Should You Cheat on Keto?
There are many reasons why people have a cheat day and there is a lot of bad advice on the internet and Facebook groups when it comes to having a cheat day. The point of a cheat day is in essence to break a stall, a stall could be anywhere up to 6 weeks in a row with no weight loss, in order to get things moving again you can introduce a higher carb day to break the stall.
The problem with having a cheat day is that people think it’s a free for all and will eat whatever they like thinking that this is OK, when in fact all they are doing is undoing all their hard work, cheat days should be food from the allowed list but higher carb versions for example some
- Below ground vegetables that are higher in carbs
- Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc
- Sweet potato
Don’t forget this is a lifestyle change we do not bring the old lifestyle into the new one, see things that stop you losing weight.
There are many diets available that promote an allowance for treats, every diet I’ve ever been on has incorporated junk food in somewhere and that is why these diets fail, for some like myself we are not able to have a little bit of what we fancy.
Junk food is like a drug to me. I cannot have a little bit and leave the rest, I will eat and eat and eat because I have no self-control when it comes to junk food. The way I see it is you wouldn’t tell an alcoholic that a little bit vodka won’t hurt you, so why do we tell food addicts that a little of what they fancy won’t hurt them?
With the Keto way of eating we are trying to disconnect from our old way of eating which is why we encourage you to make better choices and leave the junk food behind you. If you try to bring that old way of eating into the Ketogenic way of eating it will be just another diet you tried and failed because eating both is unsustainable. Eating high carb and high fat is not a good combination, it will not only make you gain weight it can also be toxic.
Remember our body can only burn one source of fuel at a time and it finds carbs to be the easiest. If we constantly re-feed with carbs all the fat we eat is going to be stored for later use and we will never reach fat adaption, fat adaption is where the body uses fat for it’s main fuel source instead of sugar.
Reasons why we cheat
There are many reasons why we cheat when we undertake a new diet or lifestyle change, here are the top 5 reasons why
- Peer pressure
- Poor planning
- Impulse eating
- Keto flu
- Eating when you’re not hungry
Peer pressure is the number one cause for falling off plan, family and friends can have a huge impact on your new lifestyle change, if you don’t have their support (which is very important) then you may be swayed not to stick to it.
You would be surprised at how many people will try to tell you how bad Keto is or that it is dangerous (when it is not), it seems those who should support us are usually the ones that try to sabotage us in our efforts to make a change to a healthier way of living, saying things like;
- Go on have a little bit it won’t hurt you
- One meal off plan won’t be so bad
- You’re boring since you started your diet!
- don’t lose too much weight you will look too skinny
- You look ill since you lost weight
You may have friends & family that support your choice to follow a Ketogenic way of eating if you do you are very lucky, people get stuck in the idea that fat will clog your arteries and that carbs are needed for optimum health because the government has drummed it into us for years and years that fat is bad. The body does not need carbs and will quite happily run on healthy fats.
When you make the switch over to being fat-adapted the body is fuelled by fat this means the body is using up the fat that we have stored in our bodies and also the fat that we take in during maintenance stage, it doesn’t clog your arteries because the body processes it and uses it up, low fat, high carb and high sugar diets are what causes obesity and clogged arteries.
Poor planning is the second leading cause of falling off plan, we all lead such busy lives with work or family commitments that finding time to plan our week ahead is an impossible task, I find it easier to go day by day, I find meal plans hard to stick to because I get bored easily or I may not fancy the meal I decided to cook on Wednesday. The best thing about Keto is if you keep it simple you can throw a decent meal together in less than 20 mins.
There are others who like to plan every meal and every snack and if they don’t plan they make poor choices when it comes to food. If you know that you would be tempted to grab an unhealthy choice when you haven’t planned very well then it is essential that you make a plan and stick to it consistently.
- Make sure you keep some Keto friendly snacks handy at all times
- Meal prep in advance so you don’t just want to grab something last minute
* Please note that we do not recommend snacking in between meals we want to lower insulin levels because insulin tells the body to store fat, snacking in between meals increases insulin, so if you find you’re not able to get to lunchtime without snacking add some more fat to your breakfast and the same for lunch if you are finding that you are hungry before tea time add more fat at lunchtime.
We are all guilty of this whether it is grabbing a leftover chicken nugget off the kid’s dinner plate or chocolate offered to you by a friend, you just go ahead and do it before you even realise you did it, it’s time to break the habits that we have created for so many years and think about everything we put in our mouths.
Your brain will start to trick you saying well I’ve had one I may as well go ahead and have another, before you know it you have gobbled down half a box of chocolates and what started out as one slip up has now led to falling completely off the wagon, eating anything and everything just to feed those cravings.
When you make the transition over to Keto it can be a bit of a shock to the system, going from eating hundreds if not thousands of carbs per day to only eating 20g per day can have a massive impact on us. We are not only experiencing carb and sugar withdrawal we are also experiencing water loss with water loss comes the depletion of electrolytes.
Electrolytes are essential to the body and without them, you will feel quite ill, this is why you will hear people say oh yeah I tried keto it made me really ill so I had to stop it, these people did not follow it correctly.
The first few days or even the first week can be pretty crappy if you do not regulate your salt intake, when you feel crappy you just want to grab for the food that you ate before.
- Drink bone broth or bullion cubes 2 cups per day (for sodium)
- Eat 5g of Himalayan pink salt every day (if under 50g of carbs, minus the bullion)
- Eat lots of greens and avocado for potassium
- Take a magnesium supplement
- Take a multivitamin
- Eat only when hungry and stop when full
Alcohol can greatly affect our weight loss efforts, not just while we are consuming it but also afterwards, we’ve all been there after a night out you grab a takeaway on the way home and regret it in the morning only to spend a day hungover and craving all that bad food so you end up giving in to temptation once again. you also need to be aware that while you are burning alcohol you won’t be burning fat as you should be, you should try to avoid drinking alcohol on keto but if you absolutely have to, try to stick with spirits and avoid high carb beers and wines, the following have zero carbs.
You can mix these spirits with diet soda, club soda or diet tonic water, please remember alcohol tolerance does drop dramatically while doing keto, so you need to be careful how much and how quickly you drink as you can get very drunk in a very short space of time and the hangover the following day can be dreadful.