Cheat Days thoughts

(Jon) #1

So I’ve been on keto for two months now, and I’ve had a couple of days when I have been -slightly- unwise, but have never done a cheat day. But sometime soon I will have one, though I am willing to wait up to another month before I have it.

(My unwise day was a stop by a KFC, where I had the grilled chicken (not a problem), and a side of mashed and gravy). Not the best thing ever, but I was still under 25 carbs for the day, so I do not consider it a cheat day.)

But Aldi just had one of their special buys (items you only see in stock once or twice a year), and they had a new ‘flavor’ of the deep dish pizza that I love, which has more meats than just the pepperoni and sausage they’ve had in the past, this one including those, plus bacon and Canadian bacon. So I bought it, and am going to eat it, though I am willing to wait up to a month, if there would be a difference between 2 months before a cheat, and three.

Eventually, when the virus worries subside a bit and sit-down restaurants open up again, I will probably be having a cheat day about once every two weeks, because I will be going to a restaurant for entertainment purposes, where they require you to buy a meal, but I am pretty confident, considering how easily I got into keto, that I won’t have any will power issues over just doing a cheat day every once in a while.

My eventual plans, after a year or year and a half of keto, once I’ve managed to lose the entire 200+ pounds I need to lose (50 so far is a great start) is to do keto part-time. My initial guesstimate is 4 days keto, 2 days semi-‘normal’, and 1 day fasting a week, but it will all depend on if my weight stays constant at that point, and blood sugar and blood pressure remain steady. If they try to rise too much, I’ll have to make it less.

Anyway, just wanting to hear others’ thoughts on cheat days.

I know when I was getting ready to start, I ran into someone who told me they had been on keto for three months, along with their father, and in that three months both had lost 50 pounds, and he was saying he felt it was vitally important to include a cheat day every week. I’m not interested in that often, but as I said, eventually one every other week is very likely for me!

(bulkbiker) #2

Just eat the topping and leave the base (which will be tasteless anyway) and don’t “cheat”?

(Vic) #3

What helps me is on Sundays I dont keep an eating window like I do during the week, I have breakfast fresh eggs cooking in butter and some bacon, During the week I have hard boiled and bacon cooked the night before, I have something I love for dinner maybe a cheffle or some treat during the day Ill allow myself to snack

Its kind of like a cheat day and it feels like a cheat day but I do stay under 20 carbs

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #4

I’d be curious to know your reasoning. What is it about the resulting elevated insulin level that sounds attractive?

Again, since the point of a ketogenic diet is to lower insulin consistently, inconsistent variation between a high-carb and a low-carb diet seems pointless, if not unwise. What does one gain by putting on fat for two days of the week and then trying to diet it off again the rest of the week? Surely it’s easier simply not to gain the fat in the first place.

I don’t see any biological rationale under which “cheat days” make any kind of sense. The body can switch fairly rapidly from fatty-acid metabolism to glucose metabolism in response to a hyperglycaemic emergency, but the reverse change takes longer.

If what you are actually saying here is that you are finding it difficult to limit your carbohydrate intake and suspect that you might be a sugar/carb addict, then it might help to know that there are strategies that can help you limit, or even eliminate, your carbohydrate intake.

Eating a well-formulated ketogenic diet to satiety helps a great deal on the physical level (it is easier to resist carbs when we’re not hungry), and there are also psychological strategies, developed in Alcoholics Anonymous and used with great success in all Twelve-Step programs. I have met a surprising number of newly-sober alocholics—or, more accurately, newly not-so-sober alcoholics—who feel that a certain level of alcohol intake is “vitally important.” They don’t usually stay sober very long. Many of us, on the other hand, find it perfectly possible to live without alcohol altogether, using the aforementioned psychological strategies, and I promise you that you can also live without any carbohydrate, too.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #5

Simply put it sounds like you’re already looking for ways to eat the foods that caused your obesity. I think a more important vision is one where you’re healthy again sooner without speed bumps to slow you down and knock you out of ketosis two or three times a month.

Eating these foods on a scheduled basis is a recipe for going back to your old ways of eating and the longer you stick with it the easier it gets. You won’t easily become fat adapted eating this way either. And I fully agree that keto isn’t healthy as a
yo-yo dieting tool. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #6

What are you cheating besides your health and well being?


Whatever floats your boat :slight_smile: I never felt any other option than going on/off keto so I did that, it was nice, not ideal but I found my way eventually. Still go off keto if I want, it’s my style, I don’t do strict rules I don’t desire. High-carb has no chance, it was in my distant past way before keto… I couldn’t go back if I wanted and I definitely don’t. Now, after years I know what I want, I know how to do it, I know what “luxuries” I can afford and what I am able and willing to do… So I do whatever I feel best for my individual case.
Many others are totally different, obviously. Figure out how it works for you, what is important for you… To me, it’s important that I eat whatever I want. Not whatever I see and liked in the past. What I really want knowing what I know now. I changed a lot.

