So, you have been strict on your diet all week. Refrained from carbs, and chose to pick healthy fats and low-carb foods over fatty steak. And, let’s not ignore the sweet cravings that you successfully managed to stay away from! When it comes to food, not giving in to impulses is a task. A task that calls for a due reward from time to time. Cheat meals are one such benefits you can treat yourself to, after a long way of eating clean and staying active. Cheating smartly and rightly should be your priority if you go for a cheat meal. But Why Cheat?
Sometimes humans are just packed with thoughts of amazing, delectable foods. And most of the time we get in it without any guilt by having the best part of any diet-cheat days. It is stunning how just one day can be so amazing.
However, one thing you might have noticed about the keto diet is that there are no cheat days mentioned on it. It doesn’t matter when you start your diet, what with all the excitement and the concept of losing insane amounts of weight. But when they realize that you have to do the entire thing, it sucks to realize that.
Now even though most low-carb diet consists of cheat days, one must always keep in mind that the keto diet is designed to make you lose weight much faster and with more efficiency than most of them.
What is Cheating?
Most diets consider cheating to be part of the diet itself, compulsory to maintain the diet. However, because of the keto diet’s basic strictness and also its different mechanisms as well as fast results, a lot of keto dieters don’t go for cheat days.
Cheating implies derailing off your diet, to keep yourself from derailing off the path of sanity. It breaks your mundane-as-heck routine and allows you to eat what you want basically.
Possible Reasons For Cheating
- Being Impulsive– An impulsive reach to the refrigerator for chocolates is an unsatisfying cheat. A last-minute decision to eat a few of those cold French fries on your kid’s plate is not that satisfying.
Planned cheating can empower – random cheating undermines. Be honest with yourself and stick to your cheating plan.
- Trying to fit with other people’s dietary choices– Your Aunt will get over it when you skip the chocolate dessert offered by her. Your dining mate’s surprise when you replace potatoes with extra veggies is typically fleeting. Don’t overstate others’ interests or investments in your personal dietary choices.
Remember, people are usually wrapped up in their own experiences and quickly move on from yours. However, some people get very curious about your food choices. When that happens, be ready with a line like, “I’m sorry, I have a bad stomach.”
- Improper Planning– Grabbing a mediocre two-day-old sandwich from a gas station is one of the worst cheats. Anything worth cheating on yourself for is, by definition, delectable. That stale sandwich is not.
Keep quality low-carb emergency food in your car, purse, or briefcase so you never cheat because you are starving. You can have low-carb and keto-friendly snacks with you like nuts, salads, etc.
- To take advantage of occasions- Suppose your mom makes your favorite pancakes on Sunday -perhaps this is a time to make an exception to your no-dessert rule. Or You’re attending a party or wedding of your friend- perhaps you can make an exception here. Curbing yourself some slack to savor unique moments or unique flavors is probably a good use of your ‘cheating allowance.’ But keep in mind that birthday cake in the break room is not a rare or special occasion.
Cheating On Yourself
Finally, let’s be clear about what cheating means. Simply put, ‘to cheat’ means:
- to haul something from someone by breaking a rule; or
- to fend off someone from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get.
Remember this: when you stray from your ketogenic lifestyle, the someone who loses out is you.
Well, cheat day has become an integral part of a diet and workout routine. After days of working it out at the gym and watching what you eat, you start craving sugary desserts and deep-fried treats. It is not so much a weight-loss method as a psychological coping mechanism for restrictive diets that keeps you from falling off the wagon. The Keto diet bans the consumption of carbohydrates beyond 30 gms per day. Some people may find this extraordinarily restrictive and start craving carb-rich foods like bread, cake, and other desserts within just days of going on the diet. But will cheat on your keto diet hinder weight loss?
What happens when you cheat on a keto diet?
With a keto diet, your body reaches the stage of ketosis, where the main source of fat is fat instead of carbohydrates. One deceptive diet can change that, and you may get into glycolysis again, as your body uses glucose for energy. This will cost you all the hard work you have done to gain ketosis.
Your energy levels dip
If you cheat on your keto diet with carbs, then a power failure follows. You can take a cup of coffee or tea with coconut oil or medium-chain triglyceride oil to fight the aftermath of a cheating diet. It will help give you your energy back.
You eat more
Cheating causes cravings. Immediately after a breakdown in pizza or burger, insulin levels rise and you often feel hungry and faster than you would on a ketogenic diet And you start eating too much.
You put on weight
Repeated cheating on your keto diet will lead to weight gain. The immediate effects of a high-carb diet during a keto diet are water retention and water weight. Too much of that cheating diet will interfere with the effect of ketosis and you will return to your adult, gaining more weight.
Your ketone levels may fluctuate
Eating high-carb food could kick you out of ketosis. When you break your ketosis state with carbohydrates, the ketone levels in your blood start fluctuating. This will make it harder for your body to get into the ketosis state and burn fat instead of carbs. For this reason, try to take calculate overall carb intake when indulging. For example, if you enjoy a portion of birthday cake at a friend’s celebration, be sure to stock up on plenty of leafy greens and high-quality protein throughout the day.
You will suffer from headaches ( keto-flu)
Keto flu, seen at the beginning of a keto diet when your body goes from glycolysis to ketosis, returns with a bang. You start experiencing symptoms such as headaches, bloating, gastric disturbances, and low energy all over again.
Your blood sugar levels may spike-
One of the reasons keto is renowned for those with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or poor cardiovascular health is that it can stabilize blood glucose levels. If you’re following the keto diet because of these health issues, it’s vital to know that eating cheat meals can cause blood sugar levels to spike. . If you eat sweets or high-carb food and don’t feel well the next day, it’s probably best to avoid it.
