4

votes

What's your take on cheat meals/days

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 01, 2011 at 1:26 PM

I have just been reading a thread where people were describing their horrible reactions to cheating over christmas. A lot of diet gurus advocate a deliberate cheat meal or cheat day to reset leptin and such every so often to facilitate fat loss. I'm interested in peoples take on this. While I'm not a celiac I have no intension of deliberately eating gluten, I hate the way excess carbs make me feel so I won't be doing that either. So while I think the jury is still out on cheating, what does a fairly strict Paleo cheat with?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 08:35 PM

Man, I have a banana every day..not my cheat meal, haha.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 08:32 PM

I took at a job at an organic fair trade dark chocolate company, and have worked there for three summers since- that is a great way to learn how to deal with triggers. People are always like "you must want to eat chocolate all the time!" and I just smile, because I HAVE to eat chocolate (test samples), and now even when I am not working there, I am good with just one piece at a time :) and I LOVE chocolate- I just don't need as much anymore, haha.

531c16cdbf9ba20f93cd7687cdd31510

(15)

on February 21, 2012
at 02:21 PM

This is a year later. Did the cheat day theory work? I have had a similar experience with cheating recently and also wondered...

078b14042d995aa2ad3cf31a4dcde988

(613)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:35 PM

I like this philosophy and have try to adopt it. I try to make every meal that's totally within my control (i.e. prepared at home) strict paleo. Then if I'm out & "something happens" I feel like that cushion is built in.

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 17, 2012
at 06:57 PM

that's my motto! But some amazing BBQ or Chipotle is okay every now and then. :-)

D3495cd9e3e7173f24e1dbee40774573

on July 30, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I agree, cheating makes me feel unwell, and it's just not as tasty as some delicious paleo food. Instead of cheating with non paleo food, I prefer to treat myself to some really good quality fish slathered in grassfed butter or grassfed slowly roast leg of lamb, that sort of thing. I'm also keen on a potato on sweet potato and plenty of butter if you must have some carbs (better than cake). I do like some 90% chocolate from time to time, I reckon it's a better than 'cheating' on an obscene amount of fruit, nuts, or even conventional gluteny things.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:17 AM

I would think it reasonable that after eating clean for one and a half months that a glut of rubbish would have undesirable repercussions. I question why you would want to do that in the first place. I am currently reading "Mastering Leptin" (Your guide to permanent weight loss and optimum health) by Byron J. Richards, CCN. Leptin problems are caused by low calories not low carb so a carb "re-feed" is unnecessary, rather a higher calorie re-feed is required. Bring calories up to or above maintenance using good wholesome Paleo foods and you should be fine. Give the rubbish a miss tho.. ;)

8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

(525)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:29 AM

Yes I wouldn't doubt it, but I still reckon Paleo man would have eaten grains from time to time albeit at the expense of getting ill.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on April 16, 2011
at 08:28 AM

Grab a handful of grass seeds, eat them and see how you go. Eating grains is not a spur-of-the moment thing, they need careful preparation to make them edible.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2011
at 08:47 PM

So true! I had a taco shell last night just too what would happen. Sure enough, I woke up with a tummy ache. The longer on paleo the less I have the desire for the old treats: bread, ice cream.

A329ac44674ac574d29d05e70e9a1f2f

(60)

on April 14, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Not sure what % dark chocolate you have, but I've found best results with 85% +. It's too intense to have much! That and there's much less bad stuff in it. Just get a good brand or you'll gag :D

Fe783e04644862c30823614f31b9a996

(499)

on January 03, 2011
at 09:07 AM

seconding the FedEx comment--hilarious and true (for me)!

Bc2110309df459e4fd6c8dab58e364ab

(1096)

on January 03, 2011
at 03:06 AM

on my second glass...

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 03, 2011
at 03:01 AM

I don't know how, but I learned to deal with having all of my triggers around. As long as I don't have one of something, I have no issue. If I have one though, chances are I will have 12. Luckily, so far dark chocolate is not a trigger food and I can keep to a square or two.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 03, 2011
at 02:53 AM

Hm, off to get a sip of red wine.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 03, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Well... it depends on the person. I think Alan is *really* strict about that stuff. For me it's a treat, but not a cheat. :)

Bc2110309df459e4fd6c8dab58e364ab

(1096)

on January 03, 2011
at 02:19 AM

Please don't say that wine is a cheat. sniffle. ;)

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15 Answers

5
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 01, 2011
at 02:14 PM

i dont think or eat in terms of cheat meals. every edible thing out there is a tool. you can choose to use each one as you see fit. I eat dark chocolate after dinner prolly 5 nights a week. Some would call that a cheat, i see it as another good source of fat, fiber, minimal sugar, and it puts a smile on my face.

4
1a8f3b2b29419ab65f78271eecd82862

(230)

on January 01, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Cheat "days" are a bad idea in my book. Not being a militant Paleo sweating over every morsel going in my mouth, I allow for an occasional "treat", usually non-sugar because that stuff kicks off bad cravings for me. If you feel what you are eating is a challenge and crave one day a week to party, you may need to adjust your day to day eating. If it feels like deprivation, It'll never work.

