Now, with any diet, one thing to keep in mind is cheating on it. After all, it’s easy to say you won’t cheat on your diet and you’ll stick to it, but sometimes you see some cheesecake and one slice couldn’t hurt, right? A cheesecake later, you realize that while one slice couldn’t hurt, the whole cake can.
Now, a lot of diets factor this in, with cheat days that let you have some tasty food that doesn’t fit with your diet, but won’t ruin the overall effect of the diet.
Keto diets, however, are a bit unique in that they aren’t just caloric regulation diets, but they fundamentally alter the way your body deals with food and energy by sending you into ketosis. In this state, your body burns fats into ketones inside your liver for energy as opposed to breaking down carbs like normal.
Now, the big question is, will a cheat day on a keto diet send you out of ketosis?
The answer to this is, depends. See, unscheduled cheat days are bad for ketosis, because it’s about maintaining the state of ketosis, and your body snaps out of ketosis with enough carbs. But, there is a way to have cheat days on your keto diet, and have a cheat day a week; this diet is called the Cyclical Keto Diet.
The Cyclical Keto Diet
Now, this diet is a lot like a standard keto diet, with one major difference; instead of 7 days a week, it is 6 days a week, with the last day being a cheat day. This is important, as it maintains a schedule. You’ve probably heard about Pavlov’s dogs, right? A bell rings, and the dogs salivate. The question is, what does this have to do with dieting?
The answer is, it has everything to do with dieting, especially keto dieting. See, your body is a lot like the dogs in this example; it can be trained to have certain reactions when certain conditions are met. For example, it can be trained to stay in ketosis by sticking to a keto diet for a long time and never eating too many carbs. Or, you could train it to stay in ketosis and quickly adjust to carbs for one day of the week before switching back to ketosis.
This training of your body is the core of a cyclical keto diet; the cheat day occurring on a regular schedule, without exception, means your body will stay in ketosis before and after the cheat day. This allows you to eat your favorite foods without losing all the progress you’ve made on keeping your body in ketosis. Now, of course, there are a few things to keep in mind; this diet doesn’t come without cost.
The (Possible) Downsides
Now, with this diet, you have two major flaws; the fact that your body doesn’t flawlessly transition, and the fact that giving an inch may lead to you slipping a mile. Now, these vary in intensity from person to person, so keep that in mind; what may ruin a keto diet for one person may save it for another. So, without further ado, let’s get into the things to keep in mind.
First of all, is the fact you are still breaking ketosis. Especially when your body is newer to the ketosis state, breaking it with a surplus of carbs can lead to throwing yourself straight out of ketosis, meaning you have to let your body re-acclimate to the state of ketosis all over again. Of course, if you consistently maintain this diet, this will go away over time most probably, but for some people, their body doesn’t switch easily from a keto diet to a carb-heavy diet, or vice versa.
If this is you, you might want to stick to a conventional keto diet and plan around cheat meals, instead of cheat days.
Keep in mind, you do lose progress on cheat days, but this can be minimized by sticking to a strict schedule. Early on, when you lose the most progress, try just one cheat meal, instead of a whole cheat day, to help ease into your cheat day schedule.
Give Yourself an Inch, and You’ll Take a Mile
Secondarily, you have the classic problem of giving in a little, then giving in a lot. There are a couple of ways to deal with this, though for some people, it isn’t a problem at all. Those lucky few can skip ahead, but for the rest of us mortals, here are some tips. First of all, you could try satisfying all your cravings; list out all your favorite foods, and satisfy all your cravings on your cheat day.
Furthermore, you could prepare keto-friendly versions of all of these dishes, making them keto food so you can enjoy them on your normal diet days.
You could also try some other classic methods, such as drinking a lot of water, chewing gum, or filling up on some tasty keto foods, like meat and veggies. Remember, diets don’t have to taste bad! On top of this, exercise is not only good for you, but it helps keep your mind off such tasty treats as cheesecake, helping you stick to the diet.
Now, if this all fails, you have to keep in mind that one accidental cheat day doesn’t ruin your diet; again, you lose some progress, but you can’t just give up and call it quits. Start it up the next day, take your planned cheat day, and make extra sure not to mess up next week. That’s the best way to deal with it, after all, and you don’t lose all your progress.
Too Long Didn’t Read
If you’re impatient or short on time, here’s the summary; ease into your cheat day schedule, don’t take a failed day too hard, keep in mind all your cravings and try to satisfy them in ketosis-friendly ways if possible, and keep at your diet and schedule. Find out what works for you, and put it all together in a personal plan to keep you on track, and remember, I believe in you, so go out there and crush that diet!