A woman who exercises six days a week says she consumes 9,000 calories on cheat days, including six doughnuts for breakfast.
Livia Adams, 25, regularly shares mouthwatering snaps of the incredible meals she makes on her cheat days on her Instagram and YouTube where she has 54,600 and 196,000 followers respectively.
In 2014, the business owner, student, and content creator from Bonn, Germany, struggled with depression, which caused her to restrict what she was eating to just 500 to 600 calories per day.
Over time, Livia started to recover from her depression and in turn, started to enjoy life and the food she had previously denied herself all over again.
A few years later, Livia started to share videos and pictures of herself enjoying cheat meals online in a bid to ‘help others regain a healthy relationship with food and to help them with their recovery.’
On average, Livia has one cheat day per week, where she focuses on enjoying the foods she eats and does not focus on calorie intake – though she estimates that she could eat anywhere between 5,500 and 9,000 calories per day.
A typical cheat day consists of: six donuts for breakfast, burger and fries for lunch, a pizza or a sandwich with fries or onion rings and a milkshake for dinner, and crisps, muffins, cake pops and nuts for snacks.
She has been accused of being ‘fat’ by trolls – but she’s determined not to feed off this negative energy.
Instead, she focuses on the positive comments she receives from people who say she’s helped them regain a positive relationship with food.
Livia’s boyfriend, Nathan, 33, also films cheat days for YouTube and he has been her rock throughout her recovery.
“The root of my restrictive eating patterns was depression and recovery – especially from this depression – was difficult,” said Livia.
“The feelings of apathy and indifference also applied to food during this time so there was no reason to do anything or to eat since it didn’t matter to me.
“Recovery was more the journey of finding joy in life again rather than just fixing an eating pattern. Over time, I became more flexible with situations in general and also with food.
“I was able to enjoy myself again – aside from food – which helped me focus less on food since I used food to make my body feel something physically since I didn’t feel anything mentally.”
Livia admitted that introducing cheat days into her diet was “a shock to the system” but it was a necessary tactic for her to want to control what she’s eating less.
“Over the years, I have become fully flexible and re-found my joy in life. I can enjoy food but I don’t rely on it anymore” she added.
“I have a cheat day a maximum of once a week or every other week and then cheat meals in between. I do not count calories and I don’t know how much I consume since I focus on enjoying myself and not worrying about calories too much.
“I am guessing that my relaxed cheat days are between five-and-a-half-thousand and nine-thousand calories max.
“I think consistency is key with everything in life. I don’t think overcompensating these days with excessive exercise is the way to go.”
Instead, she follows a steady six-days a week fitness plan, which includes a five-mile walk and a twenty-minute workout.
This way she can get a good sweat on and free her mind without over-exerting herself.
She also never exercises on a cheat day – she uses this time to let her mind and body rest completely.
Livia says she has Instagram and YouTube to thank for freeing herself of her food fear.
“I kind of felt responsible to keep creating content that encouraged others to also embark on the recovery journey.
“It had its nasty sides such as bullying and verbal abuse. I think it made me stronger and more self-confident because I had to learn to not care about what others thought of me.
“I am trying to not feed off any negative energy. My videos are supposed to make people smile. I want to show myself enjoying the food freely with no negative thoughts or controlling mindset.
“I have heard everything though. It is not just about eating; people take it to the personal level insulting my appearance or telling me that I got fat.
“However, there is an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from people who are telling me that my videos helped them to regain a healthy relationship with food or helped them embark on their way to recovery.
“If my videos just helped one person be nicer to themselves, my job is done. I find it incredibly humbling.”
A typical non-cheat day of meals for Livia consists of a protein bar for breakfast, a keto tortilla wrap with eggs and hot sauce for lunch with a protein bar or mini keto cheesecake for dessert and a huge salad with chicken, guacamole and vegetables for dinner, also with keto ice-cream.
Although Livia has competed in eating challenges in the past, she doesn’t plan on doing any more in the future, as she doesn’t support “force-feeding.”
She also urges others not to partake, instead, she encourages them to incorporate cheat days into their diet.
“I would say nobody should do eating challenges. I don’t think they are fun and I don’t really support this kind of force-feeding,” she said.
“In terms of cheat days, I would suggest trying it out – maybe starting with a cheat meal. I have so many people messaging me saying they also incorporate cheat days in their diet and it works amazing for them.
“That totally depends on lifestyle and fitness goals. I always suggest to do research and to carefully try out diets and never dive into something blindly.
“Eating disorders are an actual mental illness that can be cured just like physical illness. It is important to admit to the illness and to want to get better.
“Life is awesome and it deserves to be lived. Care less about what others think about you or say you should do.
“Detach yourself from ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ and try to find a lifestyle that fits you and makes you happy.”