There’s a lot of discussion about this, and opinions are across the board.
In 2005, John Kiefer published a book called Carb Night Solution, which kind of went along with of Carb Backloading, something that is popular in the weightlifting circuits. The idea was to manipulate insulin and leptin levels, and take the calories you’re consuming straight to the muscle cells for rebuilding lean mass. The low carb community jumped on board, because.. who doesn’t want to eat like a gluttonous pig once a week and still lose weight? Sounded like a pretty good deal!
I can tell you that Michael tried this for a couple of months, and the results were disastrous. By loading your body with carbs and not burning it off by way of serious endurance training, you’re sending glycogen into the muscles that end up causing horrible cramping like you’ve never felt before. It can take upward of a week to get yourself back in ketosis and feeling normal again. Is it worth it? We just didn’t think so.
But you know what? Whether it’s intentional or not, you’re going to slip up, it will happen. We live in a world of convenience, and there’s temptation at every turn. It is important to NOT beat yourself up over it. You just need to get back on that horse and put it behind you. Tomorrow is a new day!
Personally speaking, the problem I see with cheat days, and cheating in general, is you are not committing to a lifestyle change. You’re basically on a diet, and rewarding yourself with food that that got you into that situation in the first place. I think of it as a drug addict in rehab – do they get cheat days? Of course not. Drugs are bad. Carbs are also bad. Why go back and tempt yourself after all the your hard work?
I also blame tracking macros for this mindset. People have this ‘if it fits into my macros, I’m going to eat it’ mentality. This isn’t Weight Watchers, when you find at the end of the day you have 4 points left over and you’re going to eat an Oreo cookie, and you feel justified because you’re staying within the boundaries of the diet. If that’s what you want to do, that’s entirely your choice, but call it what it is – you’re doing a diet, not a lifestyle change.
Keto, and the whole low-carb way of life is just that. We’re eliminating foods from our diet that are bad for us, are processed, and offer no nutritional value. Where people fail in this, is thinking that once they lose weight, they can go back to eating all the things they ate before. But you know what happens then? You gain all the weight back, and then some, because every time you gain and lose weight, you compromise your metabolic flexibility, and there will come a point in your life when it’s impossible to get it back off.
Ultimately, you are going to choose the WOE that suits your body and lifestyle best. It may be LC / LCHF / Keto / Paleo, and that’s okay. Our goal is to start you off on with all the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. Once you learn the fundamentals, the rest is up to you!