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Are cheat days allowed?

Discussion in 'Low-carb Diet Forum' started by DMWinter88, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. DMWinter88

    DMWinter88 Type 2 · Member

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    I was told I was borderline diabetic, so I've been doing low carb, calorie counting, and walking to lose weight. My question is, are cheat meals allowed? For example, if I was to have a burger and chips once a month, or a slice of cake at my daughters birthday party, is that generally okay if I've been good the rest of the time? Or could that once a month treat actually be a problem?

    I feel so lost with all this. I've not been officially diagnosed, so have had no support from the NHS. I have no idea what I'm meant to be doing, and have so many questions like this.
     
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  2. catinahat

    catinahat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The thing about T2 is that your future health is in your own hands. If you are unwilling to change then your future will more than likely involve increasing blood sugar levels and medication. Cut down on carbohydrates and you could quite easily avoid medication and all of the side effects of high blood sugar. In your case you might even avoid being diagnosed with diabetes
    Can you have cheat days, of course you can, what you eat is no one's business but yours. But the consequences of your choices are also yours
     
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  3. DMWinter88

    DMWinter88 Type 2 · Member

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    The consequences are what I'm looking to understand. I.E lets say I for 30 days of the month I ate below 100g of carbs, but then on the 31st I had a burger and chips for dinner, and then went straight back to below 100g for the next 30 days, what would be the impact of that? I'm aware my blood sugar levels would spike after the meal, but would it do any real and lasting damage? Or would it be fine as long as I was genuinely healthy the rest of the time?

    If you eat 3 square meals a day for those 31 days, that's 93 meals. Does having something carby for 1% of your meals really wipe out the other 99% of being good? I am really struggling with the thought of being locked out of my favourite foods and drinks forever.
     
  4. lucylocket61

    lucylocket61 Type 2 · Expert

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    Basically, a spike is a spike. You can't bank good days to offset other days. It's like keeping to the speed limit 99% of the time, but speeding occasionally and expecting to not get a ticket.

    It doesn't wipe out the good days, but it is a spike. Only you can decide how many spikes to have.
     
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  5. carty

    carty Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The best way to find out is to test your glucose levels before a meal and then 2 hours after this will tell you how the food affects you
    Carol
     
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  6. catinahat

    catinahat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Who knows ? I doubt if a Dr could answer that. Thing is we all have a life to live, how much your intolerance to carbs affects your life is up to you.
    You are only just in the diabetic range, you probably won't need to give up too much. Your burger and chips for example, ditch the carby buns and have 2 burgers with some cheese , a little salad, maybe share a few chips with someone else
    ,
     
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  7. lessci

    lessci Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The difficulty can be that a cheat day, turns into a cheat weekend, turns into a cheat week, turns into a (insert profanity) it, and you're back at square one. I'm currently struggling with this having not just fallen off the low carb wagan, but set it alight and watched it burn, after having no contact and no HbAc1 for almost 2 years. I'm once again trying to climb back on and taking it 1 day at a time
     
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  8. JoKalsbeek

    JoKalsbeek I reversed my Type 2 · Expert

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    Okay, so here's the thing: If you go low carb, your body gets used to it. Your blood glucose normalises, possible damage that was slowly developing may start to heal. That's all really nice, I can tell you!

    And then there are cheat days. And there is no way to tell how you'll respond to those. There's a few things that can happen though.

    Carbs are addictive. They stimulate the pleasure center (no wonder you are mourning your favourite foods, right?), and like any addiction, for a lot of us, you can't just have a little. I know very well that after not having smoked for 16 years now, if I light one up, I'll be lighting one butt with another by the end of the day. Same with carbs. Put more carbs in, you'll likely crave more carbs. Pringles don't say "Once you pop, you can't stop" just for the heck of it. Who ever stopped at ONE Pringle? That's a risk right there. After a load of carbs you can possibly experience withdrawal symptoms all over again when you get back on the wagon the next day. Headaches, irritability, massive hunger and cravings that are just hell to deal with, putting you back to square one. And that's if you go right to cold turkey. Some can't and just have a little bit of carbs, and another bit, and another little, because how much can it hurt? Carb creep, it happens. Before you know it you're back to your old diet. That's risk number two. And neither of those might happen, for all we know.... You might spike a bit after a meal, and go for a walk to burn it right off, and not feel any ill effects. If I eat something carby I feel confused, my legs get rubbery and my heart starts racing: I don't handle steep rises well. Might not happen to you though. That's the thing. You won't know which of the above is true for you, until you live through it, and use your meter to see what happens.

