Journal Entry 213 -Protein is King

Another week on my 3 day full body split and really enjoying it. I was able to increase almost every lift yet again and leg movements have felt almost easy to me. Usually on leg exercises I bump the weight up by at least 10 lbs and upperbody gets moved up 5lbs each workout.

Squats 205 x6,6,6,6 so moving to 215 next workout.  Lunges 50lb db’s for 4 sets of 10 reps. I was shocked at how easily I knocked those out. Moving up to 55lbs in each hand next workout. Trap bar deadlifts were the last workout and I did 215lbs for 4 sets of 10 reps, so I will hit 225 reps next workout.

All of my push movements I was able to pick up a few reps, but BB seated press was the only one I could increase to the next weight. Still working with 185lbs for BB bench for 4 sets of 6reps, 110lbs for seated BB shoulder press and 75lbs in each hand for low incline press for 4-5 sets of 40 reps goal.

Pulling movements, BB row I’m able to increase to 145lbs next workout after knocking out 140lbs for 40 reps. Chinups are slowly increasing and I was able to pick up a few reps on each day but not enough to increase the total weight.

As for arms, shoulders and abs; I’m still working with 80lbs for BB curls and got 32 reps, so sticking with that next week. Dips increased again and will use 15lbs added next week. I’m putting the weight between my feet instead of using a belt for this workout though. Helps keep my body straightened and I actually feel it more in my chest this way. Lateral raises I’m up to 20lbs for a 40 reps goal and both reverse crunch and cable crunch were significantly increased from last week. On reverse crunch I just move the setting up a little, so I can get more of a steeper incline.

On all days I shoot for about 10000 steps a day through walking. I usually get closer to 12-13000 steps a day right now, mainly because I have more time on my hands.

My calories have been averaging about 1800-2000 calories a day and I haven’t weighed myself in roughly 2 weeks. The last time I did I was around 175lbs on a doctors scale for a checkup. My scale is broken and I will likely buy another one, but I feel like I just dont need it right now. I have been getting stronger and continue to lose body fat. I know this due to the mirror and the way my clothes fit. My 32″ pants feel much more comfortable then they did after my 3 month hiatus of not really tracking anything haha. I estimate my intake during this time was around 24-2500 calories a day, but that was an estimation. I was playing around with low protein intakes during this time, because apparently “you didn’t need that much” and ate more carbs and fats as a result. I also added in some alcohol into my diet. But basically I would track 2400 calories, but in reality it could have been far greater, because I wasn’t exactly tracking very closely. The results showed too. After I got back from my cruise, I’ve almost had tunnel vision getting back to my ways. I should mention though, this is a relative “out of shape.” I like to stay pretty lean almost all the time, because of personal preference. So anytime I gain weight, I notice immediately and my pants feel tight and definition is blurred. For me this unacceptable. I also noticed that even though my calories were higher, my lifts weren’t moving at all. So basically I was building fat and not muscle.

These last 3 weeks I’ve noticed a lot about what personally works for me. High protein, moderate carb, low fat seems to be the holy grail for my body. I have played around with a lot of different things and I’m glad I did them, because I know they don’t work for me. This way of eating is simple, focus on protein foods for all meals, throw in some fruits and vegetables and add in small amounts of fats at each meal. My energy and strength has never been better. I’m also having a much easier time leaning out with this diet. Maybe the high thermic effect, but I have tried a similar diet with a low fat intake, but focused on carb foods and less on protein and the results weren’t nearly as good. In my humble opinion, I really think it has to do with fuel utilization.

I can eat as much protein as I want and not put an ounce of body fat on. I dont get bloated with protein and digest it very well. It reduces my appetite and cravings, especially for carbs. I find it painfully easy to eat this way and my energy and strength in the gym is never better. During times of stress or dieting more protein has been shown to be very effective at helping the body recover and I have noticed these benefits. Soreness is very light and I’m able to progress much faster between workouts. Again this is protein magic in my opinion. I was on the same routine with more calories and carbs and fats and it didn’t do anything good for me.

At the moment my goal is just to focus on protein foods and veggies. This is the foundation of my diet. I’m ditching a lot of the added fat sources for now, like guacamole, fatty cheeses, whole eggs, added oils. I need some fat, but seem to look a lot leaner without these things. I plan on keeping my fat intake around 40-50 grams, which seems to work best for me. Anytime I play around with high fat intakes, my calories tend to be hard to hit, appetite actually goes up and I dont really notice any benefits, except a softer appearance.

