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Who Here Uses a Cheat "DAY"?

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  • Who Here Uses a Cheat "DAY"?

    Does anyone here utilize an entire cheat "day" to reset leptin levels and rev up metabolism?

    I've done a lot of research on this controversial subject and the literature is quite convincing.

    I've been using a once weekly cheat "day" followed by a 24-hr fast day with great success and have had tons of my clients experience the same impressive results.

    I still see a lot of hesitation when it comes to cheating on your diet for an entire day, however.

    Just curious if anyone else is utilizing an entire cheat day, followed up with an IF for quick fat loss results....

    I love this strategy not only for the fat loss results, but the mental benefit of being able to look forward to a cheat day every week is HUGE in my book.

    Let me know if you've tried using the cheat day before and what your results have been.

    Keep in mind that I do a 24-hour fast the day after my cheat day, to create a huge caloric deficit in midst of a newly recharged metabolism. I do not think it would be "as" effective if it wasn't followed by a fast.

    The other 5 days are pretty much PB-like...

    Let me know your thoughts.

    - Brad Campbell

  • #2

    By cheat day do you mean purposely eating non-primal foods?

    Assuming you are talking about a day where you eat more than usual; I do think that for conventional diets this works. I feel that the PB on the other hand already has this built in, some days you gorge on foods (a good hunting day) and some days you IF (a not so good hunting day).

    I really can't see the benefit of purposely not eating primal foods for a day would be though.


    • #3

      I use to have Sunday as a cheat day. I also tried having a cheat meal after the Sunday thing failed. In both cases I found cheating ignites cravings; as if non primal food were a drug. The longer I refrain, the easier it becomes. I find will power is the greatest tool in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. No excuses.


      • #4

        I find that "cheating" results in my body punishing me... if we're talking about non-primal foods. For example, today I thought chicken fingers sounded like a good idea (I'm pregnant and have had sort of an aversion to most meat, so when my mind said "chicken fingers" I said fine... maybe will be a good way to get in some protein.)

        I ate them and they were "fine" but I could literally taste the gross oil they used for frying. It left a gross taste in my mouth and later on my throat was sore (inflammation from the breading/oils maybe?).

        On Thanksgiving I allowed myself to eat cornbread stuffing and corn casserole - we were at a friend's house and those were family recipes of hers... the bloating and indigestion was horrid afterward!!!

        So if you are asking "Do you take an entire day to eat nonprimal foods?" the answer is no.

        If you are asking about just eating more or maybe more primal carbs (maybe a fruit heavy day) or indulging in some dark chocolate ... sure, but that's not cheating. As lcme said, it's "built in." And I don't plan those days... they come and go as they please. Just like IF - which is something I personally don't plan though I know a lot of people do.

        Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


        • #5

          Newly diagnosed celiac, so no cheating grains wise, but I find the idea of a carb re-feed followed by a fast interesting. Next plateau I may give it a try.

          The more I see the less I know for sure.
          -John Lennon


          • #6

            Since I'm bulking up right now, I "cheat" pretty often, but always within the primal bounds. I always eat acceptable foods, but a LOT of it, especially on Sundays.

            I still have no desire to eat real junk food - it's just not appealing at all. Rather, I cheat on bananas, almonds, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes, etc... but since this is the last week of winter vacation, I might do something a little nicer... ummm that Korean restaurant looks good. =] Rice cakes!!!

            ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>
            ><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><((((º>¸.·´¯`·.¸¸><(( ((º>


            • #7

              I&#39;d also like to know what you mean by cheating. Being gluten intolerant, grains aren&#39;t something I can play around with. Some fridays I have more carbs, as the cafe where I work shuts down its grill and I can&#39;t get an omelet. The half cold scrambled eggs they leave out are disgusting, so I content myself with bacon or sausage and some potatoes.

              Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
              Current weight: 199
              Goal: 145


              • #8

                Ditto FlyNavyWife - when I do stray from PB types of foods (especially into the realm of processed carbs and breads), my body administers a good correction - a pretty annoying headache. The fries and ice cream I had on my husband&#39;s B-day gave me the first one. The mac and cheese and fries that came with a free meal of BBQ yesterday gave me the second. I&#39;m going to be thinking long and hard before I let a third one hit me like that. Ouch!