Most hardcore long-term ketoers surely won’t advise to have “cheat days”. I don’t do that either, I leave it up to you as I should. We may share experiences and opinions but we are all different, at different points of our journey. At 2 months, we do different things. You want to add off-keto days (I can’t consider it cheat, it’s a deliberate decision, you simply break keto for a day)? Someone stays on track for years to come and others quit keto for a longer while because they need more carbs than that and maybe they will be happy on low-carb, maybe they will come back and go even lower, who knows?

Sometimes one clings to old favs in an unhealthy way. Sometimes one eat more carbs and makes their life better without sacrificing anything. I know both. I fight to get rid of the first and embrace the second.
Others does whatever they find right or able to do.
You may experiment (it’s a hobby of mine but I definitely won’t experiment with tons of carbs as I know very well that they are never good to me. they may for someone else but not me) and see what happens. It’s up to you as your woe in general. Your off days may work perfectly or not. Maybe the pizza is a bad idea but something more special isn’t. No one can tell, too many factors, many of them are personal.


You never have a cheat DAY, you have a cheat MEAL!

You can’t do keto part time, it’s a completely incompatible way of eating vs “normal”. You can’t constantly intermix the crazy amount of carbs WITH fats then flip flop with high fat eating and not enough carbs to power yourself. I’ve been eating this way for years and very flexible metabolically, I can and do eat more carbs than many but it’s all very strategic, that’s pretty much the best you’re gonna get without doing stuff that’s very unhealthy. Switching to a normal low carb approach with a cheat MEAL a couple times a week is a lot more do-able and less likely to bite you in the backside.


You’ll do much better in the long term if you try to see this little marketing trick for what it is - they’re playing on people’s FOMO in order to get them into the store and keep them addicted.

(Jon) #10

I like pizza.

Maybe I should have just never gone keto in the first place. There are things that I like to eat that I am not willing to give up forever.

Nope. I just want to go back to eating some of the foods I really like/really miss some day … in much more reasonable amounts than I did before I started keto. There’s nothing wrong with eating carbs you like, if you are healthy. Just got to go full keto to get there, first.

(BuckRimfire) #11

We typically have a cheat meal about every three weeks, but it’s not scheduled in any way. When in Montreal last December for a five or six day trip, we had a blowout (because: Montreal) in which we had cheat meals more days than not and twice at least one day. Neither that nor the infrequent single cheat meals cause any negative effects that either my spousal critter or I notice.

So, unless you feel that you have a carb addiction that will result in a binge if you cheat, I don’t see the need to treat this as a quasi-religious purity program, but YMMV.

(Jon) #12

Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree, I’m only really going to know if it’s ok for me when I try it. If it has a major effect, and makes it difficult and slow to move back into keto immediately afterward, then I’ll know it is a bad idea for me. If it’s no problem, then, by definition, it’s no problem. Just got to try it and find out.


I dunno. It just sounds to me like a high fat/high carb diet is a recipe for disaster.


You can cook foods that are keto versions of your favorite foods.

I still eat pizza, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, sausage egg and cheese biscuits, etc.

BUT, I use either a cauliflower or spaghetti squash pizza crust, spiraled zucchini for noodles, cauliflower florets for the macaroni, and almond flour for baked goods.

Cheating will make you gain a good bit due to water weight and the insulin causing your fat cells to take in that fat that’s been in your blood stream, and also hypothesized clogging your arteries. You may also find you’ll get bad GI issues cheating.

My rule of thumb, diet 95% of the time and stay strict that 95%. The other 5%, it’s ok to go out and eat a meal with friends and not worry.

(Vic) #15

I can’t believe how well things like cauliflower rice works it absorbs whatever sauce juice used in the main dish and does not taste like cauliflower at all and really close to a rice feel

so far I have really been amazed how well zucchini noodles work with like a shrimp scampi, Soon I will see how well it works with Rao’s marinara

(Full Metal KETO AF) #16

I really hate this analogy when it comes up. If something is harmful to you why is stopping on a permanent basis a religion?

Jon has 150 lbs he wants to lose. And he has a completely unrealistic goal of eating KETO half the week and carbing up two days followed by a day of fasting. As @Chantarella mentioned this is a recipe for arterial plaque and heart disease.

I’m not the only one to know it’s best to be all in or not do KETO. It doesn’t work if you cycle out too often. And it’s definitely a slippery slope. Fasting following a two day carb up will be a day of extra misery weekly. And you’ll be lucky to be in ketosis three days a week. Constantly going through depletion of glycogen and refilling it weekly. I’ve been here long enough to see all kinds of effort to manipulate KETO so you can still carb binge and those people either quit or stall out never getting the results they want. If the pleasure of eating pizza means more than achieving your goals I guess that’s a choice that some make. For me nothing tastes as good as being healthy again. I learned it again recently myself after surgery when I had to reintroduce carbs in my hospital stay. Two months later I had major inflammation come back. Of course I had lived with that inflammation for years before KETO and didn’t realize the issues diet can create until those foods they were removed from my diet. Got back on track and the inflammation is gone again. I can get away with an occasional meal without consequences.

