

No, I haven’t gone completely mad.

Yet.

You might be thinking “How can eating a lot of food do me any favours in the weight-loss department you demented, balding mofo?”

Whilst I don’t appreciate the snide remarks about my hair-line, the answer is simpler than you might think.

How simple?

It’s simple when you’re under-going a 3-4 day a week training regimen. If you aren’t training to 100% of your capability, and your diet is ordinary, this probably won’t apply to you.

My aim here is to make sure that it WILL apply to you

If you sort out your diet, your training and give it 100% of your effort and dedication, you can eat your arse off on the weekend. Not literally of course. Unless you’re into that.

How do I know this?

Because I do it pretty much every weekend. Due to circumstance, I may not eat a wheel-barrow full of ribs, but given the chance I will be more than happy to indulge (and then some).

Ice cream, pizza, beer — you name it, nothing is off-limits.

If I eat this child is it considered 'cheating'?

If I eat this child is it considered ‘cheating’?

The 70% rule

70% of the time, you want to be sharp as a tac in regards to what goes into your pie-hole. This leaves you with 1-2 days of a term I loath to use — ‘cheat meals’

Cheat meals?

You are cheating your diet by eating things which are naughty, naughty. Pies, cakes, one-pound burgers with sides of fries and bacon — These are all ok during that 1-2 day window.

Don’t go overboard here

You don’t want every single weekend meal to be a disgrace to mankind. All you want are a select few meals to give your body a rest from its week of caloric restriction.

Why is this bullsh*t so?

Besides being a test-dummy myself, there are other advocates for this kind of naughtiness. Martin Berkhan from leangains.com does it all the time — heck, he even ate a whole cheesecake in one sitting and has maintained 5.5% body fat for 3 years straight!

Any other benefits of eating to excess?

If your into building solid muscle, the surplus of calories that a cheat meal or 3 at the weekend provides will be invaluable to shaping your guns. Not only that, but it’ll put your body into a state where an impending fast day will be even MORE effective.
Note: If you haven’t tried fasting yet, you should definitely give it a try. More on that can be found here.

The naysayers…

In an article by Ian Matthews over at Bodybuilding.com:

“Sometimes you want saturated fat and refined sugar, but if you get enough good fat and natural sugar from fruits, you have NO PHYSIOLOGICAL NEED for such things.”

What a crock of fuggin baloney

Some of us more ‘human’ of the human-race actually enjoy eating naughty foods. Not just because it fills a psychological need (even though that’s a good thing and I’ll talk about why that is in a second).

“You take away my ice cream cone and i’ll bust you upside the head with a tyre-iron faster than you can say fatty-boombalada.”

To sum it up why eating to excess is a good thing

As I’ve written in a previous article, you should see your weekends as a reward for all of your hard work. YES it falls into psychological territory, and YES that’s just fine and dandy.

If you abstain from cheat-meals, it will make your training and dieting habits much harder to sustain over the long haul.

If you know you’re going to order a family size pizza this coming weekend and gorge it all by yourself, you’re more likely to stick to the plan for the rest of the week.

And that my friends, is a good thing.

Editor’s Note: Are you into cheat meals as much as I am? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • I only found out recently how effective cheat meals are .. I stopped losing fat for quite awhile being on a low cal diet for so long… then I got so frustrated I just ate heaps then hey presto I started losing again!
    So now I always have a big feed day on Saturdays ..cheese cakes & beer is my favourites
    Raymond

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Nice to see I’m not alone on this one ;)
      It’s quite amazing how easily the body adapts to dietary changes.

  • Al says:

    I love your website and since this post is diet-related I was wonder exactly WHAT you eat during the week? I completely undertatnd the fasting and the cheat weekends, but I am afraid that my weekly diet is messing me up more than anything. Thanks!

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Thanks Al :)
      My biggest tip would be to not DRINK your calories. That means stay away from fruit-juice and coffee (if it contains milk if not its fine just be weary if you add sugar).
      Youd be surprised at how many extra calories you add to your diet with these seemingly small ‘vices’.
      Another tip would be to not over-do the protein shakes and supplements. They keep you satiated yes — but the rules of calories in vs calories out still apply!.
      My final tip would be on grazing. I used to eat 5-6 meals a day as i was scared of losing muscle, and also thought it would stoke the metabolic fire.
      This is a flawed approach. 3 meals a day is fine (even 1 when you’re fasting). No, you won’t put your body into starvation mode. I’m leaner than ever with this approach.

      My weekly diet isn’t as strict as it once was, but I do try to keep it simple and limit the processed foods where I can. Eat food in its simplest form and you can’t go too wrong. I believe the more strict you are in terms of what you eat, the harder it will be to adhere to it in the long term. If you struggle with finding good food choices, limit the amount of food you’re eating instead. I guess that’s why fasting every now and then is so effective — it makes up for the time when your only choice IS that cheeky bowl of pasta ;)

      • Al says:

        I guess the “what” part of my diet is what is a little confusing to me. I truly believe that calories are the ultimate factor in weight loss/gain. I do not understand it when people say that I can eat as much real food (meat, fruit, and veggies) and lose weight, but would that not conflict with the law of calories. I fI

  • Al says:

    … If I eat 2500 calories worth of real food, wouldn’t I gain weight instead? Confusing. Sorry for the abrupt ending of the previous post, I accidently hit the enter button to soon.

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      If your maintenance level of calories is 2500, it won’t matter whether you’re eating that amount in donuts or in protein shakes. You will stay at the same ‘weight’.
      (I’m not talking about body-composition here, as weight of muscle to actual fat will differ based on the macro-nutrients being consumed).
      Remember that more raw/natural foods are not as calorie DENSE as those that are processed etc.
      So someone eating meat, fruit and veggies may be eating similar physical quantities as someone eating a McDonalds burger, but the amount of calories found in each are VASTLY different.

      Hope that helps ;)

  • Clint,

    I agree that cheating during the weekends makes the calorie restriction during the week way more tolerable. I follow a similar approach. During the week, I am super strict, but on the weekends, I eat pizza, pasta, burgers, fries, ice cream, anything I want… and a lot of it too. Despite this, I have still managed to stay lean because I am watching my diet the majority of the time.

    Alykhan

  • Interesting article!

    Quake Fitness – Connecting Fitness Blogs

  • Clint,

    Totally agree with you on this one.

    I do have to admit that sometimes I’ll have a cheat meal / day that is so egregious and discussing that I will eat cleaner the following week just from the guilt alone.

    It’s a great tool whether you use it for reward or punishment :-)

    Chris

  • Louis says:

    Another reason I love cheat meals is to treat them like a reward for a good week of eating and training.

    Louis

  • The cheat day is huge, is like taking a week off from training will help you see gains, a cheat day will light a fire metabolism and get it going for a bigger loss in the long run,.

  • Count me in as a fan of the cheat day. Combined with intermittent fasting, I think it’s a great way to get lean and ensure that you keep your sanity in the long term…meaning you’ll stick with your diet.

Leave a Reply