4
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on January 01, 2011
at 04:42 PM

Do we actually need a cheat day on paleo?

My understanding is you only need to refeed for Leptin if you are on a low calorie diet. People who diet by dropping calories to unhealthy levels see there leptin levels freak out and make it hard for them to stay on course. I think you can do paleo without dropping calories to levels where leptin will be effected. Unless being on a lower carb regimen means effecting leptin? Am I right?

Also Leptin is messed up by sugar, obesity and poor sleep--things I'd worry about before planning to add binges to my successful weight-loss diet...

--That said, a cheat day for me might involve a gluten free baked good and a chocolate milk--non-paleo. If we were to do a Paleo Cheat Day I'd say double your fat to add a ton more calories that day and eat fruit and nuts to your heart's content.

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 17, 2012
at 07:52 PM

I don't really view some things as cheats. Your non-paleo meal isn't a "cheat", it's a deviation. A "cheat" would indicate that it's a circumvention of the rules to gain some sort of benefit in your endeavor.

The bodybuilding concept of a cheat meal in a CKD might just be a real "cheat meal" if it's done to it's strictest (zero fat, high starch, high protein for a short period of time to counter normally low-carb, medium-protein, high fat days)... but that's really more of a biological "hack" to top off glycogen stores and reset leptin... in this way I myself have a "cheat day" where I simply add about 2-potatoes to my friday dinner and saturday breakfast, as I normally cap less than 80gm of carbs daily.

I might go "off my diet" on purpose, but usually view the food I eat even then through a paleo lens (i.e. no gluten, avoiding legumes). This normally happens when I just can't beat a taco craving (and please don't recommend lettuce as a taco shell, I might be forced to kick-start an adorable, soft, and fluffy puppy if I hear that suggestion again).

I also don't think a lot of foods that we eat can be classified as paleo, but are benign and even helpful in our diets (i.e. rice, processed chocolate, supplements etc). And furthermore, I don't get why people get really upset if you tell them it isn't Paleo.

It isn't paleo - but thats ok.

Some nights, about once a month, I might drink beer. After that first heady draught, I will look over at my wife and tell her, "Not Paleo, Not Caring".

3
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on February 17, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Don't cheat with wheat.

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on February 17, 2012
at 06:57 PM

that's my motto! But some amazing BBQ or Chipotle is okay every now and then. :-)

3
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on January 03, 2011
at 07:55 AM

Don't plan or deliberately do cheats. If they happen, don't worry too much about them. And know your poisons, so the effects of the cheats are limited.

That is what I would say. But I know nothing about the leptin thing...

078b14042d995aa2ad3cf31a4dcde988

(613)

on February 17, 2012
at 11:35 PM

I like this philosophy and have try to adopt it. I try to make every meal that's totally within my control (i.e. prepared at home) strict paleo. Then if I'm out & "something happens" I feel like that cushion is built in.

3
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 03, 2011
at 02:56 AM

Even though I managed to avoid gluten and generally grains at large, I found that sugar and honey REALLY triggered my old cravings this past holiday season. I am always impressed by those who can have just one piece of dark chocolate. Basically to accomplish that without having extra chocolate around the house, I'd probably have to have the single piece of dark chocolate delivered to my door by FedEx every day. :)

That said, I'm going to try and get through January without keeping additional chocolate in the house. If someone spontaneously offers me a piece of quality dark chocolate, well, I suppose that could be my own personal FedEx analog.

Fe783e04644862c30823614f31b9a996

(499)

on January 03, 2011
at 09:07 AM

seconding the FedEx comment--hilarious and true (for me)!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 03, 2011
at 03:01 AM

I don't know how, but I learned to deal with having all of my triggers around. As long as I don't have one of something, I have no issue. If I have one though, chances are I will have 12. Luckily, so far dark chocolate is not a trigger food and I can keep to a square or two.

A329ac44674ac574d29d05e70e9a1f2f

(60)

on April 14, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Not sure what % dark chocolate you have, but I've found best results with 85% +. It's too intense to have much! That and there's much less bad stuff in it. Just get a good brand or you'll gag :D

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 08:32 PM

I took at a job at an organic fair trade dark chocolate company, and have worked there for three summers since- that is a great way to learn how to deal with triggers. People are always like "you must want to eat chocolate all the time!" and I just smile, because I HAVE to eat chocolate (test samples), and now even when I am not working there, I am good with just one piece at a time :) and I LOVE chocolate- I just don't need as much anymore, haha.

2
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on January 03, 2011
at 02:18 AM

I would say a fairly strict Paleo could "cheat" with dark chocolate or red wine or gluten free beer or cider, possibly dairy if you don't typically do that. The Paleo baked goods aren't really very strict paleo either, so I would consider them almost a cheat.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 03, 2011
at 02:53 AM

Hm, off to get a sip of red wine.

