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Foods to avoid on Cheat Day?

I've had very mixed results recovering from Cheat Day based on what I eat. What are some of the foods that other people have found led to unexpectedly high weight gain, water weight retention, etc.? Pizza seems particularly bad.

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The Best Answer

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My rule is to avoid anything I would eat on the other 6 days (except for my morning protein shake).

  • Dylan Tomlinson commented Oct 25th 2012:

    Pizza, soda and cake are the three things I try to avoid at all costs, even on cheat days. It can sometimes be the difference between a 3-4 pound gain and a 6-7 pound gain.

All Answers

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I eat what I want, when i want, as much as I want. I gain 7 lbs the day after (most likely because everything I chose to eat is sugary sugary crap crap) Stalled on weight loss a couple times. The last 5 months ive lost 27 lbs and over 10% bf doing cheat days with the exception of 2 structured heathy cheat days. I did none of the tips for the binge day because I didnt know about them! I just read the book and will start to implement them and see if it will get me to gain less than 7lbs the day after. Also ive been on the Ketosis diet not the SCD, but Im switching to see what happens.

FYI, here is a typical cheat day for me:

Ice cream, twinkees, poptarts, detour bar(s), honey buns, eclaire cake, candy bars...If i eat FOOD not sugar its bits here and there to not make me feel like im having a sugar coma. Ive eaten myself sick a few times. BUT WORTH IT becuase we deserve it after being as strict as we all are during the week. Diets are hard, life is hard so we need breaks to keep us going and hey, if eating what you want all day for one day still gets us to lose weight/fat...DO IT, enjoy life while getting to you goal:)

  • matti422 commented Aug 22nd 2011:

    That's the best part of cheat day - no guilt, because it's all part of the plan. I go nuts with sugar, too, although less so now that I'm a month in. Now, it's a combo of fruit, pasta, and pastries.

  • Cathieely Enter last name commented Nov 11th 2011:

    I reall go nuts on sugar and milk love my milk=) and chips not a big bag but the next size down and its usually a mixs like pretzels amd cheese twist kinda mixed in yummy!!!! i a ccop;e of candy bars and more milk and of course my exercise in between them =)

  • letsmaketshirts commented Mar 4th 2012:

    May I just say GET IT GIRL!!!! Your cheat day resembles mine :)

  • aermshaus commented Mar 4th 2012:

    I always go crazy on Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough -- I down 500g of that ice + M&M's, big big pizza, 3 nutalla buns, cake, real coke, ... and that's just an excerpt of my list! - WE ALL SHOULD GO CRAZY ON CHEAT DAY.

  • Sam Green commented Mar 4th 2012:

    I ate a tub of Belgian Choc Haigon Daz and half a tub Ben and Jerrys Fossil Fuel, and about a hundred other treats yesterday. ;)

  • Farrahmayleigh Knight commented Apr 13th 2012:

    Now I don't feel entirely too bad about my grocery run yesterday gearing up for my first cheat day tomorrow. I bought snickers ice cream, mint chocolate chip klondike bars, orange/cranberry muffins, nutty buddy bars, and last but not least mini red velvet cupcakes! I 'm scared. LOL!

  • alwayzhungry commented Aug 17th 2011:

    this is my kinda cheat day =] think id go nuts with guilt tho...

  • Monika Avalos commented Oct 11th 2012:

    BAHAHHA!!!! I love you girl!!! We are the same! I wake up and immediately consume huge chocolate banana nut muffins and other sweet treats, then I go back to bed, then I eat literally ALL day, and gain 5lbs the next day!! Haha!

  • Wendy Maldonado commented Oct 28th 2012:

    I thought I was bad...I just dont seem to want that much junk anymore because of the bad feeling I get. So I guess everyone is different and whatever works for us. I try not to eat just because its cheat day I try to really go for what I want but still its not so bad compared to some people I guess...I wish I could sometimes by the time cheat day comes I forgot what I really had a craving for during the week..oh well im sure some weeks are going to be different and crazy..as long as I keep losing im happy with my results

  • Mike B commented Jan 8th 2013:

    Chocolate covered raisins - I eat them (small amounts) all day. Whatever for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, good meal (enchiladas, cassarole, etc) for dinner. I eat what is around but I don't go out of my way.

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I can't recall if I actually read this in the 4HB or somewhere else, but my advice is avoid artificial ingredients, corn syrup(yes the jury is still out), GMO's, overly processed foods etc. If you want a Pastry or ten go to a good bakery that uses real ingredients and splurge, want a soda, get one with real sugar it's probably better for you than a diet soda. Want a Pizza? avoid the chains and go get a real tasty one from your local shop. Beer? get a tasty microbrew, organic if you can.

My thoughts on this are

1- if you are going to splurge go for the most natural foods- they don't stick around in your system as long

2- Just say not to GMO's

3- why splurge on frozen Pizza when you can get a real one?

  • Ramonastar commented Apr 13th 2012:

    Good call. I avoid preservatives and as a rule only eat organically grown meat so on my cheat day if I eat out I will order fish... I have found that my meals tend to be SCD friendly but I have dessert with each meal. I drink tons of water and always take my vitamins on this day. I have found that I get a carbs hangover if I go too nuts.

