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Cheat Day Diary (A Photographic Record of a Day of Pure Food Hedonism)

7 Aug

I don’t drink… I don’t smoke… I don’t do drugs… but by God do I EAT!!!

A well managed cheat day does not have to be a diet ruiner!

A well managed cheat day does not have to be a diet ruiner!

I have had a weekly cheat day for almost 7 years now and I refined my technique greatly after reading Tim Ferris’s “The 4 Hour Body”. I try to eat as clean as I can during the week but 1 day of pure food-based hedonism out of every 7 helps keep me sane and reminds me how crappy junk food makes me feel. I’ve written about the importance of cheat days for sticking to eating plans here!

The World Games ended here last Sunday (my usual cheat day) so this week I decided to make a pig of myself on Monday.

Here’s a step-by-step, bite-by-bite guide to gorging like a professional eater and not worrying about the repercussions. I’ve included estimates of calorie intake for the meals as best I can.

9.00am: Coffee to start the engines
I start a cheat day the same way I do every other day of the week. Three large glasses of ice-cold water followed by two large mugs of strong, black coffee. I “intermittent fast” so I don’t take any calories before at least midday which means I don’t use milk or sugar.

The caffeine in the coffee causes your body to release lipids from fat-cells into the blood stream when your body is in a fasted state. That means your morning coffee gets you burning fat as soon as you wake up.
Calories: 0

11.45am: Gym

Just back form the gym and ready to start my day of gluttony

Just back form the gym and ready to start my day of gluttony

I’m nursing an elbow injury at the moment and both my physiotherapist and chiropractor advised me to avoid upper body  movements for the next month. So I had a fairly heavy leg’s day to make up for it. I did eleven sets of 5 reps of squats pyramiding up to and then down from my maximum weight.

Having a cheat day on a heavy exercise day means that some of the excess calories you consume will at least be put to good use in rebuilding your muscles.

I also try to cycle around the city throughout the day to keep my muscles active which promotes the shuttling of nutrients into muscle cells in preference to fat storage.

1.00pm: Sugar Rush

Two local specialities, "Panelita de Leche" and "Arequipe". They're pretty much sugar and milk!

Two local specialties, “Panelita de Leche” and “Arequipe”. They’re pretty much sugar and milk!

Right after heavy exercise muscles need sugar to halt the catabolic (muscle break down) effects of cortisol. To begin the anabolic (muscle building) process nothing is better than high-glycemic (fast release) sugars. I normally use a couple of bananas but seeing as I didn’t have any food left in the house (I had no time to go shopping while volunteering at the games) these little desserts I received during the games had to suffice.
Calories: 180

1.20pm: Grilled Beef, Bolognaise, Cheese and Vegetable Sandwich

My first lunch; a surprisingly god sandwich!

My first lunch; a surprisingly good sandwich!

Calories: 600

1.50pm: Banana Bread

I really love good banana bread. This was far from the best I've ever had.

I really love good banana bread. Unfortunately this wasn’t that good!.

Calories: 200

2.10pm: Fried Chicken, Rice, Fried Potatoes, Roasted Plantain, Salad & Passion-fruit juice in milk

This was a nice post workout carb-boost

This was a nice post workout carb-boost (Roasted plantain and fried yellow potatoes are amongst my favourite foods in Colombia)

The day previously I had a whole conversation about fried chicken with my buddy Santana which combined with watching the movie “Soul Plane” left me with some serious cravings for fried chicken. This really hit the spot.

Gloves for eating chicken are such a great idea.

Gloves for eating chicken are such a great idea.

I also had to show a picture of something I’ve only seen in Colombia. People eat fried chicken here with gloves and although it looks weird at first it really is a great idea and stops your fingers getting super greasy.

Also, if you’ve never tried passion fruit juice in milk before, you haven’t lived
Calories: 1300

3.30pm: Peach Genovesa and Black Coffee

This is at one of my favourite cafes in Cali

This is at one of my favorite cafes in Cali

A genovesa is like a sponge cake that has been soaked in condensed milk and cream to create an incredibly wet, sweet cake which in this case was topped with peach compote. I try not to drink my calories so the coffee was black and unsweetened.

