How to Recover From Cheating on Your Diet

Depending on how much weight you have to lose, you must be willing to stay on a diet program long enough to see results. For real fat loss, this could mean 10-12 weeks or even longer. This is an arduous process for both beginners and expert dieters; there’s no tricks or easy ways to lose bodyfat other than low calorie dieting and lots of exercise. For sustained low calorie dieting, a once/week cheat meal is a great strategy for helping you stick with a program. After dieting perfectly through the week, a 1-time meal of anything you want (with controlled portions) provides the body with a calorie boost and does wonders for your mental game. Low calorie dieting day after day all week can put the body in a starvation mode, making it harder to lose weight. A cheat meal with much higher calories once/week lets the body know it’s not starving and it’s OK to continue losing weight. A once/week cheat meal also helps set a terrific goal to work for every week while also helps manage food cravings. There’s no doubt as to the effectiveness and logic behind using once/week cheat meals in your diet program. There is one small caution about once/week cheat meals…

These are the cheat meals that last up to 6 hours. After dieting for a long time, the leaner you get, the hungrier you get. At some point, it becomes very difficult to have precise control of your apatite at an ‘anything you want’ meal. Overeating, or sometimes just eating the wrong combination of foods can quickly put on 6-10 lbs. of scale weight. Depending on what you ate, this can take up to 4-6 days to remove, causing your whole week of work to set you only back to where you were, a zero gain. When using the once/week cheat meal strategy in your dieting, try to commit to cheat meals (of anything you want) but with only very controlled portions. Even following a strict protocol however, you will invariably run into a cheat meal that blows up your body with weight. If this happens, please read the following paragraphs for suggestions of how to recover/lose weight the fastest after a heavy cheat meal. Even if you are not currently on a strict regimen, this system may still work well for cleaning out the body after any blow out food event.

Start your first morning after the binge meal with an intermittent fast. Do not have your first meal until at least 12 noon. If you’re used to eating as soon as you get up, do not do so; wait until at least noon to eat. Get up several hours earlier than this however and exercise on an empty stomach. Your exercise should be sustained cardio plus a light session of weights if there’s time. Plan to exercise for at least 1.5-2 hours before the 12 noon first meal. The cardio you do should be double the amount you normally do. For example, if you normally walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill, you will walk for 1 hour. Then fill the rest of your 2 hour time frame with more cardio, calisthenics and/or light weight lifting. Weight lifting should use poundages light enough you can pump 10-20 reps with. Do not lift heavy and try to thrash the muscle. Choose two exercises you can use to add extra work for lagging body parts and/or strengthen a weakness you have and superset them for 4-5 sets of 10-20 reps. Finally, plan for one more hard cardio session in the evening (roughly 6+ hours later than the first workout preferably). Try to fill an hour with as much cardio and body weight calisthenics as possible.

Eating on the day after a cheat meal should be sparse. A full fast is not recommended here but also a great dieting strategy; the included intermittent fast is enough. Our goal on this day is to eat very lightly and stimulate pushing the bad food through as quickly as possible. First reduce the number of meals you eat on this day. If you normally eat only 3 meals, you will only get two. If you normally eat 5, you should have 3 plus a protein drink. Make all your meals protein rich with either chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meat, eggs and/or whey, at least 25-40 grams/protein per meal and corresponding to your lean body mass. Reduce the calories of your meals even further on this day by eating more vegetables than starches. If you only get two meals, eat only vegetables for your carbs. Try to include a raw vegetable in at least one of your meals, for example a big salad, raw broccoli sprigs, carrot sticks, etc. Also keep fats to a minimum on this day. Fats make your meals digest slower and we want these to push right through you. If you’re one who needs to do better with water consumption, this is the day to do it. You want to drink as much water as possible the day after a cheat meal to help push toxins and sugars through and help speed along digestion. Do not drink any other drinks other than coffee and water on this day.

The next day (2 days after the cheat meal), you will go back to your program like nothing ever happened. Following this eating/training plan should put you back on track by Wednesday or sooner (if your cheat meal was on Saturday). Results will vary depending on how much damage occurred at the cheat meal. The best results will be found when the cheat meal is kept in moderation in the first place. It should also be noted that this program has not been tested on different subjects and may only work well for the author however presented to introduce the technology and concepts. At the time of the writing of this article, the author was also doing 10+ hours cardio/week (cumulative), lifting weights 3-4 times/week for 1.5+ hour sessions and following a precision bodybuilding nutrition program seven days/week. If you are not in this shape, it is not known how well this system will work for you. If you are not used to the amount of training outlined above, the program should be scaled to fit your individual needs and should not be attempted without first consulting your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to do it.

Alicia D. Walker

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