Carbs have been mainly from fruits and vegetables. My intake of those has been roughly 100-160g a day. This seems to work very well for me. I occasionally throw in some bread, but typically dont eat too much starch. Don’t really need it either, just tends to slow me down.

My calories on an ideal day at the moment is 1800 calories – 200g protein / 135g of carbs 50g of fat. This is usually what my routine diet looks like:

  • Meal 1 – 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, 3/4 tbsp of peanut butter, coffee with splenda and half and half
  • Supplements – Creatine 5g, Glycine 5g, Fish Oil 1.8g of EPA/DHA, Vitamin D, Pregnelone 30mg, Magensium
  • Meal 2 – 6-8oz of meat (chicken, tuna, seafood, pork tenderloin, red meat, 5-6 egg whites with 1 whole egg) 1 low fat cheese wedge, 3 servings of green vegetables, some type of low calorie sauce
  • Meal 3 – Quest bar and half of a pure protein bar
  • Meal 4 – Same as Meal 2
  • Meal 5 – Casein protein powder with berries and some fat free redi whip

This is still a very balanced diet in my opinion it’s just that protein has precedence over everything else, meaning the focus is on protein and everything else naturally falls into place. Also I have been rotating my protein sources a lot. Meaning I try to get a different meat at each meal, just to prevent burning out on a certain type. I also never go below 40 grams of fat a day. If I’m lower than this I’ll add in some peanut butter at the end of the day. A little fat goes a long way. I almost always hit enough fat though, so it’s not an issue. Most protein foods always have some fat in them.

I should also mention that in addition to bumping up the protein, I’ve also been taking creatine. This could be another reason for my strength gains. I’m at a very interesting point right now though, so I’m going to ride it out as long as I can.

Forgot to mention as well, In my article low carb limbo, My goal was to hit at least 12-1300 calories a day worth of GLUCOSE calories. Eating 100-150g of carbs and 200 grams of protein or more easily hits that. This is another reason why dietary fat needs to be reduced. As I alluded to earlier, I think making protein the most important thing and making sure I eat enough glucose has been the main reason I’ve been able to increase my strength in a deficit.

A lot of my pictures didn’t show up on my pc for some reason, but here is a couple:

Journal Entry 212 – More Knowledge

Really good week in training and eating. Don’t have a whole lot going on socially at the moment, especially during the week and this allows me to be much more consistent with my diet and training times.

Training I was able to increase my weight almost across every exercise, each day, except for barbell bench press. That was the only exercise that felt very heavy for some reason. Leg strength is picking back up quick, which is awesome. I have felt very good though in terms of strength in the gym. One change I did make to my workout is reduce the rest time between sets back to a normal 1 min – 1min 30 seconds instead of 45 seconds. I felt the quicker rest times were annoying and were getting in the way of me progressing. Martin Berkhan had a good article stating that strength and cardio are completely different and should be treated as such. I couldn’t agree more and I wanted to be ready to go for each set instead of rushing it.

My workouts set a rep goal of either 24 total reps or 40 total reps on each exercise. When 24 reps is the goal I need to get the selected weight up in either 3-4 sets in order to bump the weight up next workout. On the days I’m shooting for 40 reps on each exercise, I allow myself a range of 38-40 reps to be completed in 4-5 sets. This means if I hit 38 reps through 5 sets I will allow myself to increase the weight, but 37 or lower I have to stay with that weight. I really like this system of progressive overload though, especially on the last set because I like pushing myself to go hard to ensure I can bump up the weight next time.

  • BB Squats 195lbs – easily got 24 reps in 4 sets, so bumping to 205 next workout
  • Lunges – 45lbs each hand got 41 reps in 5 sets, so bumping to 50lbs in each hand for next workout
  • BB row – 135lbs for 5 sets of 8 reps, bumping to 140lbs next workout
  • BB Curl – 75lbs for 5 sets and got 38 reps. Barely got it, but will bump to 80lbs next workout
  • Trapbar Deadlifts – 205 for 5 sets of 42 reps total. Will bump to 215 next workout
  • DB low inc bench press – 70lbs each hand for 39 total reps. Will bump up to 75’s next workout
  • Dips 5lbs between feet for an easy 40 reps. Will bump up to 10lbs next workout
  • DB lateral raise 17.5lbs each hand for 41 reps. Will bump up to 20lbs next workout

These were just a few highlights of what I was able to increase. I was not able to increase chinups, barbell bench or barbell shoulder press unfortunately. Although I got very close on the shoulder press. As I said last week though, I really like the 3 day split in terms of just being able to feel fresh on every single workout. The other days include walking, stretching and light bodyweight exercises, but nothing taxing.