                In your face, Space Coyote!


                • #9

                  hmmm, so the consensus is that most are anti-cheat it seems.

                  i do mean a no-holds barred cheat day, where greasy french fries, ice cream, cookies, pizza etc is not only fair game, but encouraged.

                  you see, insulin is directly related to leptin levels and a high GI/fatty meal is what will cause the greatest insulin spike and therefore, boost in leptin.

                  this has to be maintained for 8-12 hours (therefore a cheat "meal" would be insufficient) to substantially raise leptin levels.

                  i do agree that it can be a little hard on the stomach, especially when you&#39;ve been primal for some time.

                  it&#39;s pretty interesting stuff - hard concept for most people to wrap their head around - does seem counterintuitive, but the underlying mechanisms make a lot of sense and the results have been great.

                  i did a post that explains this in detail on my blog, but i&#39;m not going to post the link, as i don&#39;t want to imply self-promotion.

                  simply here to discuss the topics i love and help others in any way possible.

                  i encourage everyone to do some research into the subject with an open mind and see what you find. but then again, "if it ain&#39;t broke, don&#39;t fix it."

                  problem is, most dieters plateau after so long because of eating too "clean" for too long. starvation mechanism kicks in, leptin levels plummet, circulating thyroid hormone levels decrease, hunger hormones kick in and the body fights against you to keep every last ounce of body fat.

                  the solution to this, i&#39;ve found is a strategically planned cheat day once every 7days and when followed up with an IF...can be very productive for rapid and consistent fat loss.



                  • #10


                    How long is your fast?

                    I&#39;ve been doing this for almost 6 months. My focus has been based on insulin resistance. I&#39;m reasonably happy with my results. I&#39;m just really starting to research about leptin


                    • #11

                      @ Brad

                      A little hard on the stomach? So you seem to be promoting a poison day every now and then no? Why not provide us here with links or references to research suggesting that a junk food (ie. cheats) day raises leptin levels by spiking insulin. Never mind, I went to your blog and searched leptin and came up with 3. Two of them had no support what so ever about your claims although one had really great photos of half-naked chics

                      Here is the one that explains what you mean by "cheat day".

                      I’m taking my cheat day today and I’m starting to feel like K-Fed looks – fat and sloppy. It’s almost like my neighbors know that I’m cheating today too, because when I came home from my caffeine run, there was a huge bowl of Halloween candy that someone had sneakily left at my front door…two words: CHA – CHING.

                      So I just polished off a half-bag of the Baby Ruth candy bars and now my stomach could almost serve as a table for my laptop. Earlier I ordered a large pepperoni pizza and took down the whole damn thing. It was probably the cheesiest and greasiest pizza I’ve ever tasted in my life…eating it was wonderful and disgusting at the same time.

                      Let’s see…what else have I devoured today? I made nachos several times, had about a pound of string cheese, apples and cinnamon oatmeal packets with peanut butter and honey added into the mix (cuz’ that’s how I roll)…and a bacon cheeseburger, french fries and spinach artichoke dip with chips for supper. By the way, it’s only 7 pm and who knows how much more I’ll eat before the day is through.

                      One of these cheat days I’ll have to get out the Flip Cam and post some footage so you can have a visual of this madness. Seriously, K-Fed has nothing on me.

                      So what’s the point of me bragging about putting down such a massive amount of low-quality calories on my cheat day?


                      That’s right…you can still overindulge on comfort food and lose fat at the same time, as long as it’s built strategically into your fat loss nutrition plan. In fact, it actually HELPS you boost metabolism and get lean, when done correctly.

                      Here’s the simplified explanation of how cheating on your diet gives you a sexy, flat stomach…

                      A typical diet has you fighting your own metabolism week after week and month after month. The longer you make it, the more your metabolism slows down and tries to store extra fat. When you finally throw in the towel and start eating a ‘normal’ amount of calories again…you can really blow up like K-Fed because of your metabolism getting ‘Chris-Browned’ (aka battered…low blow, I know…sorry Chris) by the previous weeks of restrictive eating.

