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Thread: Cheat Days - Help or Hinder Efforts to Stay on Track?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    New Zealand
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    I "cheat" but I think it's important that once you've changed your lifestyle, and really adapted primal, you no longer see it as a "cheat" or whatever, it's just something different, and then you're back to how it should be.

    In the early days I couldn't do it because I'd fall off the wagon. But now I usually have a "cheat" item most weekends when socialising e.g. alcohol or a meal out, and I don't even care, I'm just back on autopilot primal eating when the next meal rolls round.

    I know how much better I feel when I am 100% primal so it helps, I think. I usually make my choices because of social situations. I don't regret them, it's always nice at the time, but just reminds me why I don't eat like that all the time.
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I abhor the word "cheat" as applied to my WOE. It implies some external force compelling me to eat a certain way and a need to 'escape' from that coercion by 'cheating.'

    I eat primally because I believe it is the healthiest WOE for my body, so why would I want to compromise my health by eating things that I know are 'bad' for me? There may be situations in which my 'cost/benefit' analysis will tip in the favor of some not-ideal choice, but I make that choice fully aware of the issues involved. I am not 'cheating' but deciding that for this moment, I can afford this particular item.

    And then I move on. I think the notion of 'cheating' prepetuates the notion that our WOE is restrictive and spartan, and we 'need' to have SAD foods, which will continue to hold an attraction for us.

  3. #13
    Depends on how you define cheat.

    For me, I cheat with fermented dairy, nuts and fruit. A lot of it. The next day, I just go back to my regular eating without any repercussions (maybe a little gassy).

    If I cheat with pizza and beer, I will fantasize about pizza and beer for the whole week and that'd lead me down a very slippery slope. It messes with my ability to prioritize health over taste.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    My problem is I cheat and then that's it. I'm off the wagon for a good few weeks =( I DID however eat a bite of Sizzler cheesy toast because everyone kept raving about it. It was delicious, cheesy and probably a bit too salty. But I only took 1 bite
    "The first wealth is health."
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  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I can do a day a week. I still do for the most part. If I had higher goals (single digit BF, competing in the next olympics....ect.) then I would probably have to change my tune. Some people have real demons in terms of binge behavior and triggers. For those there is no safe "cheat", just like an alcoholic cant have just a drink.

    Another point were a cheat day really impedes progress is for those attempting to become keto-adapted for athletic endeavors. If that is an end goal then you would have to skip cheat days all together as it takes a few weeks-months for full adaptation.

    In terms of a "cheat day" I don't thing there is anything inherently helpful about it except possibly in terms of a carb refeed and even that is a bit dubious and only applies to individuals with a particularly high amount of glycolytic exercise regimen.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Primal is a life style, not a diet. There is no reason to cheat on your life. If you want to eat a Snickers bar, for godshakes eat it and move on. It is about you, you don't need our permission.
    I agree. You eat primal, and if you want something, eat it. If you "plan" cheats, you may end up eating more crap than if you just let yourself eat what you wanted when you wanted. If you never let yourself enjoy a craving, one day you may fall off the wagon hard. I do think you need to be strict for a time period at the outset to make the change.

    If you want an occasional slice of pizza or a cup of ice cream, no big deal- just eat it. It's just feeding yourself. If you constantly want these things, I'd examine what you are eating that is primal really carefully. Are you bored with the primal foods? Not eating enough? Eating things you don't enjoy?

    I've found that there are a lot of old foods I just lost a taste for. Bread, baked goods. I used to crave them, ate some and they kind of sucked. Good for me- now that I know they have lost their appeal, I don't crave them.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Sarasota, FL
    Cheat Days.. Cheat with primal carbs type refeed (fruits, potato, clean carbs), that's a help.. Cheat with bread, desserts, nachos, wings, etc (non-primal), certaintly hinder..

    I don't see anything beneficial about eating fake food.. Can't see how it improves my health, the longer I stay disciplined to eating whole food, the less I want to cheat..

    We all make choices & cheats affect our genetics & "primal plight" in different degrees.. ultimately its up to your level of committment & what you're looking for out of this lifestyle.. I personally want to live forever, reverse aging, & feel fantastic as often as possible.. Nasty cheat meals just don't make me feel good anymore

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Edmonton Canada
    If you plan to cheat you plan to fail.

    If a whole day is dedicated to cheating, then you are putting yourself on a diet and giving yourself a food reward. Being primal is a change in attitude and expectations. It can be tough at first because those grains and especially wheat can be very tempting and addictive and many people experience withdrawal symptoms. As many here have reported as your taste-buds grow up you will find you will not like the taste of processed foods (perhaps even the smile).

    Having said that the 80/20 rule is there for a reason. If you are out with friends enjoy. Don't binge on crap, eat the best you can but enjoy the night.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Johns Creek, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirlot View Post
    Having said that the 80/20 rule is there for a reason. If you are out with friends enjoy. Don't binge on crap, eat the best you can but enjoy the night.
    That sums it up right there.
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  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Calgary, AB
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    4 Hour Body guru goes as far as saying that you will not be able to lose weight if you are a female without a controlled binge day a week. The theory comes from the idea that continuous caloric and carb restriction alters hormonal state signaling the time of starvation to the body that starts holding on to fat. The feasting reverses that. 4 Hour Body has the entire protocol on how to binge on your cheat day to continue losing weight, not feel a crash next day and overall survive it. I tried it once successfully, but I find that I can't handle huge swings in the diet (i.e starvation-fasting cycle/low carb-carb load) successfully emotionally and physically. Then, again, I do lose weight on those like on nothing else. I am afraid to try it again though.
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