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trying paleo with one cheat day a week, is this stopping my weight loss?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 18, 2012 at 7:16 PM

I started the paleo diet in January and have lost roughly 15 lbs. I have since plateaued at 220lbs. I usually blow the diet one day on the weekend? Is this stalling my progress?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24276)

on March 23, 2012
at 02:43 AM

I think a lot of us had to learn about this the hard way. It's good to let loose and forget all the rules and just enjoy sometimes but my cheats rarely contain gluten anymore and are usually just a meal instead of an entire day. Good for you for listening to you body and the feedback it's giving you.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 19, 2012
at 01:05 AM

George..could you expand on this "Blunt insulin release (carbonated water, lime juice, cinnamon cocktail) This should give an average of 2-3 hours of a blunted window." very interested...

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11693)

on February 18, 2012
at 10:04 PM

I agree with other comments, but just want to say 15 lbs since January is still pretty good! Congrats on what you've acheived so far.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 18, 2012
at 09:38 PM

How tall are you? Not that this means badly_dubbed isn't totally right. Which he is. Both times.

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on February 18, 2012
at 08:48 PM

Ditto that one cheat meal a week. You'd be surprised how much that relieves the mental pressure!

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13 Answers

9
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10265)

on February 18, 2012
at 10:10 PM

the cheat day mindset is more harmful than than the act of eating something not normally consumed.

7
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on February 18, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Probably! But the degree to which you are slowing down your weight loss depends on the kind of cheat day you have. Try to decrease it to 1 cheat meal a week instead of a whole cheat day, and then try to only have 1 treat 1 day a week (some dark chocolate, not the whole bar) and you will be on your way to lose weight more quickly!

Cheat days can set you off in your progress not only because of the food you eat on that day, but because of the hormonal derangements it causes at the same time (i.e. more hunger, cravings, less energy in the following days).

Try to go strict Paleo for 30 days in a row and you'll soon see that you don't need cheat days anymore!

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on February 18, 2012
at 08:48 PM

Ditto that one cheat meal a week. You'd be surprised how much that relieves the mental pressure!

7
Dc77df0e0b3a7643c94ce84eb0ae1fb4

on February 18, 2012
at 07:32 PM

yes.

sillyquestion

4
Af3e3615beba642bcafd0f21d64d74f7

on February 18, 2012
at 10:00 PM

The main problem with a cheat day is people confusing it with a binge day. To effectively stay on track you will need to do a few things.

  1. Eat a normal Paleo/Primal breakfast (protein, fat).

  2. Blunt insulin release (carbonated water, lime juice, cinnamon cocktail) This should give an average of 2-3 hours of a blunted window.

  3. Before you eat your cheat meal, eat some fat.

  4. Every cheat carb will hold onto 3x water (10 lbs gained easily this way), so use caffiene (coffee, whatever floats your boat).

  5. Exercise on a cheat day.

This comes from N=1, as well as using these steps on friends/family. And the weight loss plateau kicked in around the last 10 lbs to go, which will require higher commitment to not having cheat days.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 19, 2012
at 01:05 AM

George..could you expand on this "Blunt insulin release (carbonated water, lime juice, cinnamon cocktail) This should give an average of 2-3 hours of a blunted window." very interested...

2
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 23, 2012
at 04:31 AM

If you must cheat, cheat with more fruit, honey, or a potato, or something. But I'd suggest to not cheat with wheat/gluten or other grains. It's not just about weight loss, but health too.

2
79bafc02bdaa62c259a8c94b4c859ab2

on March 23, 2012
at 01:56 AM

I had 1 cheat meal last week (admittedly it was a real doozy) and its taken me an entire week to get back where I was before, not just in terms of weight but digestion etc too. I dont think il be doing that again unless its a special occasion!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24276)

on March 23, 2012
at 02:43 AM

I think a lot of us had to learn about this the hard way. It's good to let loose and forget all the rules and just enjoy sometimes but my cheats rarely contain gluten anymore and are usually just a meal instead of an entire day. Good for you for listening to you body and the feedback it's giving you.

