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Cheat Day Misgivings...

I'm nervous and feeling a little bamboozled. Just finished a cheat day that I honestly looked forward to all week, but then I woke up this morning feeling like I didn't really need it and was enjoying the diet so far...but I felt like it was part of the plan so I should stick with it. I'm not doing supplements and only got citrus in my water this morning (although I had grapefruit juice prior to my last meal). Now I read all this stuff about how the cheat day isn't so much part of the solution to fat loss but more so just a way to keep you from giving up. Will power I have. And fast results I want. Wish I had known that going into the day and I may have held out. From what I read in 4HB I thought it was a pretty important component of the whole diet. Did I misread? Has anyone on the slow carb gone with and without the cheat day and found better results with a cheat day???

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The Best Answer

I think that it's a little bit of both.

Today is my cheat day, and for most of the week I've been having dreams about a Red Velvet cupcake I saw at a local coffee shop. Today, that cupcake will be mine. It has helped me power through the week knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

On the other hand, it is my understanding that from a metabolic standpoint, the spike in calories from your cheat day prevents your body from thinking that it is starving and therefore holding on to the fat you are trying to get rid of.

In my humble opinion, a cheat day is just that- a cheat day. Eat what you want.

The morning after, I have felt a little cruddy. That just reminds me why I'm doing this in the first place. The carbs and sugar don't make my body feel good. It's a solid reminder to be good for the rest of the week.

Hope this helps!

Anne

1 month results- down 10lbs, and 3" off my waist

25lbs to go!

All Answers

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I am in the same boat as you. I actually like the diet and didn't want cheat too much. After doing more research I'll say this, I don't think the book generally does a great job of fully explaining insulin's role in fat loss. Insulin release is regulated by blood sugar levels i.e. carb intake. The slow carb approach dramatically decreases the amount of insulin your body releases which consequently decreases fat storage which means your body will burn stored fat when its hungry. Thats great right.

As we know everyone is different (some are far more sensitive to carb intake/insulin release) and for some long term slow/low carb eating can cause anomalies in how your body distributes and receives insulin. "Cheat day's" help out by creating a scenario where your body is flooded with carbs, even if for a short period of time, which helps to regulate your body's insulin sensitivity.

Basically helps to keep insulin release and the receptors that sense insulin in a proper harmony. The side effect is that you really get to enjoy a meal or two.

Hope that helps.

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Tim has said the cheat day is for health reasons. Can you drop it? Yeah. However, it's for thyroid health, for sure. Also, some women stop having their monthly visitors when dropping the cheat days. The thing you can do, is to do as Tim says. Try it, record it, test it, and see the results.

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My guess is that some sort of calorie spike every week or so is needed and desirable. It's probably better to simply re-add in some things that have been missing but aren't in themselves "bad" ---brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruit, etc. for the cheat day rather than fats and sweets. I would think this would probably be the better health move but it may not be sustainable from the mental perspective.

I think the all-out crazy cheat days or meals helps make the rest of the daily restrictions more bearable. It helps psychologically to know at the end of the week you can eat anything you want and it's fun too. It helps break up the week and for social functions it's great to just eat whatever and not stress or feel guilty about the consequences.

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Cheat day is subjective in regards to the foods you eat. I have eaten foods that made me feel gross but from here on in for the most part, I will stick to fruit, whole grains and cheese. One of my cheat days I so deseparately wanted toast. Yes, toast. I had it. Its was awesome. I did not feel gross but thought I would want more, all it took was one piece.

The whole idea is trick the body and keep it guessing. There may be times you are truly craving something and if you are - go for it. The scale only gives us numbers but the measuring tape gives us inches.

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Where did you read that cheat day isn't part of the fat loss solution? I'm pretty sure I read that cheat day (or at LEAST a cheat meal on a cheat day) is strongly recommended for reasons of keeping your metabolism guessing.

One woman who posts here (and who seems to have had great results!) has never taken a cheat day. Another man who posts elsewhere, does full-on scary cheat days at least one week out of a month and has great results.

We just had our first cheat day and went into it expecting that we'd eat ourselves into sugar comas. In fact, we ate less than we normally would and felt crappy afterward. Both of us were really excited to get back to the new routine this morning and already expect that next Saturday, we will probably stick to a single cheat meal next week.

Anyway - from my understanding, the cheat meal/day is a fairly integral part of the plan, but if it doesn't work for you, I think you can drop it and not have any issues. So long as you don't end up backsliding and having multiple cheats later on (which would be my concern for my fiancé & I).

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Where did you read women stop having their monthly visitors if they don't do cheat day? Usually it happens if their body fat percentage gets too low.

I think just one cheat meal should suffice just to keep you from eating crap during the week.

  • alwayzhungry commented Aug 17th 2011:

    I can testify that if a woman's carb/calorie intake gets too low or if heavy exercise is performed daily, the menstrual cycle will be effected and will screw up your weight loss goals. A woman's period has a severe effect to her natural hormones and if these hormones are not balanced, weight loss becomes very difficult. Definitely do some research and try to balance your diet. In reference to cheat day though, the SCD most likely will not be the reason for a missed period.

  • Aya commented Mar 2nd 2012:

    I lost my period about five years ago doing Atkins. I weighed more than I do now and my bf was higher but the no- carb thing just seemed to screw me up. Now I'm regular as anything, probably due to less extreme eating and more healthy balance. Anyway, fwiw!!

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