Blog post by:

Gretchen Linden

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Cheat day Sat, fasting Sun -- first time new hack

I'm trying a new thing this weekend because of this article:

I'm just interested in seeing what it will feel like and if my post-cheat gain will be smaller this time.

I usually go up 3-5 lbs from Friday morning to Monday morning. I only weigh myself at work, where we have a good upright scale in the fitness center. One week, my cheat day put EIGHT lbs on me!! Yipe. Yes, 5 of it was gone within 4 days, but I still wonder if my progress would be better without going nuts on cheat day in the first place. For the past couple of weekends, I've done a "cheat window" instead of a full cheat day on Saturdays. One was a 5-hour window from 11 am to 4 pm and the other was only until 1 pm. I had not had an SCD breakfast first on that one.

Anyhow, I decided to try this fasting thing this weekend. I began eating (this is embarrassing) around 3 am Sat, when I woke too early. I didn't have a proper SCD breakfast at all, but ate (at 3 am) a piece of cheesecake with strawberry sauce, leaving the crust (I am not eating wheat, even on cheat days, when I can avoid it).

Since I knew I was going to fast today/Sunday, I went ALL out on Sat. Over the course of the day, up until about 9pm, I also had: cottage cheese and tortilla chips, tortilla chips with melted cheddar, a venti-sized Mocha Caffe from Starbucks, 2 plates of non-veggie foods at a Chinese buffet, a Bananas Foster sundae from Culver's (OMG!), a pint (I'm so embarrassed....) of Breyer's Heath Bar ice cream, 2 chocolate-covered cherries, 4 Jack in the Box tacos, and half an order of fries. I think that's it. I may still be in a sugar-induced dementia and unable to remember.....

So, today is only black coffee (very strong, and I LOVE IT!!!!), water and maybe plain green tea but I'm already buzzing too much from the coffee. I'm amazed that I am not hungry. I was, about an hour after I woke up, but I solved that by taking a nap. HAHAHA!! Then I made coffee after the nap.

I will be very interested to see what the scale says tomorrow, as by the time I have my Monday morning SCD breakfast, I will have gone about 31 hours without any food. Is that right? From 9 pm Sat to probably 4 am Mon.

Has anyone else experimented with this?

I can tell that on top of not ingesting any calories, I will also be burning more today because I'm seriously BUZZZZZZzzzed from this coffee, and without messing with cooking meals and washing dishes, I have a feeling I will be blitzing through an extra amount of housecleaning today, which is good because it's a leeeeeetle overdue.



UPDATE: My fasting day went very well. All I had was black coffee and water and I felt great all day until about 7pm when I got pretty hungry and developed a headache. So I went to bed. LOL!! On Monday morning, the scale showed that the weekend/cheat day had only put 2 lbs on me, which is quite bearable. The 2 weeks prior, I had also had post-cheat gains of only 2 lbs, but I had done a "cheat window" on those Saturdays of about 5 hours, instead of a whole cheat day.

For this past Saturday, since I knew I would be fasting the next day, I went ALL OUT and ate from 3 am to 9 pm, with no proper SCD breakfast or damage control. I would think that without the fasting on Sunday, I would have gained at least twice what I did, since most cheat days put 3-5 lbs on me.

So, my conclusion is this: If I want to go crazy the ENTIRE day and evening on cheat day, I may fast the next day. If I don't want to fast, I will probably just do cheat windows of 5-6 hours. I probably won't want to fast every often, either, because I didn't like being that hungry in the evening and having a headache all night (I woke a few times during the night to go to the bathroom and I still had the headache and was hungry.) It was an interesting experiment for me!


The Best Answer

Canada flag

If I remember correctly Tim suggests fasting the day before your cheat day instead of the day after. I think it was on his blog somewhere. He goes on to explain that the day of fasting will be easier on you because of the already depleted carbs in your system (so long as you hydrate there shouldn't be a headache) and it has been shown to have better results than fasting after a cheat day. I will try and find the link if I can. I read this a few months back.