2
273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on February 18, 2012
at 08:50 PM

What do you define as a "cheat"

...for me a "cheat" is dark chocolate and fruit or "paleo ice cream" (coconut milk, cacao powder, walnuts, and ice).

depending on what your "cheat" is it most definitely could be. If you cheat like me (Paleo approved stuff) then once a week of a fruit or some chocolate probably isnt the one factor that is causing you to stop losing. Is your cheat only one thing or do you cheat all day? Are you eating grains? refined sugars? processed foods?

Its not simply yes or no because there are many factors that can stall weight loss.

1
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on March 23, 2012
at 08:37 AM

Its not a diet! Its a healthy eating lifestyle!

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78407)

on March 23, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Yes, cheat days will slow you down. You eat more, you burn off less.

Just for me I cheat, life is too short. What I won't do is ruin my health. Gluten Grains and Dairy wreck me. They aren't worth it, not ever. I'm also a little ify on food additives. All of these mess with my head big time.

I do eat yam or mixed root chips fried in some canola or sunflower oil at the movies. I also splurge on some good chocolate with pecans for movie/date night. It's once a week. I still average about 1 pound a week and skipping treats on movie night only puts me up to about 5-6 lbs a month total. It's a difference but it's just not major.

0
Medium avatar

on January 24, 2013
at 10:39 PM

The mind needs rewards to make it through restriction. That said, cheat meals or foods simply whet my appetite and make it harder to stay strict. The longer I go without even tasting things that I don't eat during my strict times, the more I forget them and the easier it gets to do without them.

Anything you eat that increases desire for more in proportion to amount already eaten is not good. Meat satisfies, chocolate bars do not, but only makes you crave more with every mouthful!

So cheat days and meals IMHO make life harder.

Then again sometimes the calorie deficit is too hard to deal with. So have a bigger calorie meal of good paleo foods on one day a week. Make the cheat, or reward, just more amounts of paleo foods you like.

Now, I do not believe in the "eat too few calories and slow your metabolism" mentality. Restriction burns fat. Done correctly (leangains) it preserves muscle. It's about calorie balance week over week. Go too far on cheat or "up" days, and blow your deficit, thereby self-defeating all the effort of restriction you put in all week, making the whole endeavor pretty ridiculous.

So I think an "up feed" is for mental reward, and if you keep it reasonable, you'll preserve your weekly deficit and progress.

Things that make the "up feed" least fat gaining:

-eat that meal once a week, at night, after fasting 24hrs to make total calories lower, and after as much exercise as you can stand that day to increase efficiency and to make the food go towards lean tissue and metabolic demands.

-over eat meat protein. If you're gonna eat carbs too, keep the meat lean and don't add fat. If you're gonna stay VLC, don't go toooooo hog-wild on the fat, as that's the one nutrient which is least likely to be used metabolically or for repair when taken in excess.

There's my .02

0
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20908)

on January 24, 2013
at 09:23 PM

George said it - a cheat day is not a binge day. But I'm 100% against cheat days or even cheat meals. They do nothing to clean you up and keep you addicted to the crap.

And as I always say: you don't get to ask the "why am I not losing weight" question unless you've given 100% Paleo (no cheats or exceptions) an honest try.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 24, 2013
at 08:57 PM

If cheating means stuff with grains, legumes, and milk proteins, then it is screwing you up. Also, I suppose you could actually eat enough to cancel out the calorie deficit you made during the rest of the week. Don't do that.

But in general, especially if you avoid the big three evils- wheat, soy, and casein- you ought to be okay.

0
Febed61667d007b4462e0a628fe2ff81

on January 24, 2013
at 08:35 PM

Rule 1 Exercise Rule 2 Not a Day Just a Meal Rule 3 Do it at night so you will eat anything later Rule 4 Have protein in this meal

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