On another note, if you’re wondering how I pass my time in between mouthfuls, I read a lot while I’m eating. I always have a selection of books stored on my phone so I never get bored while I’m gorging myself.
Calories: 500

4.10pm: Cherry Cheesecake Ice-cream

Some of Colombia's best icecream courtesy of "Crepes & Waffles"

Some of Colombia’s best ice-cream courtesy of “Crepes & Waffles”

Calories: 200

4.40pm: Almojabana

One of Colombia's better pastry products: Light, slightly cheesy and with a hint of sweetness

One of Colombia’s better pastry products: Light, slightly cheesy and with a hint of sweetness

Calories: 180

4.50pm: Oreo-Cream Cupcake

This expensive little fecker neither lived up to its name nor price tag

This expensive little fecker neither lived up to its name nor its price tag

Calories: 300

5.00pm: Calorie Mate

"Cheese" flavor apparently... they should return to testing.

“Cheese” flavor, apparently… they really should return to taste testing.

Calorie Mate is a product that anyone who has lived in Japan for any decent length of time will recognize. It’s basically a “nutritionally balanced” meal replacement biscuit. I received loads from the Japanese Ultimate Frisbee Team that I was translating for during the World Games. I fail to understand it’s popularity.
Calories: 200

5.10pm: Instant “Tan Tan Men” noodles

Another gift from the Japanese Frisbee Team.

Another gift from the Japanese Frisbee Team.

Calories: 120

5.20pm: Probiotic Yogurt

This is my favourite yoghurt here because of the probiotic mix it contains

This is my favorite yogurt here because of the probiotic mix it contains

Eating huge quantities of sugar and other junk foods can play havoc with your intestinal flora (the bacteria that live in your digestive tract) so I always make sure I take a good hit of probiotic (good bacteria) yogurt when I have a cheat day to help restore the balance of good bacteria faster.
Calories: 50

5.30pm: Nutella (imitation)

Not the real deal but just as tasty!

Not the real deal but just as tasty!

I found this imitation nutella on special offer. I hadn’t had nutella in a while so I added it to the cart. I polished off half of it the way it’s supposed to be done… straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Calories: 550

7.00pm: Oreo Ice-cream

This stuff is simply orgasmic!

This stuff is simply orgasmic!

I have a serious weakness for Ice-cream and this Oreo ice-cream by Popsy is amazing (I avoided it for ages because I “kind of” snobbishly looked down on oreos but it really is an amazing ice-cream. I got through about three quarters of the tub.
Calories: 1200

8.00pm: Oatmeal (The Cleanup Guy)

One very runny bowl of porridge (oatmeal)

One very runny bowl of porridge (oatmeal)

It’s a great idea to finish off a cheat day with a good punch of soluble fiber. This helps to move the food through your digestive tract faster and the soluble fiber also cleans your intestines along the way helping to expel any waste that might otherwise remain after such a day of gluttony.

A couple of tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds in water (swallowed as fast as possible as it’s horrible stuff) would be even better.
Calories: 50

9.10pm: One seriously distended stomach

To say that I was on the point of exploding would be quite accurate.

To say that I was on the point of exploding would be quite accurate.

Grand Calorie Total: 5630

Am I worried about this huge glut of calories? No.

Why? Because every other day of the week I eat very, very healthy food in very controlled portions.

If I ate like this everyday I wouldn’t live very long. I would probably have died of a heart attack or diabetes years ago. But I have more sense than that. I realize how important diet is in maintaining one’s health but I’m also aware that it is what you eat most of the time and not what you eat only rarely that makes the difference.

I’ve written a few pointers on how to correctly manage a cheat day at the end of this article. Read and understand them and you too can enjoy a day of pure food pleasure once a week and not have to worry about ruining your diet progress.