  • Beorn86 commented Feb 16th 2012:

    The science may be good, but personally I think this would be countered by compensatory eating on the cheat day itself. You are bound to let yourself eat more because you've been fasting. I opt to fast until my cheat meal (usually in the evening) on the day, that way you have 2000kcal to play around with. Watch your macros at the meal and then you'll be fine.

  • Jason Walker Jason Walker commented Feb 16th 2012:

    Yeah I don't personally do this. It was just something I remembered reading. I have found that by increasing my morning protein to between 50-70g on cheat days I am not hungry until around 4pm 5pm and only end up having a cheat meal instead. The comment was mainly for those people looking to try the fasting technique.

  • justingus25 commented Feb 16th 2012:

    I think I remember someone else (@justin maybe) noting he felt he had better success not burning lean muscle when doing IF going into a cheat day than fasting after. . . I've tried both but I don't have any specific data/info to provide.

All Answers


Ireland flag

Quick tip, I find that I need a lot of water while fasting (even more than when I'm eating strict), and if I don't get it I get a headache. Guzzle it down!


  • Beorn86 commented Feb 15th 2012:

    PS the reason you were so hungry is because of the hormone ghrelin. It gets you used to a regular meal pattern - unfortunately because of this, IF should be all or nothing - or else you will just be hungry most of the time :(

  • Seriously commented Feb 15th 2012:

    Just wanted to agree on the water tip. I had to re-take a urine drug screen for my new job because my first test was too dilute (HAH!) and they forbade me to drink anything for basically the entire morning and it totally ruined my day. Epic headache and crappy-feelingness.


United-States flag

I tried the same thing this past weekend, to balance out the cheat i did a juice fast (only juiced veggies, and green tea and a cup of coffee). i gained 4 pounds after a indulgence day that i didnt think i could consume so much food! i only made it to about 3pm on the sunday juice fast (finished off the rest of the day on scd) because like you i had a terrible headache and i was expecting it. this is why most recommend a period of slowly removing carbs from your diet as you get closer to the start of your fast. i knew the carb withdrawals and the detox symptoms would be harass but i wasnt prepared for that :) so i understand how big of an accomplishment it was for you to stick with it! nice job! i didnt lose any weight the day after, so my plan is next sunday to start my metabolism with some lean protein (2 boiled eggs) then finish off the day with a veggie only juice fast. i am curious to see both of our results this next weekend coming!


Netherlands flag

I answered this in an other thread about Intermittent Fasting (IF):

My cheat days are Thursdays.

(I am a 55 yo -menopausal- woman, 5.75", started at 200 lbs, goal weight 160 lbs.)

I take my last meal Wednesday around 18:00 and take my first calories on Thursday around 12:00 (large glass of freshly juiced grapefruit. ( = IF 18 hrs )

Then my cheat day starts with al lot of cake, cookies, Nutella, blue cheese, beer, lasagne, icecream, etc. etc. Mostly aprox. > 3500 Kcal. (During SCD days 1600 - 1900 Kcal.)

I stop eating around 20:00 and only drink water and green tea until 12:00 on Friday. ( = IF 16 hrs)

I have two meals on friday in total about 1300 Kcal.

The rest of the week I eat the min. 30 grams of protein within 30-45 minutes after waking up.

On Friday my weight is +/- plus 1 lbs. and Saturday my weight is pre-cheat-day or less.

Weight loss is not going very quick, but steady, and effortlessly (-/- 16,5 lbs in 10 weeks);

so yes, I like IF....


United-States flag

It would be interesting to see the results from your experiment.

I did IF via LeanGains for about 1 1/2 months after I hit my target weight/body fat but didn't see any changes as far as weight loss. (I suppose I might have gained some more muscle but I didn't want to gain anything so it was kind of a distraction) It also set me up for a domino effect of falling off the wagon because having that "can't eat anything tomorrow" mindset messed with my appetite and I started shoveling in so much junk than I should have....which continued for weeks and then months. (needless to say, I wasn't doing IF or SCD anymore at this point)

That's how I gained 20 pounds in 4 months and the reason I'm back on SCD.

