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Thread: Best circumstances to cheat

  1. #1

    Best circumstances to cheat

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    So I've been primal for a little while now. I'm not super strict, but I have cut out grains and consume fruit, yams, booze etc sparingly. It's definitely light years ahead of how I used to eat, which was basically a burrito/pizza/beer diet. I'm feeling better (I've never known this level of appetite control) and although I don't own a scale, I think I'm looking better too.
    Anyway, my question arises because I've gotten to the point where I think I could occasionally enjoy some of my old favorite foods and not have it totally derail my progress. I know it isn't ideal, but I'd like to go out for pizza and beer every now and then (like, say once or twice a month). I'm wondering what are the best circumstances in which to do this. Would it be ideal, from a metabolic standpoint, to do this after fasting until dinner, maybe after a particularly strenuous day of exercise, or just at the end of a normal day of primal eating? Are there any tricks out there for mitigating the damage done by the occasional grain/liquid grain binge?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    The biggest trick is not to see it as some huge catastrophe and feel guilty about wanting to enjoy a pizza and beer. Have it and then back to usual eating.
    If you know you are going out in evening either fast until dinner or eat mostly protein and veg for breakfast and lunch then have your pizza and beer in the evening. If fasting makes you over-eat the pizza later then just protein and veg meals during the day may suit you better. Do a really good glycogen-depleting weights session the day of the pizza session. After your pizza session the next day fast as long as you can - until lunch-time or dinner whatever suits or afterwards have a few lower carb days. Its up to you to make it work if you want to include pizza and beer in your lifestyle.
    Last edited by Sue; 01-12-2011 at 05:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Manchester, NH
    personally, i think the best time to cheat is when it's worth it. this isn't a diet where you need to measure every single move you make and deprive yourself of food. if kicking back once in a while and eating pizza and beer with friends is going to make you enjoy life, i say have at it...just don't make it a regular thing.

    metabolically, i would say eat light on a day like that, and focus on fasting the next day. your leptin levels will be through the roof after a cheat like that, so doing a fast and low carb eating the next day may in fact help fat loss.

  4. #4
    Thanks. I think I'm good on the mental aspects; I don't see it as a huge catastrophe, just something that I shouldn't do too often. That's a good recommendation on the hard weight session, I was thinking of maybe a long bike ride, but weights seem to make more sense in that it depletes glycogen but might not cause me to eat excessively.

  5. #5
    Rob, I hear what your saying about not worrying too much about every little thing. But I actually enjoy the planning and tweaking and definitely like the idea of indulging in the smartest way. It actually makes it less stressful for me, not more.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Utah, USA
    I need someone to help with out with the name here (maybe Robb Wolf?), but one of the paleo bloggers has a "cheat night" once a month where he goes out for pizza and donuts etc. He eats cinnamon beforehand, as it has been shown to block insulin response to carbohydrates (these studies are often done with subjects who are diabetic). I don't have any information readily available, but perhaps it's worth looking into.
    "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Tim Ferris talks about the cinnamon on his pastries.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I don't think it's all that useful to overthing "timing your cheats" - unless you are just interested academically, in which case there is probably a super complex answer somewhere. Just "make a conscious less-than-optimal food choice" when you think it's worth it, and not out of laziness or cravings. That's pretty simple. That stuff is a lot more about psychology than it is about nutrition imhop.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Denver, CO
    I've been Primal since August and knew that I would need to cheat periodically in order to maintain. it always hurts but is always worth it for me, at least.
    I took the advice of the nutritionist at my gym who is zone/paleo. She suggested one cheat meal every 2 weeks so that's what I do. Appetizer, drinks, dinner, dessert - the whole 9 yards. And then the next meal, back to 100% Primal. Time goes so fast during those 2 weeks so it's plenty to satisfy the cravings and I continue to lose weight/feel great despite my massive indulgences.
    I feel like if I didn't have a set day, I would let myself cheat more often and this gives me something to look forward to.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Sacramento, California
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    Beer isn't terrible, although I personally avoid grain alcohol. As for pizza, I'd say get thin crust, unless that would really spoil it for you, and don't eat the outside crusts. It would be better if you found a cheat that you liked just as well and didn't involve wheat.

    If a once or twice a month pizza cheat helps you stay on primal, do it.
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