Bc2110309df459e4fd6c8dab58e364ab

(1096)

on January 03, 2011
at 02:19 AM

Please don't say that wine is a cheat. sniffle. ;)

Bc2110309df459e4fd6c8dab58e364ab

(1096)

on January 03, 2011
at 03:06 AM

on my second glass...

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 03, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Well... it depends on the person. I think Alan is *really* strict about that stuff. For me it's a treat, but not a cheat. :)

2
1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

on January 01, 2011
at 03:26 PM

It's funny how things progress. Last night at my families new years eve party a special dish of smoked ribs was made for me because my family and friends know I eat a lot of meat. For christmas I received a large box of various grass fed meats fro US Welness Meats. I didn't expect any of this, because they know I will eat some of the normal food prepared for the other guests but I just won't eat very much. Basically I just eat very little of the cheat food before me and the next day go sprint and it doesn't bother me at all.

1
88a3d907cfbe4cb0a23fd5da36161f9b

(614)

on February 17, 2012
at 04:06 PM

I'm okay with a cheat meal once a week or so, as long as it is wheat-free. The hives I get when I eat wheat are not worth the taste of that bread/cookie/etc. Typically, my cheat meal is going out to dinner on a Friday night and not worrying about the oil things are cooked in.

1
Bc2110309df459e4fd6c8dab58e364ab

(1096)

on January 03, 2011
at 02:12 AM

I think that a perfectly paleo cheat day (for someone trying to lose weight) would involve A LOT of fruit, nuts and/or cheese.

I am not an expert by any means, but I recently did a bit of holiday cheating. I dropped several impossible-to-lose pounds, immediately after my indiscretion. I don't know if that was the cause, but I do plan to repeat the experiment in a few weeks to see if I have the same results.

(In case it's not obvious, I started that thread)

531c16cdbf9ba20f93cd7687cdd31510

(15)

on February 21, 2012
at 02:21 PM

This is a year later. Did the cheat day theory work? I have had a similar experience with cheating recently and also wondered...

0
E280c0efe70b951b88b00b879e663580

on February 17, 2012
at 03:48 PM

My cheat foods are:

Ezekiel Bread. Greek Yogurt. Bananas. Hummus. Guiness. Red Wine. Mangos. and going out to eat.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 09, 2012
at 08:35 PM

Man, I have a banana every day..not my cheat meal, haha.

0
Bdfa2ea0859a97d9693a6500809df2f7

on May 26, 2011
at 03:26 PM

After being on a strict Paleo diet for 1.5mos, is it normal to feel the effects of a full-on cheat day inclusive of ice cream and crazy amounts of sugary cereal, 2-3 days later? Or could this feeling be from something else?

Also, where can I get more info on this 'refeeding leptin' stuff?

Thanks!!

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:17 AM

I would think it reasonable that after eating clean for one and a half months that a glut of rubbish would have undesirable repercussions. I question why you would want to do that in the first place. I am currently reading "Mastering Leptin" (Your guide to permanent weight loss and optimum health) by Byron J. Richards, CCN. Leptin problems are caused by low calories not low carb so a carb "re-feed" is unnecessary, rather a higher calorie re-feed is required. Bring calories up to or above maintenance using good wholesome Paleo foods and you should be fine. Give the rubbish a miss tho.. ;)

0
3ccab807e2b8bb1d050c3584d9c1dd12

(487)

on April 15, 2011
at 06:38 PM

The longer you stay on Paleo, the worse cheat meals will meals will make you feel(especially if they contain gluten) the less you cheat you will eat.

It's that simple.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2011
at 08:47 PM

So true! I had a taco shell last night just too what would happen. Sure enough, I woke up with a tummy ache. The longer on paleo the less I have the desire for the old treats: bread, ice cream.

D3495cd9e3e7173f24e1dbee40774573

on July 30, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I agree, cheating makes me feel unwell, and it's just not as tasty as some delicious paleo food. Instead of cheating with non paleo food, I prefer to treat myself to some really good quality fish slathered in grassfed butter or grassfed slowly roast leg of lamb, that sort of thing. I'm also keen on a potato on sweet potato and plenty of butter if you must have some carbs (better than cake). I do like some 90% chocolate from time to time, I reckon it's a better than 'cheating' on an obscene amount of fruit, nuts, or even conventional gluteny things.

0
8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

on April 15, 2011
at 06:00 PM

I think there could be some logic in this. Remember Paleo man would have very occasionally have been exposed to honey and possibly picked up a few grains on the way. As this was such an insignificant part of the Paleo diet it has been eradicated, but perhaps since it was eaten rarely, maybe experts are saying you should do it too. I'm not sure on whether you should deliberately eat grains though, but if you want a cheat once in a while use the opportunity, don't abuse it and make it something that will not have too many negative effects on the body.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on April 16, 2011
at 08:28 AM

Grab a handful of grass seeds, eat them and see how you go. Eating grains is not a spur-of-the moment thing, they need careful preparation to make them edible.

8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

(525)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:29 AM

Yes I wouldn't doubt it, but I still reckon Paleo man would have eaten grains from time to time albeit at the expense of getting ill.

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