Are cheat meals ok once in awhile after a full month of strict paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I started my Paleo lifestyle almost a week ago and I've gone from 183lbs to 178lbs. I plan on sticking with this way of eating for a long time, I definitely feel better about myself already and I don't really have the cravings that I did the first couple of days.

The thing is, my girlfriend of 2 years and I have a tradition of going to a local Italian restaurant every Saturday. We didn't go last Saturday, and I told her I can't go for the next few Saturdays either because I'm trying to do a full month of strict Paleo diet.

After the first month though, would 1 meal a week really hurt me? I would only cheat that single meal and I work out 5x a week. She's already upset that I'm breaking this tradition because we both work opposite shifts so we never really see each other during the week.

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6 Answers



on March 20, 2013
at 03:58 PM

"I definitely feel better about myself already"

Great quote from yourself, if eating the paleo way makes you feel this good then do you really want to stop?!

As for not going out to restaurants, you can TOTALLY still do this but just be savvy with your choices! Steak/fish/salads are readily available from Italian restaurants which would be perfect paleo food. Or maybe try modifying a dish and ordering 'off' the menu. Ie - "Instead of pasta could I have some veg instead?"...etc!



on March 20, 2013
at 05:25 PM

if eating a SAD meal once a week is what helps you eat healthy the rest of the time, then go ahead. completely denying yourself and forcing yourself to eat one way all the time is when you step into disordered eating territory.



on March 20, 2013
at 04:31 PM

I do a cheat day a week and have experienced only positive effects. As long as you don't have huge food sensitivities, I think it's fine.


on March 20, 2013
at 04:17 PM

I wouldn't, but that's because this is my way of eating now. As opposed to a "diet" that I "cheat" on. You gotta make this call for yourself, but I encourage you to pay close attention to how you feel after each "cheat." If you feel fine, cheat away! If you don't, you have data points and can weigh this decision for yourself next time you're faced with the choice.



on March 20, 2013
at 03:38 PM

Follow the common 80/20 rule...80% Paleo, 20% non (although you would still be closer to 90/10). It's not going to kill you and will probably help to keep you on the right track.

...maybe get a dish with bacon to balance it out :)


on March 20, 2013
at 03:40 PM

Many people stick to the concept of eating in a 80/20 fashion where 80% of the time they eat clean, real, nutrition dense food and the other 20% allow for some cheating of food that may not be optimal.

It seems that it won't hurt you a lot, and probably you shouldn't feel bad about it if you do, live is also expected to be enjoyed :)

That being said, you have changed your perception of life and you have new insight about what is good for you and what is not. Thinking about how and when you will able to cheat doesn't seem also a good thing nor it makes much sense. Its understandable that your girlfriend may be upset because of that change, but if she loves you and understands you, she also should support your goals. If the problem is with the "ritual", then may be you could find a new one that would be an "improved" version of the former, you could see it an evolution :)

For example you could go out for a different kind of restaurant that promotes better healthy options. I've had also this problem with my girlfriend but we manage pretty well. Also, remember that on an Italian restaurant you can also order a salad and may be some meat that should be a paleo-friendly option.

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