But that's just me (I have zero will power and have food addiction issues). Since you've been on SCD for so long and is a veteran at this, you probably will do MUCH better than most.

Best of luck!

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 12th 2012:

    Thank you; yes, we'll see. I have been on SCD for 8 months, but I'm only one-third of the way to my goal. I've lost 45 and want to lose another 90. I've been pleased with my progress, but I feel as if I've been toying with the same couple of lbs for several weeks now. However, I don't measure myself and I do continue to feel changes in how my clothes fit, so it's all good. I still have a much smaller limit on how much I can eat on cheat days (or any days, really), as opposed to pre-SCD eating. I just don't have a large appetite anymore. (cont'd....)

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 12th 2012:

    ..... I get full a lot sooner and things just don't turn me on as much, which is SO wonderful!!! So even though I ate a LOT yesterday, I could have topped that amount easily before SCD. So, we'll see. Thanks for the support, yarn, and I wish you the best on your journey as well!

  • Sam Green commented Feb 12th 2012:

    Is there a reason why you are losing slowly? You may need to take a look at your diet if your weight loss is so slow?

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 12th 2012:

    Sam -- Well, I stick to SCD so well, I really think that the rate is due to a couple factors. One, I'm 54 and have been messing with menopause for a bazillion yrs. LOL! So my hormones are just plain screwy. Two, I'm on a LOT of meds for RA. Considering how sick I am (was?!!), I think it's amazing my body's able to tackle any weight loss at all, really. I am at a rate of about 1.4 lbs a week and in the beginning it was around 1.75 a week. This rate really is fine with me, as I will have even more saggy skin issues than I already do if it goes faster. My neck already looks like a $#%@# iguana. LOL! (cont'd...)

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 12th 2012:

    .....I'm a patient old broad and feeling SO great, and happy with what I eat, that I'm not concerned. I'm really just experimenting because it fascinates me to try different things. (And yes, I do admit I just want to get into the next "set of 10" on the scale soon....)

  • Sam Green commented Feb 12th 2012:

    In the case of 1.4lbs a week, then that is still good weight loss! I had thought you may have been stalling for a while since you're trying out different methods regarding cheat days now.. But as long as the loss continues at this rate and maybe slows to 1lb a week as you tackle the last 30 or so then you should be pleased with progress so far :)

    I agree with you on patience- this should not be a 'quick fix' or a 'crash diet' - it's a healthy way of eating for life.

  • Beorn86 commented Feb 15th 2012:

    @yarnphreak , what was your IF and training setup? I'm trying it now and I think it's working but would be interested to hear of any common pitfalls..

  • yarnphreak commented Feb 15th 2012:

    @Beorn86 - I worked out 3-4 times a week, typically 1hr cardio and 30 min weights (alternating upper body and lower body every other workout session), did a IF window of 8PM-12PM (16hr window). I think the pitfall is to not get sucked into eating massive amounts of food as shown on the LeanGains site (you know those pics that show off how much they eat after a workout? Like 3 pounds of meat and other grotesque stuff like that.) and not getting in the habit of using protein shakes as a food source. (that whole protein fluff and protein pudding thing. Stick to real foods) Good luck!

  • arctichacker commented Feb 15th 2012:

    @Gretchin-you crack me up!


United-States flag

I totally understand the headache....i did atkins for a good amount of time and that is all i ever had ...was this terrible awful headache. when i switched to scd i realized the one thing that was able to eliminate any feeling of fatigue or headache were the beans! (*i feel like they are always the solution....that...and Water!) so maybe in the sunday fast you can stick to rediculous amount of for the buzz and beans for the energy?! i am very excited to try this method myself! since i also seem to eat like a monster on cheat day! (i gain about 4lbs but still end up losing about 1.5 pounds a week) so im very happy with the progress, im just thinking the fast would help me drop the post cheat weight a little quicker! and give me more time in the week to make more weight loss gains!

thanks for the great idea!


