Gained a lot from one cheat meal!

(saud) #1

I was so happy with my progress on Keto, but then I weight myself the next day after a cheat meal, and I gained 5 lbs!!! Is this normal on Keto?


Obviously impossible to gain this in fat (probably. but if it’s possible, you need to eat A TON. I definitely couldn’t eat even 4 pounds of fat and it’s just more using carbs let alone protein :smiley: and without the required energy content, you can’t make 5 pounds of fat tissue), it’s clearly mostly water, it’s normal. Not on keto as you can’t cheat ON keto, a too carby meal brings you out of keto.

(saud) #3

Yeah but after months of not cheating, sometimes I cant help it. I will gain alot if I cheat on Keto? Will I lose this water weight quickly?

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #4

Carbohydrates are nothing more than glucose molecules, so eating them raises blood glucose. Too much glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia) causes damage to the body, so when blood glucose goes up, there is an insulin response to drive it back down. Even though a certain amount of insulin is essential to our survival, too much insulin (hyperinsulinaemia) in the blood also causes damage, over time.

Insulin is also the primary fat storage hormone, so every time you overindulge on the carbohydrates, your insulin rises, your liver turns excess carbohydrate into fat, and insulin forces that fat into your fat cells. Once stored in the fat tissue, fatty acids are trapped there until insulin drops low enough for the fat cells to be able to let the fat back out to be metabolised.

Think of it this way: a bear eating berries in the fall wants to put on fat, so its insulin rises and stays up, for as long as the fall carb-eating lasts. Then, once the bear is hibernating, its insulin drops again, so that it can live off the stored fat until spring. If that’s what you want to be doing to your body, then eat carbohydrate. But in order to lose the fat you gain from eating carbohydrate, you have to stop eating carbohydrate (or eat very little), so that your insulin will drop again and allow some of that fat to be metabolised.


Don’t misunderstand me, I always did on/off keto, I would be a huge hypocrite if I had problems with you having carbier days, I can understand it to a great extent… I just say that’s not on keto, technically :slight_smile:
Why would you necessarily gain if you go off keto sometimes or often or do high-carb all the time? It depends on many other factors but it’s actually just about your energy balance (even if that can be quite complicated). If you are like me, it’s better to stick to keto most of the time but going off doesn’t mean you will surely gain. But it’s useful for most of us to come back quickly.
But my SO easily (okay, not without hardships but it’s simple and very effective and he don’t need to try hard, just do it) maintain, gain or loses fat on high-carb because he’s that type. Keto isn’t magic but very helpful for many of us.

You should lose the water weight in a few days, I always lost it in 2 days when I still had it but it may stick with you longer. I don’t even gain any water weight anymore but it took years. But that’s not really important just helpful when I measure my weight. Why does it matter if we weigh 1-2 kg more due to some extra water that isn’t really visible or troublesome? It’s perfectly normal for a human body to retain different amounts of water.

And gaining fat takes more time, you can’t measure it after a single meal.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

Short answer: no, it’s not.

Longer answer: as already noted, there’s no conceivable way to gain 5 pounds of fat overnight. Even if you theoretically ate sufficient fat calories to store 5 pounds of it (approx 20,000 calories!) you’d be more likely to get diarrhea and lose both the fat and a lot of water with it. And yes, as long as you don’t eat any more carbs the water will go away in a couple of days.

More importantly. You joined the forum in Oct last year and I presume you began eating keto then or shortly before. So that’s about 6 months in. ‘Cheat meals’, ‘cheat days’, ‘falling off’ and similar statements describe an attitude that remains centered on ‘what I had to give up to eat keto’. Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t experience much obvious good stuff from keto for months after starting. When you don’t get positive reinforcement but do get negative consequences sometimes for weeks or months it’s difficult not to stay centered on ‘what I had to give up to eat keto’.

Cravings to eat carbs (after months I can’t help it) and/or ‘take a break from keto’ and/or ‘mix it up a bit’ are just alternative ways of saying ‘I’m not getting much out of all this effort… and I need to feel some reward’. It’s really important when you start keto to stay consistently in ketosis. Whether or not you’re consciously aware of it, a lot of stuff happens when you start to eat keto and you have to give it time and energy to happen, otherwise it won’t. An occasional lapse won’t cause anything terrible to occur, but the problem is that ‘occasional’ can lead to ‘regularly’ and very quickly to ‘what’s the point’. Finally, ‘low carb is good enough so why knock myself out?’


I have such a negative reaction to carbs and swell quickly. The other day tried some “keto” bread and a few other higher carb items earlier in the day and it led to swelling. The swelling is so bad when I sleep that I end up with numbness and tingling in my arms and hands. It is for that reason, I believe my body over compensates by holding onto excess water in an attempt to flush the carbs from my body. I think it holds on on to it for a few days too. I end up not weighing for a couple of days after a carb meal just to avoid panic. I keep carb days to a maximum of once a month but it is usually less. Usually it is to have something during a holiday meal. I agree with Michael above that it can lead to too many days if you are not careful. Since I experience so many side effects, I think I can handle it and really don’t want to feel this way on a regular basis again. Plus, it has to be something I really want. I would hate to feel like that over a fast food item or something else that I didn’t feel was worthy. For my body, I fully expect about a week of side effects after a carb meal.


