Whether its developed cravings, returning to old eating habits, or even feeling depressed or unmotivated because of a lack of progress, cheating on any form of diet can lead to unsatisfactory results.
So the question remains: Should one have a cheat day on keto? In the following sections, we have prepared 9 reasons why you shouldn’t.
1. Leaning away from personal goals
It’s a given that when a person cheats on their diet the chances of being influenced by friends or family who are not dieting increases. That’s why it’s important to have a plan set in place so you can ‘’excuse’’ the cheat.
An example might include eating out at a restaurant and committing to do a few moderate exercises the next day—or even choosing to not visit the restaurant for a week and instead opting for healthier options.
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2. Developed cravings
‘’Dieting’’ is a word that many despise simply for its presumed notion of drastically limiting one’s food choices. But as stated by Zen Habits some of the most effective ways to avoid cravings is taking the process in gradual steps, choosing foods you love, and eating before you head out to work or a trip to town (2018).
3. Increased chance of relapse
In relation to the previous point, sometimes one of the worst outcomes of straying away from your diet is relapse. Especially if your body has already adjusted to burning fat for more than a few weeks (ketosis), these changes impact your body directly.
If you are however planning to transition to another diet or leave keto completely, it’s important to tackle the process in baby steps.
4. Sudden feelings of depression
One of the most obvious results of cheating on keto is feelings of failure or even depression. This is especially common with those who became ‘’addicted’’ to their new diet plan but fell short upon attending a family dinner party or holiday.
So let’s say you did cheat on keto—just analyze your mistake, address a few ways you can fix it, and keep on going. Times like these are when you must remind yourself that no one is perfect, and these moments are meant to teach us, not shame.
Those with a sweet tooth know this too well—and it’s even more dangerous for these individuals to cheat when on the keto diet. As summarized by Diet Doctor: For those of you who are sugar (or carb) addicts, it’s really dangerous to cheat. Sugar addiction is real. Most scientists agree that sugar is psychoactive – it triggers the reward centers in your brain (similar to other addictive drugs). As a result, relapse can be immediate (2018).
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6. Increased risk of ‘keto-flu’
Keto – flu symptoms can range from fatigue, headaches, low energy, and bloating. Despite keto – flu being recognized to occur sometime within the first week of starting keto, as the body is adjusting to ketosis, these same symptoms can become prevalent if one switches back and forth between cheat meals.
7. Lack of knowledge on how to ‘cheat correctly’ while on Keto
There’s no doubt that cheating on our diet can make the journey itself seem more accomplishable. This is because we are feeling less like we’re ‘’dieting’’ but committing to a change that is meant to curve our cravings into healthier ones.
As stated by Body Ketosis: If you’re going to have a cheat meal, choose something that’s worth the cheat. Meaning, make it something you enjoy that you can eat mindfully and feel satisfied. This will reduce the chances of binging and truly make the cheat meal with worth it. For example, if you’re traveling or celebrating a special occasion and want to eat something that makes you happy (2018).
8. Sudden blood sugar spike
Especially if you’re diabetic, eating something with carbs can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. In doing this you also increase your risk of long-term consequences such as dementia, blindness, and even amputations.
9. Sudden lack of self-confidence
Let’s face it. When we fail (at almost anything) we feel a bit down. It’s apart of being human. It can be innocent at first—until we start to look in the mirror every time and give into our setbacks. This is where you have to step back and look at the positive things you have accomplished since starting a diet, especially one like the keto diet.
Applaud yourself for even starting!