  • Juan Pinillos commented Oct 11th 2012:

    I think this tip is great. I've noticed quite a difference in post cheat day effects when I eat more home-made stuff than big-chain meals/processed foods. Definitely makes a difference!

  • Jason Steele commented Jan 6th 2013:

    Great tip!

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Once again, please refer back to the book. Answer this question....

Whats the point of a "cheat day" if your going to restrict yourself?

Eat what you want, how much you want, and when you want. Follow the hacks (lemon water, grape fruit juice, yerba mate, Glut 4). If you don't your going to go crazy whats the point.

  • heartinga commented May 4th 2011:
    I don't totally agree with this. Tim even said that he only splurged maybe one cheat day a month. On other times, he didn't go crazy with rolls, pizza, cheesecake, etc. The point is to jump start your metabolism. You can do that eating fruits, dairy
  • heartinga commented May 4th 2011:
    and grains.

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I'd suggest a cheat meal, not cheating the whole day. And tim pooped 3 times, that isn't happening for anyone, I'll bet on it.

  • ImmyFTW commented May 7th 2011:
    Once after each meal for me.
  • kcsportsdoc commented May 18th 2011:
    3-4 times per day for me and that was before the SCD. I'm just a regular guy, I guess. =D
  • matti422 commented Aug 22nd 2011:

    At least three times on cheat day (one on other days). Definitely a difference.

  • Beorn86 commented Sep 24th 2011:

    Same!

  • BabyDolphin commented Apr 14th 2012:

    I can't believe I'm going to say this....I wish I pooped so much!

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all is allowed and encouraged, so long as you follow the rules in the lost art of bingeing.

  • Elma Love commented Feb 14th 2013:

    What are those rules please?

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I make sure to leave an hour between fatty foods (fries, pizza, etc) and sugary rich foods (any good pud you can think of). I've done this for my last two cheat days and have felt amazing compared to previous cheat days.

I think it's best to think of your off day as more of a "little of what you fancy" day instead of placing the focus on trying to eat as much crap as humanly possible.

I generally have one bad meal, a small pud and then I usually graze on fruit because I really, really miss fruit for the rest of the week.

I do all the damage limitation protocols except PAGG, it definately helps keep the weight gain down, but I've found it has zero effect on feeling crappy. Although a small dose of senna in the morning does wonders to help speed up waste disposal :)

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You might want to try the suggestions that Tim says. I only gain about 1-2 pounds on my cheat day and I'm back to my where I was after the 48 hrs. I always have my normal protein breakfast, eggs and some type of meat. But cheat day I add a glass of grapefruit juice. This pretty much fills me up. I also usually have 1 craving during the week so, on cheat day I eat that. today is my cheat day I ate 2 donuts. I watch what I eat for dinner try to keep it to protein and veggies, but if I crave potatos or bread I will have that and skip the dessert. I do the exercises prior to pigging out also. And drink green tea. I keep to the SCD 6 days. I have to cheat on day 7.

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Foods that mix fat together with carbs/sugar are the worst. That includes pizza, as you mentioned, and stuff like ice cream, popcorn + butter, chocolate/desserts, etc. If you want to minimize fat gain on cheat day, minimize mixing carbs with fat. The presence of excess carbs can cause fat to be stored in the nearest adipose fat tissue (thighs, love handles, beer belly). Sure, that kinda defeats the purpose of cheat day, but that's why so many people gain weight afterwards.

  • Not4Hour commented Jul 5th 2011:

    No. Following the cheat day, weight gain results due to water uptake from carbohydrate intake. Tim explains this in 4HB, under the section titled "The Finer Points and Common Questions."

    http://books.google.com/books?id=PFYBPAS3LIEC&lpg=PA1&dq=four%20hou...

  • LauraCox commented Jul 21st 2011:

    Obviously some of it is water weight, but anything that doesn't magically 'disappear over the next 48 hours' is fat gain. If we could eat an unlimited amount of calories in a day and not get fat, we'd do it every day!

  • sirspiffy commented Apr 14th 2012:

    For all intents its a good model, but not entirely accurate.

    Sounds like its worth testing. Bacon and Potato Pizzas for BL&D with buttery custards for desert.

    How much fat can we intake and store in a day? My experience says not much at all. Anyone willing & able to get 5 days of DEXA and pig out to see what's actually happening on cheat day and the surrounding days?

  • hyperzx commented Oct 11th 2012:

    this is a lot more detail that some of you might want to read but overall very interesting.

    http://www.leangains.com/2010/11/cheat-day-strategies-for-hedonist....

    I'm with cycling fat/carbs on cheat day. It could still be a successful cheat day.

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I've been eating really bad crap on my cheat days and 4 weeks into the SCD I'm down 2.5kgs and 4% body fat. Ive seen people do better, but I'm happy with these results.

Two things I want to mention though;

1. So far my PAGG haven't been perfectly as suggested by Tim, it's hard to find the right products in Australia, but I think I've got some now.

2. I haven't been following the tips in "Damage Control", which I will start to do on my next chest day.

So hopefully these two things will accelerate my results without changing what I eat on cheat days (total junk food all day)

-jefton

  • calvinzhobbes commented Jul 4th 2011:

    I eat whatever I want as well. But since I have already gone gluten free prior to this diet, I still dont eat wheat/bread unless they are gluten free products.

    My most enjoyable cheat day (felt the best) was when I mixed in a lot of fruits and yogurt. Dont get me wrong though, I ate like a pig. 2 boxes of gluten free cookies, gluten free waffles, 4 yogurts (activia), a half a watermelon or more, a jar of freshly canned peaches, steak, eggs, a package of hash browns covered in Ketchup (no HFC's)---it was GLORIOUS!

    The days I felt the worst, was when I made banana splits with fudge, whip cream-- just too chemicals in the processed food in my opinion.

  • Nigel Whatling commented Feb 14th 2013:

    Just a comment on PAGG - being a fellow Australian. I eventually did find combinations of the components via a couple of online stores. But I eventually found www.paretonutrition.com, was impressed, and ordered their supplement. It's PAGG in one capsule (actually: PAG in one, AGG in another). There are a few companies doing this kind of thing, but I liked Pareto and went with them. Delivery took 3-4 weeks from memory.

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I think anything with a lot of salt or really simple carbs (refined sugars) can cause a lot of water retention. I wouldn't worry about it though the weight will come off pretty quick.

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I found french fries are really bad. I would do the burger or the fries. I think as long as you're limiting yourself to one serving of naughty carb per meal, you should be fine. I also noticed that you'll feel a lot better if you don't eat the fries because you won't hit that food coma.

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Ditto on katyslaugter's answer. Eat whatever the frigg you want. I'd do weight watchers if I couldn't have the option to go ape wild on binge day.

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I am noticing a trend of higher gains when my cheat days are heavy on wheat -- bread, cookies, thick crust pizza, etc.

I already know that wheat drastically increases the pain and stiffness of my rheumatoid arthritis but in looking back at my weights, I also see a connection to the higher cheat gains throughout.

Check out "Wheat Belly" if you haven't: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/about-the-author/

Also, this past cheat day was heavy on potatoes: potato chips, mashed potatoes. I had increased pain and a large post-cheat gain. I will be testing, tracking, and tweaking some more.

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I eat what I want but I don't go too crazy anymore, I just don't feel it's worth feeling like crap the next day. Pizza, fries and super fried stuff I noticed gets my weight up right away. Some cheat days I have only gained ounces..lol

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When I originally started doing this over a year ago I lost about 44 pound in around 10 weeks or 2 1/2 months. I went all out (nuts) on pretty much every cheat day. I started out a little over 300 pounds, so perhaps it's easier to lose larger numbers faster, if you have more to lose. I am just starting up again after letting myself slip back to my former weight. Anyway, to get back to the point. I don't think you need to avoid much of anything on your cheat days. I focused mostly on sugary things, but I also loved to go to movies on that day for popcorn...

The one thing I did tend to do even on the cheat day, was eat 3 eggs right away in the morning, but I don't know if that really matters.

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I avoid soda. Even on cheat days.

  • Darren Rufer commented Oct 26th 2012:

    I drink as much coke as I want and still lose quickly. It takes several days after the cheat day to get back to my pre-cheat day weight, but I inevitably lose more weight every week.

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I love having my sweets on Cheat Day too! Always surprised when I can't eat as much of them as I orginally intended. Hence, this really is a miracle diet for me. The one food that I have started to avoid is Chinese takeout as my weight really increased & took awhile to come off. Pizza, no problem.

  • jsgitnalong commented Mar 4th 2012:

    Pretzels and Nutella rock on cheat day!

  • Darren Rufer commented Oct 26th 2012:

    Interestingly, my girlfriend is diabetic and notices that her blood sugar level spikes crazy high when eating Chinese food...

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I actually don't think the pizza in itself is the bad thing. It's the wheat in the dough. I get back into weightloss a lot quicker if I do glutenfree cheatdays.

Yes, there are still loads of stuff you can cheat with! :-P

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HFCS, GMO, and Trans fats.

Aside from that go to town so much that it hurts and you don't do it as bad next time. Some of my worst cheat days yield some of my biggest losses.

  • Darren Rufer commented Oct 26th 2012:

    It's virtually impossible to avoid GMO. It's in almost 90% of everything that is produced and then shipped to our stores here in America. In fact, Whole Foods said as much from the mouth of one of their PR people.

  • Eric I commented Mar 9th 2013:

    whole foods is leading an initiative to have everything in their store labeled by 2018. You can avoid GMO by buying organic or buying directly from a farm that specifically states no GMO. i.e CSA. If you don't have Community Supported Agriculture in your area, you should start one!

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What about alcohol? I drink a lot of beer / longdrinks during cheat day ... (10 beers + some long drinks)

  • Eric I commented Jul 9th 2013:

    that's a lot of beer but, again, anything goes.

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