Happy Eating Folks

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Have you been working-out lately? Because you look spectacular 🙂 If you liked this article go ahead and share it with your friends via the Facebook or Twitter buttons below and if you use Stumbleupon please give it a “Thumbs Up”. I’d really appreciate it 😉

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15 Responses to “Cheat Day Diary (A Photographic Record of a Day of Pure Food Hedonism)”

  1. Miguel August 7, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Richie you look great … I think that menu is working for you!! Jejjeje what is happening with you? Ages without news from you! Hugs Miguel

    • The Dancing Irishman August 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Thanks Miguel. All’s great here, I’m really looking forward to the salsa festival this weekend!

  2. Joshua August 7, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    As someone who has lived in Cali and will be back very soon…You need to list the places where you get the food! Some of that stuff looked great!

  3. mapes24 August 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    The fried chicken gloves! I remember seeing them for the first time in Medellin, and I also thought those were freakin’ genius, haha! Btw, great site!

    • The Dancing Irishman August 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      I’m glad you like the site, thanks for checking it out.
      It’s gonna be weird if I ever go anywhere where I don’t have gloves for eating my chicken now haha!

  4. Peter Murray August 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Great post Richie. I think we follow quite a similar nutritional ‘regime’… I’m not a fan of that term because it makes it sound like it’s painful to follow when it really feels quite natural and automatic after doing it for some time. I’m on my holidays now so I’m perhaps throwing in one too many cheat days… Ah well, I can cut in September 😉 keep up the good work, I find your posts quite motivational even when they’re about salsa, something I don’t have the faintest idea about.

    • The Dancing Irishman August 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks Peter, I’m glad you’re finding something useful in the stuff I write. I guess motivation can really carry it’s message across genres.
      You never struck me at the kind of person who has to “cut” though. Are you big into nutrition?

      • Peter August 8, 2013 at 9:23 am #

        Haha, well yea, I was kind of joking about the ‘cut’. I have gained a fair bit of weight since coming to Japan however, good weight I think. I’ve always been into exercise and nutrition (well at least since my teens), just have become a bit more focused in the last two years, I think I can thank the 田舎 for that… Working out and eating are both great cures for boredom, amongst many other things :p

        What about yourself? When did you get into being as health conscious as you are?

      • The Dancing Irishman August 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

        Yup, the inaka will do that to ya. As for me, being fat in secondary school got me into sports and nutrition when I was about 15!

  5. Sara December 30, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    I am a girl ! and i don’t do workout because of my exams can i have it once a week ? and how many calories should i eat on it I’m 167cm and 61 kg thank you

    • The Dancing Irishman December 31, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      Hi Sara
      The whole point of the cheat day is to not really care about the calories you take in. You do this by eating in a controlled, healthy manner during the week. That way you don’t have to worry about what you eat one day out of 7 because the other 6 days you’re eating responsibly.
      Again, I’ll say that the number of calories doesn’t matter on a cheat day but only if the rest of your week is healthy.

      Also, it’s not vital that you exercise on a cheat day but it does help a lot and stops you from making a mess of the progress you’ve made during the week so I recommend trying to get some exercise time in (even cycling or walking to school helps).

      I’m actually writing another article on how to eat a healthy diet which I’ll be publishing early next year but for some starting ideas, check out this article I wrote a while back:
      https://thedancingirishman.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-lean-mean-salsa-machine-a-concise-guide-to-eating-sleeping-and-moving/

      • Sara December 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        oh thank you so much ! I’ll try walking to my collage , best wishes

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Bullet-Proof your Diet (Tips to help you stick to your diet, whatever it is)(Part 2) | The Dancing Irishman - August 10, 2013

    […] To check out a diabetes-inducing photo log of how I enjoy my own cheat days check this out! […]

  2. The Best Diet in the World (and why I don’t follow it) | The Dancing Irishman - March 11, 2014

    […] but it’s the best I’m willing to do. I also don’t want to give up some of my favorite foods  on my cheat days (heaven […]

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