While having the occasional cheat day may seem acceptable, if done too frequently it can cause a person to spiral out of control. Easing into a diet such as the keto diet is a good idea, but after a body is adapted to a high-fat, low-carb way of eating, consuming a lot of carbs can be a shock to the system. Not only that, but feelings of regret and not feeling well may be effects of eating non-keto approved foods. At the time, a cheat meal may taste great, but afterward panic may set in. Why? Most people are afraid they’ll either gain weight or that it’ll be hard for them to get back into ketosis. Thankfully the situation isn’t as bad as it seems, and there are things you can do to get back on track, such as reading the Body Reboot book which tells us how to take advantage of the keto diet. The odds are that an occasional cheat meal or two will not become permanent additions to your body or diet. As long as you push forward and follow these tips you can and will succeed!
Give Yourself Some Grace
Even though Body Building discusses how a cheat day may affect your workouts, it’s the same way with the keto diet as well. Don’t buy into the all or nothing mentality that your diet is suddenly over because you’ve had a series of bad days. Decide to stick to your diet going forward and don’t look back. If you make mistakes again the future, it’s okay. No one is perfect but what matters is that you never give up.
Fitness isn't built in a day, so why would it be undone in a day? You know the key to a phenomenal physique isn't one single workout—it's many workouts, done consistently, over a period of time.
So why aren't you applying the same logic to your food? Thinking it's all over after one cheat day is like thinking you can get washboard abs with one workout. You went off the rails with your meal plan and ate everything in sight, but it's only one day. If you're consistently good about what you eat, a single cheat day won't undo all your effort.
Everyone needs a break from the gym once in a while. The same goes for your meal plan. Sometimes having a cheat weekend and feeling the effects of all the salty, sugary, fatty foods is a great reminder for why you chose to eat healthier in the first place. You don't just look better when you eat healthy—you feel better, too.
Just as a day off from the gym can give you the mental and physical break you need to regain your focus, a day off from your meal plan can be just what you need to appreciate how hard you've worked and why you make healthy choices in the first place.
Get Quality Sleep
It makes sense that you should get enough rest because when you’re tired not only do you feel down on yourself for cheating on your diet but you’re more likely to get tempted by food. Allow your body to recover by getting enough rest and stay on track by taking care of yourself. Eat This, Not That has more thoughts:
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after a binge. Why? It may make it easier to turn down carb-laden trigger foods the next day. In a University of Colorado study, participants who were only permitted to sleep a mere five hours ate more the next day than those who got nine hours of shut-eye. Researchers observed that the well-rested crew had more “food restraint” while those who were sleep-deprived not only took in more calories, but more calories from carbs and fat.
Go for a Walk
After overeating one way to counteract the food you just ate or at least feel better is by going for a walk. Even though the walk won’t take away the fact that you just overate, it will still help you clear your mind and hopefully make you feel better too. Plus, studies have shown, such as the J Exerc Nutrition Biochem 2014 study shows that walking can help burn more body fat and reduce negative feelings.
Going for a walk right after you’ve overeaten can help you clear your mind and will make your body feel better, too.
Walking has been shown to help accelerate stomach emptying, which may relieve uncomfortable feelings of fullness or bloating caused by overeating.
It can also help burn some of the extra calories that you might have consumed during a binge.
One small study showed that obese women who walked 50–70 minutes three times per week for 12 weeks lost 1.5% of their body fat, including a significant amount of belly fat.
Walking can also improve your mood and reduce some of the negative feelings that may trigger emotional eating.
In fact, physical activity can stimulate the release of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help protect against conditions like depression and anxiety (3).
Exercise has also been shown to improve mood and reduce feelings of stress, which can help prevent future episodes of binging.
A guest writer on the Daily Burn recommends drinking a lot of water before bed so you won’t get dehydrated. A cup of tea may also help you feel better. Heartburn may be another issue so to keep that away Mike Fenster, M.D. recommends propping your head up on a pillow. Read more:
Then, before bed, make sure you’ve had plenty of water to drink (especially if you’ve knocked back any alcoholic beverages through the day) to prevent dehydration, bloating and generally gross feelings, says Mike Fenster, M.D., author of The Fallacy of the Calorie. (Hint: Your pee should be light, not dark, yellow.) A cup of decaf ginger tea can also be great before bed for both hydrating and soothing upset stomachs, he says. If you’re prone to heartburn or are just still feeling stuffed when you turn in for the night, try propping your head up on a pillow. It’ll help reduce the likelihood that you’ll wake up in the morning breathing fire.
Don’t Weigh Yourself Right After a Cheat Meal
If you are on the keto diet to lose weight, you are going to have to weigh yourself at one point or another to see if you’re making progress (even though clothing that gets loose can tell you that the scale is moving in the right direction). However, right after you have a cheat day, it may not be the best idea to weigh yourself.
The Huffington Post author also mentions getting rid of your scale if you struggle with an eating disorder, and if that’s the case, it’s best to check with your doctor before starting a diet. Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C also offers some excellent points on why it’s so important to practice self-care and what to focus on for comfort as opposed to binge eating.
If you do plan to weigh yourself after overeating while on the keto diet, wait a few days until you’re back on course. If you feel you have an eating disorder or are too fixated on your weight, consult with a professional for advice.
If you still own a scale, I’d recommend throwing it out (although taking a hammer to it could also be therapeutic).
I find that for my clients knowing their weight is unhelpful. If their weight must be monitored, then I ask that they do “blind weights” with their doctor or registered dietitian.
Knowing the number that you are on the scale tells me nothing about your attractiveness, intellect, health, mental health, worthiness, or anything else of importance.
When we focus on this external measure, we lose touch with our bodies and engaging in food and movement choices that actually feel pleasurable to us.
Instead of stepping on a scale, I’d encourage you to practice some self-care. If you feel that your bingeing was triggered by emotional factors, I’d ask you to think about what feeling you were looking to experience (or to not feel) when you turned to food.
For instance, let’s say that you were looking to feel “comfort” or “companionship.” You might then start to explore some healthier ways that you can start to get these needs met. For example, you might consider getting together with a friend or family member, playing with a pet, or drinking a cup of warm tea while cuddled up with a blanket.
At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left. At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Healthline, NCBI: J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2014, Body Building, Huffington Post, Daily Burn, Eat This, Not That
Tired, Sleep Problems & Excess Fat?
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally get healthy and achieve your weight loss goals!
Hit Your Fat Burning Reboot Switch
Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!