What to Eat on Your Cheat Meal (safely)
It may be tempting to go all out, once you have indulged in eating. But in between eating 5-50 grams of carbohydrates lies your effort. It all depends on how away your cheat days are.
If you spoil only once or a few times a year, you can eat pizza, pasta, or whatever you like. However, if your cheat days are closer, you will need to keep yourself within restrictions. Make sure you eat lesser carbohydrates and if you are craving sugar, eat frosting, which will ruin your progress less than if you eat a sugared donut
- Opt for keto Approved foods– Fish, Fried chicken (no breadcrumbs!), Chocolate
Sounds tempting, no? It is quite to your benefit if you keep all your cheat meals keto-friendly.
- Make low-carb keto substitutes- Add a keto version of just any popular meal into your diet routine. Make your pasta, pizzas, and bakery items in keto style. There are a lot of recipes and ideas available on the websites.
- Some keto-approved craving control food items– Next time you\’re ready to toss in the keto towel, try one of these treats instead. The listed items contain 15 grams of carbs or less and could satisfy carb cravings without undoing all your hard work.
- 500g of brie cheese and seven small whole-grain crackers (10g carbs).
- A white chocolate coconut ZonePerfect® Keto shake (3 total carbs).
- Two cups of air-popped popcorn, one tablespoon of butter, and one tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese (13g carbs).
- One mini dark chocolate bar coated in one tablespoon of natural peanut butter (8g carbs).
- A one-fourth cup of guacamole with five tortilla chips and one sliced green bell pepper (15g carbs).
- Fifteen potato chips (13g carbs).
- A half-slice of thin-crust pizza (10g carbs).
- A 16 fl oz bottle of water with a Pedialyte® Sparkling Rush™ Powder Pack mixed in.
Have Cheat Meals Not Cheat Days
If you are going to go off your diet, it is way easier to stay on top of your overall nutrition and calories with cheat meals compared to entire keto cheat days. One big cheat meal can sum up to 1,000 or more calories to your day, while a complete cheat day will sum up much more and potentially undo all of your hard work from the week.
- Have a Proper Plan
The effortless way to ensure your diet cheats don’t ruin your progress is to plan for them. Choose which meals you want to cheat and calculate some calories and carbs prior if you can.
You can also verify your cheat meals are worth it by prioritizing certain events or favorite foods over random temptations that will always be there. For instance, if you know there is an occasion coming up on the weekend, have a rough idea of how you will plan to cheat and enjoy it without going overboard. You might also wish to plan smaller cheats around exercise to help you stay in ketosis since you are using up the extra carbs quickly.
If your goal is calorie control, don’t cheat more than twice a week. But if ketosis is vital for your betterment, consider cheating much less often, like once a month. And if you are novel to a keto diet, wait at least 3-4 weeks to get some improvement going before even considering cheats.
- Track Your Daily Intake
Don’t forget to count your calories and daily macros. If your cheats are storming your weekly nutrition goals out of the water, you might end up gaining weight.
Use a renowned macro-friendly app to see how much damage you are doing.
Getting Back into Ketosis After Cheat Meals
It does not take very long to get into ketosis post the cheat meal. However, it will be quite difficult due to the keto flu. Your age, gender, health, and overall body muscle constitution will hinder the time you will get into ketosis back.
Basically, when your glucose reserves recharge, your body will turn to fats and close down your carbohydrate digestion system, and voila! You are in ketosis again. This adaptation stage may take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. Well, Exercise on an empty stomach, and Do intermittent fasting. Go carb-free are some of the tips to get back to your diet routine.
Cheating on keto is something we all do occasionally so don’t stress yourself over it. It can be especially summoning during special occasions, at social gatherings, and over the holidays. Pardon yourself and focus on how to get back on track. The good sign is you can always get back into ketosis after a cheat. Just be righteous when to get back.
Beating yourself up for having cheated won’t work. Be kind to yourself. Low carb is quite a long journey. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be aware of your long-term goal and return to low carb with confidence.
Feeling bad just diminishes willpower and makes it simpler to fall for more temptations, in a vicious cycle. Instead, aim to pardon yourself instantly. Feel fine, knowing that you’re back on track now – that’s all you can do, and it’s all that matters.
Here are a few tips to help you get back into ketosis:
- Try intermittent fasting. Combining intermittent fasting with the keto diet may help your body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat.
- Track your carb intake. Taking note of your daily carb intake ensures that you don’t underestimate it.
- Try a short-term fat fast. Fat fasts like egg fasts, which may help expedite ketosis, are very high-fat, low-carb diets meant to last only a brief period.
- Exercise more. Physical activity depletes your glycogen stores, which are your body’s stored form of carbs. In turn, this promotes ketosis.
- Try a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplement. MCTs are rapidly absorbed fatty acids that are easily converted into ketones
There are both benefits and downsides to eating cheat meals on a keto diet. You can either maintain a keto course or not derail at all, which kind of makes it easier for you in the long term. You do not need to begin from day 1, again. Nor do you need to encounter those horrid flu-like symptoms and general hunger that happened during the start of your keto diet.
Your sanity, however, probably needs a burger. Or two, if you are feeling wild. It is more vital to form healthy relationships with food than it is to lose weight. You need to make sure that just because you are limiting carbs, you do not turn them into a ‘fear food’. This leads to horrible problems like anorexia and makes your entire emotional and physical system thoroughly messed up.
We suggest having cheat meals on your keto diet but only smart cheating. Be mindful to track your carb limits and try to avoid carbs completely if you can. Some good advice is to eat what you normally eat for mealtimes to fill your stomach, and then have a portion of whatever you have been craving recently. Enjoy your cheat meals, and keep losing weight. A win-win.