Canada flag

I tried the fast this week post cheat day and it worked extremely well. I had probably my biggest cheat day yet in anticipation, fasted the next day, just drinking water and green tea.. when I weighed myself the next morning I was somehow ~1.5 lbs below my pre cheat day weight! I haven't weighed myself again since then but I probably will tomorrow morning to see if my weight stayed down that low.

It probably helps that I am a 23 year old male as well.


United-States flag

Did fast the day after my "cheat day" this past week. I gained 3.6 lbs after the cheat. Only made it to dinner time with the fast, but ate my regular T4HB dinner. The next two days were as follows: +2.2 lbs.; +.6 lbs. This is the fastest "recovery" I've ever made from a "cheat day"! I am going to do this occasionally, but not every week.


United-States flag

I am thinking about trying this technique this week. Cheat day will be Sunday, and fast Monday.

But, I was wondering if a beef broth would be allowed on the fasting day? Or, should I truly limit myself to water, coffee and tea?

  • ebacklund commented Feb 21st 2012:

    This seems to work for me as well:

    Cheat Morning (Sun): 218.8 lbs

    Fast Morning (Mon): 224 lbs

    Day After Fast (Tue): 219 lbs

    The day of the fast I consumed water, coffee, tea, and two mugs of beef broth (lunch and dinner time). The beef broth really seems to help physically and mentally.

    Will be curious to see how my weight responds the rest of the week. Hoping this will allow me to break thru my four week plateau!

  • arctichacker commented Feb 21st 2012:

    Thanks for sharing your results. It's so cool to see how these tweaks affect others.


Germany flag

I tried it and I love it.

I recommend this HACK for all people on slow carb. Here is my data:

Cheat Day Morning: 87,9 kg

Fasting Day Morning: 89,8 kg

Next Day: 88,2 kg

It worked for me absolutely and this week gonna be great. Thanks!

  • Charley commented Mar 1st 2012:

    next chet day/fasting day - didi it work again?


United-States flag

I'm fairly new to SCD,so I've only had 2 cheat days so far (soon to be 3). But i ate so much that the next day my stomach was genuinely sick and i couldn't even stomach anything. My last cheat day i only had a single actual "cheat meal" and i felt almost as sick. We'll see how i feel after the next ome


United-States flag

I just don't see why there is a need for Fasting. Why not stick to the SCD rules, and enjoy slow, stead progress. We've all been overweight for years. I think it should come off slowly. Why do people on this diet need to reach their goal weight tomorrow? I have never fasted, drank wine, eaten whatever I want on cheat days, and have seen slow progress down 20 pounds in 8 weeks. The way I see it, I could lose a 120 pounds in a year if I had to. What's the rush?

  • Douglas Sheehan Douglas Sheehan commented May 23rd 2012:

    Take a good look at Jake's progress chart posted on this sight.

  • Gretchen Linden commented May 23rd 2012:

    DSheehan -- Oh, yes, I agree that there's not a thing wrong with slow, steady progress! In fact, I think it's better, to let the frame, skin, muscles, joints etc all recalibrate. I've been on SCD for one year now, so I am definitely not in a hurry! LOL My rate of loss slowed over time and came to an avg of one lb a week (yep, I've lost 52 lbs so far, with 78 to go). I am simply VERY interested in experimenting, in the spirit of Ferriss himeself, and since I had 1. read that article about it, and 2. usually felt just so gross and not interested in eating much the day after cheat day, I thought I'd try it. (Yes, thanks, I've seen Jake's chart...we've both been on here for quite a while now and I'm sure we'll be here this time next year too!!) :-D


United-States flag

A few tips for lessening the amount of pounds you pack on the day after cheat day.

1. Try to stay away from stuff like ice cream and pizza. It seems sugar+fat or fat+bread tends to stick around longer. At least from my experience...oh, and rice as well.