Has nothing to do with keto and everything to do with what you ate. What did you eat? How much of it did you eat? Reloading glycogen shows on the scale.


The glycogen in your liver will burn off on it’s own, glycogen in the muscles has to be burned off from them using it up. Realize the difference between some stored glycogen and fat gain and don’t worry about what the scale says. It’s not the whole story.


It depends on how large that cheat meal was, but most of it isn’t stored as fat. A few folks already mentioned that the carbs that you’ve eaten that weren’t turned into energy immediately where turned into glycogen and got stored. When it does, your body holds onto 4g of water for each gram of glycogen.

Here I highlighted how I Gained 10 lbs but lost it two days later with a two day fast as my body used up those glycogen stores. I would have lost it slower if I had eaten keto immediately after, but I would have lost it regardless.

(Robin) #11

If you are in this to lose weight over the long haul, the scales aren’t always the best indicator. You just want to trend down. And your body and clothes will tell the story. Body weight can fluctuate even without a cheat meal. But… seriously ask yourself why you “need” a cheat meal or day. To me, the worst part about cheating is I know it would restart my cravings and urges. I said goodbye to those with keto. I think it would set me back emotionally and physically… not worth it. Some wise soul on here once told me, “Find other ways to reward yourself.” Good advice.


Unfortunately, that’s the same problem with all diets. I hope you’ll lose it easily when you’re back on keto.

All diets start with a bang, mainly for men who have a lot of weight to lose, a lot less for people who don’t have a lot to lose and (older) women. Then the weightloss slows down and stops.

All diets only work while you’re on the diet. By definition, if you’re cheating, you aren’t on the diet.

This forum is full of people who “fell off the wagon” and put it all back, or a lot back. So, keto doesn’t change your body in anything different than other diets. Not pertaining to weightloss. As all diets, it only works for a while and when you’re on it.

That’s why it’s not a good idea to diet. Yoyo damages your ability to maintain a weight without torturing yourself. It seems your resting metabolic rate gets (permanently) damaged, lower than it should be for your weight. Then losing weight, or simply maintaining it, becomes a very difficult battle you’ll always lose, since every diet may make it worse.

So, find a way of eating you really can maintain, without the need for cheating.

If you decide to throw away your scales and use the measuring tape instead, make several measures and take the average, because measuring isn’t easy, either. Or better yet, use clothes to measure your progress.

I have shorts I’ve worn on a trip decades ago, when I was young, and I’ve always used them to help me maintain my weight. If you need to lose weight, pick pieces in decreasing sizes.

Good luck!


Not necessarily. Keto is special because it unlocks fat adaptation. Keto definitely changed my body for good (I can’t go back to a carbier diet long enough to lose my fat adaptation). I lost nothing on keto but when I first quit, I lost a significant amount due to my fresh fat adaptation (not nearly enough :frowning: ) and fat adaptation helped me all the time I was not on keto even since. Not enough to avoid overeating on a carbier diet but it significantly reduced it. And my new keto habits helped too.
And I always am safer right after quitting keto for a little while. So if I only did say, 1-2 off days per week and I would be very strict on my keto ays, I probably would slim down just fine.

There are so many humans and our bodies are at least a bit different, some of us can pull off not problematic non-keto days even if keto is needed for our fat-loss, health and well-being (obviously it’s not true for everyone, some people are thriving on more carbs and lose fat just fine).

But yep, it seems a ketoer should keep their off days to a minimum most of the time. But if this minimum is 1-2 days a week, it still may be a successful journey. But maybe not. Maybe one stays fat even doing keto for all year.

One off day once in a blue moon can’t have a big effect if it’s truly just one day. Sure, don’t do it without a good reason but I guess most people on this forum have some special exceptional days and it surely doesn’t cause real problems for some of us.

I don’t say I don’t agree vaguely but it’s not that simple. Many ketoers are a bit too biased (or not a bit) and thinks that fat-loss is only possible on keto (or a properly paced, healthy, enjoyable one is only possible on it. it may be true for them but not for all) and quitting will cause fat gain. Well, not always.(I only lost a measurable amount of fat outside of keto this far despite less carbs are better for my fat-loss. I am sure I will lose the rest mostly on keto and definitely because of my stricter keto. Just like I lost that 7 kg off keto but because of keto.)

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #14

Dr. Andreas Eeenfeldt compares it with that technique known as “showering.” As long as we continue to shower, we get all the benefits of cleanliness, but once we stop showering, all the problems we got rid of by showering start to come back. He say that life is so unfair like that.


Goodness, Michael! You hit the nail on the head with this post. I’m going to screenshot it with my phone so I’ve got it with me always.
Thank you, and God bless you - what a perfectly stated summation of what I’ve gone through for years!


That’s a good analogy!