Something I have noticed that is often asked in my low carb Facebook groups concern cheating.
“How often can I have a cheat day?” “Is it okay if I have a weekly cheat meal/day?”
Personally, my answer is do not plan for cheat days or meals – they are not for everyone. Some people are very strong and have fantastic willpower, and they advocate weekly cheat meals to others who are not so strong. This can cause a serious problem of cheat meals spiraling out of control and turning into cheat days, weeks, months, and unfortunately, YEARS.
I speak from experience. Over 10 years ago, I lost 150+ pounds following a low carb lifestyle, and I would cheat on occasion. Those cheats became more and more often, and eventually, all the weight came back, plus more. Since I have literally been down this road twice now (gaining all the weight twice, and losing 150+ pounds twice), I have learned so much. Cheating is not the way to go. I am stronger now, and sure, I have a meal I shouldn’t from time to time, however, there are MANY months in between. And I know when that meal is over, it’s right back to low carb. Period.
I have now lost a little over 170 pounds with VERY few cheats. The first six months starting low carb, I did not cheat at all. We were planning for our Alaskan cruise that summer, and I lost 90 pounds before we left. Take note of the large spike in the graph below — that was our cruise. Since it was a once-in-a-lifetime cruise (and our first ever cruise) with all of my family, I planned on and enjoyed all of the cruise food offerings. And it was totally worth it. Does that mean I’m contradicting myself? Absolutely not. Sure, it was planned, but I had not cheated for my first full 6 months, so I will fully committed to my low carb lifestyle. I made some great memories on the cruise with my family and it wouldn’t have been the same without experiencing everything available on our trip.
After that “cruise spike” my weight loss has continued to progress. And again, that was planned. I knew when my feet were back home, it was right back to my new “normal.”
Commitment and dedication is paramount if even considering cheating. Sure, I have had other meals here and there over the past 15 months, like a special anniversary dinner with my husband or something like that, but I know for me, even one cheat meal will set me back for days, if not weeks, plus make me feel awful for at least a day or two. Even more reasons to not have regular cheats.
Will I cheat again? I’m positive. Will it be often and regular? Absolutely not. I will not go back down that road again…