Diet wise I’m hitting 2000 calories every day. Average intake was 160g protein / 190g of carbs / 50g fiber / 70g fat. This was almost perfect and is exactly where I want to be. I look and feel my best on this amount 90% of the time. This is roughly 600 calories under my maintenance each day, so right around a pound of fat loss a week.

My consistency has been on point for the last two weeks though every single day and I have noticed big time. The past few months leading up to this, I was kind of all over the place, but I’m fixing that now.

Jacob Wilson was on a new podcast this week talking about some really interesting points with diet. I’ll list a few highlights of the notes I took down.

  • Increasing protein can be an effective tool to “reverse diet” because its very hard to store as fat. Meaning if you want to increase your calories without getting fat, protein should likely be the first increase you make. As you get calories back up and hold weight steady, then slowly reduce protein and add in more carbs and fat
  • A new study compared two groups of intermediate weight lifters. One group took in 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and the other group took in 3.4 grams of protein per kg or 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Both groups made similar improvements in performance and gained the same amount of lean mass, but the higher protein group lost more fat, despite eating more calories. Pretty interesting considering they ate more calories, gained just as much muscle and lost more fat. Pretty sure no one would complain about those results.
  • Another effective way of dieting would be to diet for 11 days then take 3 day off and repeat. This has been shown to be more effective that people that just dieted the whole time. I’m guessing the 3 days is a long enough period of time to reset hormones and bump up leptin and the metabolism for a period of time.
  • He recommend a mimimum of 2 grams per kg of protein and usually recommends 3 grams per kg when undergoing very hard training or losing fat.
  • He doesn’t recommend setting protein and fat then filling the rest with carbs, which is the approach many people take. He basically said carbs tend to make people fat over time and you could always increase to more protein or fat because in some people this will allow them to stay leaner when calories get higher.
  • He compared 2 groups of elite athletes. I’m assuming they were already very lean to begin with. One group tried to lose two pounds a week and the other tried to lose only one pound per week. The group that tried to lose two pounds per week lost 20% of their fat mass and lost some muscle, while the other group lost 30% of their fat mass and gained muscle. So the group on higher calories lost more fat mass and gained muscle. Nice! He stated that the leaner you get the slower you need to take it, in terms of a calorie deficit. The fatter you are the more aggressive you can be, but need to slow down once you become lean.

Some pics from the week:





Journal Entry 211 – New Diet and Workout Approach

Being unemployed has give me a lot of time to research questions and topics I never quite fully understood before. For example, if low carb is so effective then why do you need a minimum of 1-2 refeeds a week to prevent your metabolism from crashing? Do refeeds actually work? Is keto a good approach and how do you do it? Can you build muscle and burn fat simultaneously and if you can how exactly do you pull it off? Is full body or split training more effective? Why do some people get better results with the same program and others don’t? What plan will take my body my to the next level and end this plateau? How do I prevent the weekends from destroying my progress?

Luckily I found answers to most of those questions and have planned a new approach to encompass all of them.

After doing a 5 day split last week with one body part each day, I came to a realization. Almost no one needs to spend that much time on one body part. Sure people do it and get results, but it takes an enormous amount of time and isn’t necessary in the least. When I go to the gym, I want to feel like I worked out. When I go in and do one body part, I end up doing way too much volume per body part, because I feel like I’m just not working hard enough. It’s like this feeling on dissatisfaction. With Fullbody workouts its quite the opposite. Usually towards the end I’m struggling to finish and after I feel really satisfied after putting in a lot work. With fullbody you only lift 3 times a week, but each session is incredible. With a 5 day split, demotivation starts to set in and going to the gym feels like a chore. Especially when I get there and have been lifting for an hour and feel like I just wasted my time because there’s only so many lateral raises you can do on shoulder day. I was reading a workout that Chad Waterbury came out with and modified it to my liking. I did this past week and it was the best thing I have done in years of lifting. It also pushed me harder than I’ve been pushed in a long time.

The Workout routine and details:

This plan is a fullbody workout done 3 times a week. There are two moderate rep days and one heavy day.