    A lot of us relax our diet some around the holidays or a special event like a wedding. And a few months later a few members who've gone very quiet for bit around Christmas, come back in saying they fell off the wagon and need to get serious again. Carb creep. We know it exists, but sooner or later, quite a few of us will fall prey to it. Because you know what? We're human. And we do get to start over if we slide down a slippery slope. And T2 is an individual thing, how you handle it is completely up to you (It IS your body after all, you have to live in it), so yeah.... Pick a route that is workable for you. Because no diet is going to work if you feel like it is keeping you prisoner. Find things you love having on your plate, and you'll get through this. With or without cheat days. ;)

    Good luck eh!
    Jo
     
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  9. Riva_Roxaban

    Riva_Roxaban Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    A great analogy that, although it reminds me about governments posturing about carbon credits. :D
     
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  10. LaoDan

    LaoDan Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yep, imho, it okay

    A, if you’re flat out hungry because you’re cutting too hard, it’s okay to add a meal that fits your diet plan. This isn’t really called a cheat, I like to think of it as a re-feed,

    B, if you have some favorite meal you can’t live without, have it, however you can still try to do some substitutions. Like dropping the fries or buns from a burger. It’s pretty much just as satisfying.

    C. Yep, I eat the birthday cake. Unless you have 360 relatives with unique birthdays. For me it’s three times per year.
     
  11. MrsA2

    MrsA2 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    And remember, if you stick with low carb (lchf) your tastes will change. I no longer want the birthday cake, it's too sickly sweet. A year ago I was moaning that I missed it .
    Best not to think about the future, just do a day at a time and see where your body takes you
     
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  12. KennyA

    KennyA Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    My first cheat was a bit of Christmas pudding. It made me ill, couldn't handle all that sugar.

    Honest answer to your question is I don't know if you can. I can, sometimes, so far. About once a month I will have something, usually as a meal out, that isn't part of my everyday eating. So far I have been able to control that. I prefer eating out rather than buying in as there isn't a leftover issue, and I usually have alcohol at the same time. Because of the effect alcohol has on me (it lowers my BG dramatically) I don't spike, but I do come out of ketosis and spend 2-3 days getting back there, so those carbs do have an immediate impact.

    My advice would be that if you can avoid cheat creep, you would probably be OK. Sticking to once a month (as an example) should work. If you fool yourself you're sticking to your rules and you aren't, you're the one who will suffer the consequences so the decision has to be up to you.
     
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  13. alanboo

    alanboo Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Cheat meals are okay its on you to decide the frequency..like once in a months or once in 2 weeks is okay..but in case every week..i would say one should compensate by cutting out on carbs rest of day or by working out. Also keep an eye on sugars by either pricking or using CGM which will give you fair idea about your condition
     
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  14. Jak13

    Jak13 · Active Member

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  15. Jak13

    Jak13 · Active Member

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    This made a lot of sense to me, as do all of the replies really - I have just begun ‘low carbing’ but if I’m honest it’s very hard and I don’t like it one bit, but having also given up smoking I completely understand what you say about addictions, I had just not thought of carbs as something to be addicted to, I don’t know why (perhaps denial of addiction!) but thank you very much for the explanation!
     
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  16. SheilaCanning

    SheilaCanning Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I have been having "cheats" when I go on date night or relax at the end of the week but what I have found is they have got less and less cheaty! So, on a Friday night, I might have a few glasses of Cremant and some cheese and sliced meat or a steak and some veggies and it's all beautifully low carb. But maybe once every 6 weeks or so I will go nuts and have a pizza or Chinese takeaway and then my sugar levels rise for that evening but I get straight back on it the next day and it feels like it does no damage. But, the carbs DO create a carb craving and I am much more likely to think, hmm, maybe I'll have a bit of toast or whatever the next day. It's so hard!
     
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    #16 SheilaCanning, Oct 25, 2021 at 12:27 AM
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  17. Vidar

    Vidar · Well-Known Member

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    I'm a carb addict, I've fallen off the wagon more times than I can count. So no judgement here, but I can offer you a little advice.

    I loved Chinese food, Salt & Pepper chicken chunks covered in curry sauce on chips. I wanted my cheat day once a month, but that became once a week again. That became whenever the hell I wanted to, which was a lot. Again. The immediate effect could best be described as being kicked in the stomach by a horse. Then the upset stomach, blood in the toilet and very pungent body odour. Different to how I normally smell, not only stronger but strangely more sour and sweet smell. My fiancee says it smells like I'm very unwell. God knows what my blood sugars are when I'm off the wagon but I know my h1a1c have shot up!

    Will I slip up again, probably. Though I hope not, this stuff we love the taste of is slow acting, addictive poison. I mean just watch how vegetable oil is made, the stuff was considered hazardous waste until the American Crisco company packaged it up as something to cook with. I want to try and avoid that **** like the plague. Not to mention sugar etc.
     
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  18. Ronancastled

    Ronancastled Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Carb creep . . . the most foul, insidious, devious, contemptible, malicious threat of all.
    I've been guilty, perhaps once a week but I make sure I follow it by a long evening walk, dog enjoys my cheats
     
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