2. If you must do carb loading, do so, EARLY in the day, preferably before 3pm, then lessen the carb loading after 3pm.

3. Keep dinner "light" on the carbs and try to eat dinner and finish it by 8pm.

4. Drink MORE water than you normally would on Cheat Day. Also, drink coffee throughout the day.

5. Do your damage control whenever possible. At MINIMUM, do the grapefruit juice before cheat meals/snacks.

6. Cut off anymore cheat meals/snacking by 10pm at the latest. No drinking either(water or otherwise).

This is what I've done in my journey. And I hope it can help you, Gretchen to try to lessen the cheat day weight gain.

  • Gretchen Linden commented May 23rd 2012:

    Yep, thanks Akane, I already do this! (Well....I am in bed WAYYY before 10 pm, so the hours are different, but the idea's the same. And I can't have grapefruit juice -- interferes with my meds. I'm an old broad. LOL!!) Cheat days are nothing like they used to be for me. It simply is not appealing to go bananas and feel gross! Good advice on the pizza ,etc, for others, although I do eat brown rice sometimes on cheat days and have not detected a problem yet. Others might, as you do, who knows. But I don't eat pizza at all, or breads anyway. No wheat for me!!! ;)

  • Maria Rider commented May 24th 2012:

    Ahh, I think any fruit juice should juice is good. Great things are going well. :)


Germany flag

Has someone scientific knowhow in what happens in the body with during this process?

Which might be the healthier method?

I am in doubt that this up and down with water levels is good.

I will try fasting, too, because cheat gains frustrate and make me feel bad. Sometime my saturday cheat gain comes off thursday or even friday. terrible.


Canada flag

Thanks for the update Gretchen!

Have you tried fasting before Cheat Day? I wonder if the results would be any different?

Would you mind sharing your results for the week following the fast? I wonder if the fast would slow down the rest of the week progress? Enquiring minds want to know =P

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 22nd 2012:

    Arctic: No, I haven't tried fasting before cheat day (Saturdays for me) yet. May try that. Well, the Friday to Monday gain was 2 lbs, a smaller gain that I usually have. Then Tue: down 1. Wed: up .5 Thu: no change Fri: down 2. I ended up with a "net loss" of half a pound for the week (I compare Fridays to Fridays). That's a smaller loss for the week than usual, so I am figuring that the fasting basically got the bloat out faster but didn't help actual fat loss. However, I've only done the fasting thing once, so I do feel I'd have to try it on several different weeks and compare results. (Cont'd...)

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 22nd 2012:

    (cont'd..) Because of the way I felt the evening of fasting, I'm not inclined to try it again or often though. I'm more comfortable having one meal on Sunday instead, to avoid the headache. I'll probably just go back to the regular SCD routine on Sundays for the most part. Another problem with my making any solid conclusion on the fasting thing is that the only measure I do is weighing.....and we all know how unreliable THAT is!



Germany flag

I did a fast after cheat day... In fact I did two fasts then.

First one started at midnight of cheat day. My meal was then at 4 pm. (16h fast) I wasn't hungry before and after! So I just had one meal that day.

Result? Sunday Cheat-day: 134 lbs

Monday: didn't weigh myself to not get totally scared!

Tuesday: 135 lbs (breakfast 9am, lunch 2pm really hungry, dinner 10pm)

Wednesday: 135 lbs (breakfast 9am, lunch 4pm!! I wasn't hungry before that! dinner 10pm)

Monday I didn't eat because I wasn't hungry and I was happy to have a day off of forced breakfast.

I like the not-hungry times in my life. Great!

  • Luis Mejia commented Jan 21st 2013:

    So I also tried to do the IF, (i did 36 hours as per a men's health article i read) I started at midnite saturday till noon monday. I gained 6lbs from my cheat day, and this morning i checked the scale at 7am and lost 3.5 lbs from teh cheat day. NEVER have i ever lost cheat weight that fast. Im gonna run a few more trials and see if the progress stays

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