                      K FedBy intentionally having a high-carb cheat day at the end of a week, we cause leptin levels to spike. This is important because low leptin levels caused by prolonged dieting will lead to a decrease in metabolism and an increase in appetite. That’s about as cool as K-Fed rhyming while Britney Spears handles the beatbox.

                      However, with strategic cheating, or carb cycling, we can trick the body, avoid starvation mode and maintain a high metabolism week after week. Plus, you get the psychological benefit of not wanting to eat your arm you’re so hungry.

                      There’s always a cheat day right around the corner to look forward to and reward yourself with when that day hits. And after the planned cheat day, you’re so freakin’ disgusted by the obscene amount of junk food you ate, that you’re not even tempted to cheat the next few days.

                      In fact, the day after is a great opportunity to cash-in on a fasting day (or at least a very low calorie day) and burn through some blubber with a newly-revved metabolism. Fasting is another advanced fat loss technique that I’ll break down for you in an upcoming blog post.

                      For now, just know that feeling like K-Fed looks and being a cheater too, are both okay as long as it’s just one day a week and it’s planned.

                      Now go get to cheating.

                      Honestly. You know you can spike insulin with perfectly healthy carbs don&#39;t you? I mean half bags of Baby Ruth bars raises leptin and you have scientific proof of this and follow that up with a large pepperoni pizza and other junk food too?

                      Also, you are already promoting your blog with your user name linked to your blog. Nothing wrong with that as many here do. But no need to remark that you don&#39;t want to imply self promotion because you have already done that. And based on your initial thread topic you appear to me at least to be self-promoting. Have you even read Primal Blueprint? Do you know what this forum is about?

                      Some of us are here because we know better. Some of us are here because we cheated all of our lives and want to learn better. I found your post rather perplexing and not much more encouraging than typical conventional wisdom of "eating healthy balanced meals frequently throught the day with whole grains" and yadda yadda yadda with no scientific support for it. I&#39;m pretty much a newbie here but who are you trying to fool?

                      “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
                      —Robert A. Heinlein


                      • #12

                        No GLUTEN ever, ever, ever!! Grains expect in small amts very rare(like every couple of months or 1 x a month). However, I do have carb-up days. I need to work on a better system though. I had the stomach flu a few weeks ago and have been wonky since then- Sundays has always been my feast day as well. Like I will have fruit and dark chocolate and maybe starchier veggies and eat more often.

                        Mama to 4, wife to my love


                        • #13


                          Why are you so angry? As a Doctor of Pharmacy, I&#39;ve done my fair share of scientific research and all of my suggestions/beliefs are backed by BOTH extensive research AND real world experience.

                          At 4.3% body fat and having helped many others to achieve fat loss, I thought others may be interested in incorporating a cheat/fast combo worked into their primal diet for potentially better results.

                          According to Mark himself, he encourages everyone to critically assess everything they come across, especially in regards to health and fitness.

                          Am I not allowed in the forum if I have a slight variation from the PB?

                          You are incorrect in saying that healthy carbs would lead to an equivalent surge in insulin and subsequent bump in leptin levels. All carbs would stimulate some insulin release, yes...but Baby Ruth&#39;s, pizza and other high GI carbs combo&#39;d with fat produce an exponentially greater response.

                          As you requested....

                          Another post that describes in detail how this works:

                          Citations for my RESEARCH:

                          1. Dubuc GR, Havel PJ et al. Changes of serum leptin and endocrine and metabolic parameters after 7 days of energy restriction in men and women. Metabolism. 1998 Apr;47(4):429-34.

                          2. Klein S, et al. Leptin production during early starvation in lean and obese women. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Feb;278(2):E280-4.

                          3. Dirlewanger M, et al. Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding on energy expenditure and plasma leptin concentrations in healthy female subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Nov;24(11):1413-8.