The instructions are as follows:

  • Each workout has a Push, Pull and Legs exercise to start the workout and is the core focus. These change each day of the week.
  • Each day has either a heavy rep day or a moderate rep day. The heavy rep day is one day a week and consists of finding your 6 rep max on each exercise. The moderate days (2 a week) consist of finding your 8-9 Rep Max on each exercise.
  • On the heavy day your have a rep goal of 24 reps. This means you take as many sets as necessary to reach 24 reps. You also rest a max of one minute between sets. This means it could take you ten sets to hit 24, but you can’t move to the next exercise without hitting that number. Heavy weights and short rest times are not easy, but it pushes you to do more work in less time.
  • The moderate day is set up the exact same way, except your rep goal is 40 reps, since the weight is lighter.
  • Progression is reached once you are able to hit your rep goals within 4 sets on heavy day and 5 sets on moderate day. Once you are able to complete all reps within 4-5 sets, then increase the weight, following the same instructions.
    • Example – Moderate Day Chinups – 8 reps, 7, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 (41 reps hit, but it took 10 sets)
    • Example 2 – DB Inc Bench Press – 65lbs each – 10 reps, 8, 8, 7, 7 (40 reps hit within 5 sets, increase the weight next time)
      • Also if you hit like 38-39 reps within 5 sets then likely an increase in weight next time is necessary.

I have never worked out in fashion such as this, but it was awesome. My abs have never been this sore and the workout selection is very minimalist style. Here is the workout below, modified to my liking:

  • Day 1 – Heavy 6 RM
    • BB Squats
    • Bench Press
    • Chinups
    • Cable Crunch
    • Rear Delt machine
  • Day 2 – Moderate 8-9RM
    • DB Lunge
    • Barbell Shoulder Press (seated)
    • Barbell Row
    • Barbell Curl
    • Reverse Crunch
  • Day 3 – Moderate 8-9 RM
    • Trap-Bar Deadlift
    • DB Incline Press
    • Chinups
    • Dips
    • DB Lateral Raises

Very, very simple exercise selection. The last two exercises are what I consider to be optional, but very valuable isolation movements to include. Chinups are very difficult to do after deadlifts on day 3. It took me awhile to finish those haha. I haven’t been this sore in awhile to be honest. This workout as simple as it looks is not easy though. The volume can get pretty high and if you’re not sore the next day then you picked the wrong weight or didn’t follow the rest period of one minute max. My rest days include some bodyweight exercises, stretching and walking, but nothing overly taxing.

Total weekly volume is right around 100 reps or so for each body part, maybe slightly more for certain body parts. This seems to be enough for hypertrophy to occur without overkill on the volume.

I wrote a post this morning that kind of went over where my diet is headed. Calories will be around 1800 a day with protein and carbs totaling at least 1300 calories a day and fat at around 40-50grams. Carbs and Protein will be around 165 grams a piece. I would like to be leaner than I am now because for a couple of months I haven’t been as on “top of my game” as I would have liked. Not that I got out of shape or anything, but not as lean I as I like to be. My cheat days were becoming more common and it would set me back a few days. I will probably keep protein slightly higher and carbs slightly lower out of personal preference.

On an unrelated note, Creed may have been the best movie I have seen in a long time. Incredible acting and storyline. Also found it to be incredibly motivation personally.

Also Giants decided to lose to the Redskins this week. They could have literally walked into the playoffs, but decided to lose instead and will likely miss the playoffs, because their remaining schedule is very difficult. Good job Giants. 😉

Some pics from the week:


Low Carb Limbo, Keto and Building Muscle While Burning Fat

Low carb limbo is essentially a grey area between keto dieting and a normal carb based diet. I discovered this term reading through a blog that I will cite at the bottom of the article. Low Carb is a very vague term. Most people know that 3-400 grams a day is not low carb, but is 150grams low carb? I think many people get stuck in Low carb limbo, myself included in the past, and I think a lot of it is just poor advice, even from experts. I have read a lot of articles stating that anywhere from 50grams – 100grams is good for fat loss. Where did this number come from though? I mean that’s not a good number for fat loss if you eat 200 grams of fat a day. Many people think that ketosis develops when carbs dip under 100 grams of carbs. It may, but it may not. Even if it does develop its usually not enough ketones to replace all the glucose you still need for basic basal functions. After going back and reading some articles by Jacob Wilson I think people should take one of two approaches to stay out of this low carb limbo. Staying out of this grey area should greatly increase your energy levels, protect your muscle (I’ll explain why in a minute), and should allow you to bust through your body composition plateaus.