I’m going to guess that @Batchman didn’t get to be 200 lbs overweight without getting major insulin resistance either. Jon are you concerned with developing diabetes? Heart disease? Fatty liver? Alzheimer’s? Kidney disease? Cancer? These are the diseases that are man made for the most part. They come from eating highly processed foods like that frozen pizza you love so much with refined processed grains and oils. Crappy processed oils stay in your body cell structures for a long time and cause all kinds of cellular disfunction. Have you considered making some of the KETO versions of pizza? That might satisfy your cravings because yes, pizza is good and I like it too. I just don’t eat it much anymore.

Yes, YMMV. Some choices can make that mileage a lot less. It’s not a fanatical religious way of eating, it’s one that is sustainably healthy and there’s nothing fanatical about sticking with it and giving it your best effort. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Peter) #17

As David says, you’re not making sense, possibly because you don’t understand what you’re saying, as you haven’t been doing it for long, and you don’t understand how it works, or maybe because you value the old food more than health.


Please read this throughout knowing that I eat a lot more carbs than most keto’rs and understand what you’re saying, I’m not anti carb (clearly) but you NEED to change your mindset to be successful keto or not and that’s the end goal no matter what you do.

Pretty difficult to find somebody that doesn’t!

Your mindset is completely wrong on this. For starters, who said you had to “give it up forever”. You’re making it drastic in your mind because you feel restricted. I had Pizza and Fries with the family a couple days ago, I didn’t die, I feel fine, the world didn’t end. But that’s not “normal” it’s a treat.

Here’s the indisputable reality. Which you need to accept EVEN if you stop eating keto

Pizza is junk food for Keto
Pizza is junk food for a Standard Diet
Pizza is junk food for Paleo
Pizza is junk food if you’re a vegetarian
Pizza is junk food if you’re a vegan

See the link? We ALL love Pizza, but what people always do at first, is they assign blame to keto because they’re not eating crap. Yes, Pizza isn’t keto friendly, but it’s not ANY diet friendly either! It’s a treat / cheat and should be treated as such.

Remember, you could make this exact same statement if you switched to ANY healthy way of eating, not just Keto! At least with Keto you don’t have to fear most of the fatty foods that taste amazing vs many other ways of eating where stuff is all low fat and bland!

That’s a very wide open blanket statement! Eating unhealthy carbs is ALWAYS unhealthy! Makes ZERO difference whether you’re healthy or not. The part of that that sticks out is “you like”. Yes, you should like what you’re eating but to me in your mind you’re thinking Hostess Cupcakes and not some rice or a potato or some dinner rolls while out at a restaurant.

Just make sure whatever you do you seriously consider what you’re thinking. The foods you’re missing and can’t wait to eat are what got you to where you are now! Just don’t convince yourself that the foods you’re missing are somehow “healthy” when you’re not following a Keto WOE. Unhealthy foods are ALWAYS unhealthy foods. Anybody following ANY healthy WOE has to suffer a little bit, EVERYBODY loves to eat amazing tasting junk food, that’s how we all got screwed to begin with! Switch your mindset to being healthy and feeling the best and limiting those things to treats only and the guilt of backsliding, gaining fat, and not feeling amazing will keep you on track but you gotta make it to that point first.

If you go back to eating SAD, remember, if you do it in an (actual) healthy way you’ll be much MORE restricted than what keto doesn’t allow! Much better off eating awesome stuff 90% of the time and treat/junk the rest than junk most of the time, bland the rest and all the issues from the junk because you’ve eaten way too much of it.

(Ken) #19

The quasi-religious purity comparison is, in many cases, apt. I have to admit I followed it in the beginning as it was easy to do because of the massive positive health benefits. I argued many of the same points back then, nearly 20 years ago on the Keto forum. At that time, people like me were referred to as “Ketards” by those with more experience and who were aware of potential negative metabolic effects. I have yet to use that disparaging term here, tempting as it sometimes is. I figure that eventually people will figure it out as I did, which can take years as the first step is usually denial, which is, IMO the stage that some on this board are clearly in. It’s as if they’re jabbing a stick in their eye and their solution is to get a bigger and longer stick. Or, simply following Einstein’s definition of Insanity. It’s when folks have reasonable questions about adding occasional carbs in and are answered by people offering them their Stick that triggers me. Hence the next point.

It’s not an issue of “Keto for Life” to attain max benefits, at least not in the perpetual 20g or less daily sense. The real issue is prevention of readaption of detrimental health conditions, which hinges on reestablishing chronic Lipogenesis, which is dependent on Glycogen levels. So, the real term is “Avoiding Lipogenesis for Life”. All by making sure you never eat enough carbs to overfill your liver glycogen.

Choosing to occasionally eat some carbs is fine, they can be beneficial, and are certainly not the Heresy as some here depict. Just make sure they are occasional with time in between for glycogen levels to drop.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #20

@240lbfatloss That’s awesome experience you shared Ken. You were solidly fat adapted for years and had lost your excess 240 lbs before you started doing this though, weren’t you? I think when it’s early in the KETO way trying to get fat adapted you’re better off keeping it tight, wouldn’t you agree? I have an occasional meal with whatever carbs I want but not every month generally. :cowboy_hat_face: