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Skipped cheat day, any healthy alternative?

I've been doing the slow-carb diet for 10 days now without a cheat day. I look and feel so good, I just can't bring myself to ruin all my hard work because I know I will regret it. The book is very specific about NOT skipping the cheat day, but I really don't have any cravings for fried food or donuts or whatever. I never thought I'd be saying that but it's true. My body just doesn't want it and I'm worried if I start again then I'll like it again and then I have to retrain myself all over again to 'hate' bread. So my question is, if cheat day is all about calories, can I just pig out on 'healthy' calories like fruit, rice, cheese, etc.? Or does it have to be white carbs and pure sugar?


The Best Answer

The purpose of the cheat day is to re-stimulate the production of Leptin. After dieting your body stops producing leptin, also all forms of sugar/sweetener stop the release of leptin. So the Cheat Day is designed to kick start leptin production.

Leptin, a fat-burning hormone produced naturally in the body. Properly regulated through diet, leptin increases metabolism and helps you lose weight. An interesting variety of foods will help trigger those fat-burning hormones.

Whole Grains

Whole grains have fiber and complex carbohydrates. They fill you up and provide long-lasting energy to help burn calories and keep you alert and active. Whole wheat bread, brown rice, grains and many cereals are common sources of whole grains.

Low-Fat Dairy

Drink your milk. Skim milk, low-fat yogurt and some cheeses are a source a calcium and other vitamins and reduces, according to Michael Zemel, PhD, director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the production of calcitrol, a hormone that stimulates fat cell production (see link in Resources).

Oily Fish

Sardines, salmon and herring provide omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs) which combat obesity, protect the heart and may help with brain function. Tuna, also an EFA-rich food, should be consumed in moderation, due to high levels of mercury.

Thermogenic Spices

Thermogenic spices--those that produce heat in the body--help to regulate blood sugar and reduce the production of leptin. Spices include cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Combined with green tea in a chai beverage, these spices are delicious and healthy.

Lean Meats

Turkey, chicken and lean cuts of beef are good sources of low-fat protein. Lean meats help build muscle and burn fat, a combination necessary for effective, safe and long-term weight loss.

Foods To Avoid

Avoid heavily processed foods, caffeine and all foods that contain trans fats. Refined carbohydrates, high fat snacks and diet sodas should be eaten in moderation, if at all.

Here are some articles for further reading:



  • John_Yeti commented Mar 10th 2011:
    why avoid Caffeine?
  • s joshua commented Apr 4th 2011:
    As John_Yeti questioned, I would actually suggest extra caffeine on cheat day, since this will assist. Tim suggests both coffee and Yerba Mate tea on cheat days to help "speed things along" in the digestion process.
  • gotaholen1 commented Mar 10th 2011:
    Wow. This is a great answer. Thank you for this. Now I have a great response when my wife complains I am eating too much crap on cheat day.
  • Merry Popkins commented Aug 21st 2012:

    Ok so NO FRUIT ON CHEAT DAY???? Plase answer I

  • xtian commented Aug 21st 2012:

    ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is fair game on cheat day. If there were restrictions on cheat day, then it would defeat the whole purpose of "cheat day".

  • wombat commented Feb 22nd 2013:

    What Jstevenson72 said. while you may see good short term results by skipping a cheat day your long term result will be that your weightloss will slow. please note- it doesn't have to be an "I'm going to eat til I barf!!" cheat day- in fact crazy extreme cheat days should be the exception not the rule.

All Answers


It doesn't have to be the garbage, but it does need to be pretty extreme. Rice, Potatoes, other things that are not ok during the week will work, just really go overboard to reset your metabolism. I go crazy on my cheat day, and by the end of the day I'm ready to take another week break from the crap because I'm sick with it. It really shouldn't get you back to craving the bad stuff, just try it once and don't weigh your self until the following Wednesday. Your body really needs the reset to stay healthy, but again, it doesn't have to be the sugary, chocolaty stuff you are trying to avoid.


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Just spike your calorie intake. eat more of the good stuff.


I think the point is that the cheat day resets your body and keeps it from getting used to the slow-carb way of eating, and keeps the diet effective and helps to avoid stalls. Tim says that it is important to shake things up every 7-10 days. He is right, the weight comes back off in 48 hours, by my experience.

As for what to eat, I don't think it matters that much, as long as it is different from what you eat on the slow carb way of eating. I don't go nuts and eat bear claws, and I don't eat a huge amount, but my calories are about twice what I eat on a non-cheat day, and they come from things I cannot eat during the week (peanut butter and jelly, cheese and crackers, craft-brewed IPA, things I love, but that are not in one of the 4HB "columns").

Hope that helps.


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Hi - the objective of cheat day is to trick your body and keep it thinking as opposed to getting used to something. Therefore, its about spiking calories. However, it doesn't mean you need to eat cake, cookies, ice cream and donuts. Usually on cheat day, my first cheat or indulgence as I like to say is a Protein shake with Bananas, Blueberries and Peaches along with my whey protein powder. To me its heaven. If I want cake, I eat it. Diets typically fail because they equal deprivation. When offer the opportunity to indulge you lose that sense of being deprived. I have done the salty food, the sweet and sickening food and the fried food on my cheats. I always feel gross after some of it. I don't over eat and my boyfriend always feel like he isn't taking enough advantage of it at the end of the day because he is full and doesn't want anything else. This past one was Easter - lots of white food. Lots of bad stuff. I ate the smoked salmon on crackers for appetizers and put a lot of salad on my plate. I took a sliver of cake and when I say sliver I mean so small it wasn't worth cutting it. I did not feel gross even though I was prepared with tums in my bag. I am not a drinker so no worries there. I did enough to trick the body. I did enough satisfy any urges. That being said, for the most part, I look forward to fruit, yogurt(which by the way is low carb and sugar free) and cheese. I may have a piece of beef and some toast whole grain. If I can have those, I am happy. I am not a huge beef eater as I am going lean as possible on proteins but once in awhile a filet mignon is nice.

So I suggest you make a salad, throw some cheese on it. Eat some fruit and have some whole grain bread with butter. I suggest that you don't deprive yourself but you trick your body. I know what you mean by feeling good. I feel cleaner inside.

Good luck.



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if you want to research leptin - there is alot of info out there about why simple white carbs are needed to trigger leptin production and thus, fat loss.

that's why the cheat day is needed, not just suggested. it triggers your body to release a chemical that has been proven to burn fat.

when i get to cheat days i also feel so good i hate to cheat but i have done 3 now and i can tell you that right after breakfast on the first day after the cheat, i feel 100% back to normal. and my weight and body fat measurements go up a bit and then drop to lower than before the cheat. its like clockwork.

try it and keep your measurements. i find it fun to watch.

  • reddir commented Mar 11th 2011:
    Does fruit count toward promoting leptin production? From the book, I got the impression that the sugar in fruit is mostly fructose. Any thoughts on the effectiveness of raw honey on leptin production?


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Cheating doesn't mean you need to pig out and eat every possible fattening food.

On cheat days just cheat on one of your meals, and keep your breakfast clean with 30gm of protein.

  • Danilo Ere commented Jun 24th 2011:

    Tim said we can go nuts. I go nuts and pig out eating every possible fattening food. Three days later at most the weight and body fat are back to pre-binge figures.


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I know a lot of people choose to do a cheat meal on their cheat day, rather than binge the entire day. I believe this would serve the same purpose, as long as you have to willpower not to eat other goodies throughout the week (otherwise I would take the whole day to take care of cravings and eat till you're sick ;) )

Hope that helps



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I know what you mean. It was really hard for me to steer away from my routine and partake in the cheat day. I had mine on Thursday and found that the carbs made me feel sick- I think it is probably helpful to combine with.protein. I had no problem going back to my routine the next day. I was honestly looking forward to it. I was at my inlaws house lastnight and rhey had boxes of Girl scout cookies and i wasny even tempted. I just put a box of samoas on my list for cheat day.


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I'm with you on this one... The cheat days are what I struggle with more than anything with this diet.

I'm not quite at two months in and I'm down 30, but it's taken me a week each time to recover (get back to pre-cheat day weight).

My advice would be not to force the cheat day, but take it if you start craving something, take one. I love the concept of the cheat day, but I think it's silly to take one unless you feel like you need it.

  • Dylan Tomlinson commented Aug 21st 2012:

    My scale is like clockwork after a cheat day, and I've never gone crazy on any of them. Hell, I probably eat better on my cheat day than I did pre-diet.

    The day after cheat day, I'm usually up two pounds. Then the next day, even after going back to the SCD, I'm up another 1-2. Then, it takes 5-7 days to lose 3-4 pounds.


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You need a proper cheat day or you'll probably stall. At least I did.

It wasn't that I wasn't cheating, it's just that every time I fell of the wagon and ate something small that I wasn't supposed to during the week I decided to count that as my cheat day even though I didn't really up my intake at all. Doing this my weight got stuck for about two weeks. Three days ago I decided to just have a real, gorge myself cheat day. I ate a whole bag of Trader Joe's licorice and a bunch of chocolate and cookies, drank what felt like two gallons of beer, ate a massive cheeseburger with fries and onion rings, and had a huge soft pretzel dipped in cheese sauce. The only damage control I did was having a slow-carb breakfast and grapefruit juice. The next day I'd only gone up two pounds. The day after that I was back down to my pre-cheat weight. Now I'm a pound under, and I'll bet that I lose tomorrow as well. Basically, my cheat day jumpstarted my weight loss.

So have you're cheat day. In the long run it'll be good for you.


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Have your cheat day, and eat stuff you can't eat throughout the week. That doesn't mean you have to eat a bags of candy bars. Eat what you want. I love to eat pizza, sandwiches, chips, cookies, and pasta. Eat whatever you've been missing. If you don't want to pig out, don't.

  • Dylan Tomlinson commented Aug 22nd 2012:

    I'm going to do my cheat day on Sunday again and see how it works... Perhaps I haven't been using my cheat day properly...

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