The first approach is to go straight ketogenic. A perfect healthy and safe diet, but in  my opinion very difficult to achieve in today’s society, especially if your social. This requires you keep carbs under 30 grams for a long period of time. No one really knows how long it takes, but for many that have achieved full ketosis it can take a long time, such as weeks or more at a time. Probably depends on the diet you were on before you attempted it. You also have NO carb refeeds at all. Refeeding throws you out of ketosis and can take you a while to get back into it, which ruins the effectiveness of the diet. You also need a very high fat intake and need to keep protein below 120grams and it may be even lower than that. Eating too much protein will throw you out of ketosis and ruin the effectiveness of the diet. Doesn’t sound too fun anymore does it. By eating carbs and protein in too high of an amount the body starts to shift over to glucose burning again and this can be very bad for your muscle mass. Ketones displace glucose only when the body has no source of glucose. The diet would likely get pretty stale after awhile, because you would be eating the same fatty foods over and over. But some people do like it. Jacob Wilson also found that when carb totals were increased above 30 grams to 60g and 104g, even a high protein intake couldn’t prevent muscle loss on a diet. Now I know that low carb limbo is responsible for this and I’ll explain why during the second approach. So with keto, you’re either on or your off. There isn’t a middle ground with this diet and protein and carbs NEED to be controlled and kept low for it to work. Personally, even though keto has some really interesting benefits, there is no way I would ever attempt this diet.

The second approach and what most people need to stick to is a carb based diet of around 150grams a day minimum on average. I consider 150grams to be a low to moderate carb diet and with this many carbs you are not on keto and you aren’t in low carb limbo. After reading through how much glucose needs you have in your body the answer for most people under restful conditions is about 150g-170g a day. This is to regulate glucose needed by the brain, liver, red blood cells and immune functions. This is also doesn’t change much based on a person’s size. If you weigh 400lbs or 120lbs these are likely unchanged, because organs dont really vary in size.

Guess what happens when you eat 50grams of carbs a day… you start to lose muscle unless your protein is extremely high. Protein can displace carbs almost at a 1:1 ratio so that body can get its glucose, but you dont want protein to be used in this manner. You want protein to be used for structural functions and muscle building. Well at least people that want to look good do. So bascially the protein you eat is being used as an energy source. This means no muscle building and strength loses, because the basic structural functions of the body are more important than building muscle. So lets take our example of someone eating 50grams of carbs a day. Lets say the body requires 170grams of carbs (under restful conditions) so you ate 50g of carbs, but you still need another 120grams of glucose. Say goodbye to your protein intake. Let’s say you eat 120grams of protein a day. Many consider this low if your a bodybuilder, but I feel like most people consider this high. All of that protein is going to be used as carbs, to feed the brain and basic functions and this leaves none left over for your actual protein needs. Now it probably doesn’t work exactly like that in the body, but the point is when your trying to build or even protect muscle on a diet, you DO NOT want gluconeogensis to occur in a manner such as this. I guess you could eat 300 grams of protein to prevent this if you truly didn’t like eating carbs, but that’s up to you. I will say though that is a saving grace of high protein diets. If you do consume this much, you are eating enough glucose to provide the brain, liver and immune system with glucose and still have enough protein left over to protect and maybe build muscle. I also forgot to mention that those are the needs you have BEFORE activity is factored in. If you lift weights you needs go up even more. Lifting on too low of a carb intake doesnt really sound like a good idea anymore. Not unless you carb cycle, but in reality all cycling does is balance out your weekly intake anyway.

So summing up the second and recommended approach: When dieting or just eating at general maintenance, you want at least 1200 calories a day worth of glucose before activity is factored in. This can be achieved with 150grams of carbs and 150grams of protein. Protein has been shown to be toxic in large amounts, so I would honestly ditch the excessive protein (eating in excess of 200grams) and eat a more normal diet including a decent amount of carbs. The sources likely dont matter as Menno Henselmans has pointed out in his article: Is a Carb a Carb?. Once 1200 calories of glucose are achieved your muscle mass will be protected and likely allowed to get bigger, since none of the carbs will be needed for gluconeogensis.

Weight lifting also increases your needs, but its probably not as much as you think. If you do a pretty normal 4 day split routine with a combo of isolation and compounds and with not much cardio besides just walking, then your probably need an additional 300grams over the course of the week to replenish what you used on TOP of the glucose needs I stated above. 300 grams may even be stretching it, as the ATP system is relied on sometimes far more than glucose when lifting weights, but lets play it safe.