                          4. Ahima RS, Flier JS. Leptin. Annu Rev Physiol. 2000;62:413-37. Review.

                          5. Bowles L, Kopelman P. Leptin: of mice and men? J Clin Pathol 2001 Jan;54(1):1-3

                          6. Ahima RS, et al. Leptin regulation of neuroendocrine systems. Front Neuroendocrinolgy 2000 Jul;21(3):263-307.

                          7. van Dijk G. The role of leptin in regulation of energy balance and adiposity. J Neuroendocrinol 2001 Oct;13(10):913-21.

                          8. Rosenbaum M et. al. Low dose leptin administration reverses effects of sustained weight-reduction on energy expenditure and circulating concentrations of thyroid hormones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2002) 87:2391-2394.

                          9. Douyon L, Schteingart DE. Effect of obesity and starvation on thyroid hormone, growth hormone, and cortisol secretion. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2002 Mar;31(1):173-89.

                          10. Kennedy A et al. The metabolic significance of leptin in humans: gender-based differences in relationship to adiposity, insulin sensitivity, and energy expenditure. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Apr;82(4):1293-300.

                          10. Havel PJ et al. Relationship of plasma leptin to plasma insulin and adiposity in normal weight and overweight women: effects of dietary fat content and sustained weight loss. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Dec;81(12):4406-13.

                          11. Doucet E et al. Changes in energy expenditure and substrate oxidation resulting from weight loss in obese men and women: is there an important contribution of leptin? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Apr;85(4):1550-6.

                          12. Nicklas BJ et al. Gender differences in the response of plasma leptin concentrations to weight loss in obese older individuals. Obes Res. 1997 Jan;5(1):62-8.

                          13. Racette SB, Kohrt WM et al. Response of serum leptin concentrations to 7 d of energy restriction in centrally obese African Americans with impaired or diabetic glucose tolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jul;66(1):33-7.

                          14. Havel PJ et al. High-fat meals reduce 24-h circulating leptin concentrations in women. Diabetes. 1999 Feb;48(2):334-41.

                          15. Borden G et al. Effect of fasting on serum leptin in normal human subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Sep;81(9):3419-23.

                          16. Miyawaki T et al. Clinical implications of leptin and its potential humoral regulators in long-term low-calorie diet therapy for obese humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;56(7):593-600.

                          17. Carantoni M et al. Can changes in plasma insulin concentration explain the variability in leptin response to weight loss in obese women with normal glucose tolerance? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Mar;84(3):869-72.

                          18. Zimmet P. Serum leptin concentration, obesity, and insulin resistance in Western Samoans: cross sectional study. BMJ. 1996 Oct 19;313(7063):965-9.

                          19. Tuominen et al. Leptin and thermogenesis in humans. Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 May;160(1):83-7.

                          20. Keim NL, Stern JS, Havel PJ. Relation between circulating leptin concentrations and appetite during a prolonged, moderate energy deficit in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Oct;68(4):794-801.

                          21. Haluzik M et al. The influence of short-term fasting on serum leptin levels, and selected hormonal and metabolic parameters in morbidly obese and lean females. Endocr Res. 2001 Feb-May;27(1-2):251-60.

                          22. Mars M et al. Leptin and insulin responses to a four-day energy-deficient diet in men with different weight history. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 May;27(5):574-81.

                          23. Pratley RE et al. Plasma leptin responses to fasting in Pima Indians. Am J Physiol. 1997 Sep;273(3 Pt 1):E644-9.

                          I&#39;ll end in asking you the same thing - where&#39;s your scientific proof that strategic cheating DOESN&#39;T provide the benefits I&#39;m suggesting?

                          Successful Cheater,

                          Brad Campbell


                          • #14

                            @Vick - I follow the cheat day up with a 24-hr fast and have had great success with this method. After an all-out cheat day, I don&#39;t really feel like eating the next day anyways. Look into leptin - it&#39;s a game-changer for sure.



                            • #15

                              I do a cheat meal once a week... usually pizza or a bar and grill bacon burger and fries

                              It helps me keep on track...