So if someone that weighed around 75-80kg was trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, then this is what I would recommend based on this information.

The first step is to factor in your daily glucose needs on a weekly basis. 1200 calories of glucose a day maximizes your glucose needs under restful conditions, but lets factor in exercise. 1200 x 7 = 8400 calories. Add in another 300grams or 1200 calories for the workout and you are now at 9600 calories a week. 9600 / 7 = 1371 calories a day. 1371 / 4 = 342 grams of glucose a day to provide everything the body needs. 342 / 2 = 171grams of carbs and 171grams of protein if you split it evenly down the middle. If you want to go higher or lower carb or vice versa, that is individual and up to you, but you want to consume at least this. An example, lets say you are carb sensitive and like eating protein more. You could eat 220 grams of protein and 122g of carbs or lets say you hate protein and do well with higher carbs, then you could do 240 carbs and do 102 grams of protein. The total glucose needs are the most important factor. Now factor in your fat intake. I wouldn’t recommend going below 40grams of fat ever, because under this level absorbing vitamins and minerals, testosterone, diet adherence and maybe even depression can become a big issue. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit to fat intake however. As I stated the glucose needs are somewhat of a minimum and maximum. This means that this is what the body requires to fuel bodily functions and to build and protect muscle mass on a non ketogenic diet. But going above this amount serves no additional benefits and if you go to high in carbs, you’ll probably just get fat if you dont handle carbs well. This means that fat can fill up the rest of your needs if you wish. That’s quite a large range from fat, but this person wants to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. That means that body fat needs to come into play as an energy source, so eating a ton of fat would negatively impact the burning of the body’s fat stores.

(Sidenote) – After looking this up, its kind of interesting how this looks strikingly similar to many precontest diets that bodybuilders have known about for years, even if they didn’t know the actual science behind how it worked. Anecdotal evidence at its finest.

So lets go back to the minimum calories and carbs/protein/fats this person needs to achieve his goal. Carbs 171grams / Protein 171grams / Fat 40grams – Total Calories – 1728 calories a day. Based on this persons needs he would likely lose muscle if he dipped below this amount of calories based on his size. If not lose muscle, then he would definitely not be building any muscle dipping below this intake. I would honestly set his fats to at least 50grams, so that would move him right up to 1820 calories a day, but if he liked 40grams of fat he would likely be fine. If he wanted to reduce his calories to lose fat faster, then he would need to reduce his weekly workout volume to ensure recovery. If this person was completely sedentary for a week or so then he would need a minimum of 1200 glucose calories and 40 grams of fat at least, so about 1560 calories.

Also I sort of mentioned this earlier, but carb cycling could work for a plan like this, but is completely unnecessary unless you actually enjoy it. As long as the weekly average is the same it really doesn’t matter if you cycle your intake.

Be careful of refeeding and cheats on a plan like this. What I presented was your daily balance of all you need to burn fat and build muscle. That means if you want to burn the max amount of fat you need to be between 1720-1820 calories a day averaged out over the week. If you refeed or cheat, then you need to factor that in to your weekly balance. So if you go 6 days of 1750 calories and have an all out cheat day of 4000 calories, your weekly calorie balance is 2070 calories. Which can negatively impact your fat burning. Consistency is crucial on a plan like this. If you have a big meal coming or party coming up then, go low calorie or intermittent fast until the big event so you can stick to your numbers. Or you can go higher calorie that day, but will need to go low calorie the next day to balance it out.

Also cheats and refeeds are not the same. Cheats are rarely a good idea and can set you back a week if it had a lot of fat, because almost all fat is stored in a surplus, especially if lots of carbs and protein were along side it. (Which I’m sure they will be on a cheat)

Refeeds are a much better approach, but their effectiveness is questionable. Refeeds seem to be much more effective if you are not eating enough carbs or glucose to begin with. So if you are dieting in low carb limbo, between 40g-140g or so and not eating enough protein to compensate, then refeeds can help balance you out and upregulate metabolism and leptin for a max of about 24-48hours or so. I would only recommend these if you hit a plateau and you have been consistently on point for at least 2 weeks. I do think a refeed is probably a good idea at this point. Until you reach this point though, you should have plenty of glucose to prevent leptin and energy from going to low anyway, so I wouldn’t mess around with these too much.