Cheating on low carb

Cheating on low carb?  That’s funny.  It’s better than cheating on your spouse.  Or cheating on a test.  But there are consequences.

For me, low carb is a choice.  I choose to eat low carb, because I want to lose a fair amount of weight.  And nothing else seems to work for me like eating low carb.  I feel good and I lose weight.

So when I am doing low carb, I make sure I don’t cheat.  Getting into the low carb zone can take a couple of weeks.  And cheating kicks you out of that zone.  It will slow down or even stop your weight loss.  And it can take another week or two to get that fat burning process blazing again.  So I don’t cheat when I am actively eating low carb for weight loss.

Now, it’s not the end of the world if you do cheat.  One of the things I remember that Dr. Barry Sears (of Zone Diet fame) said was “You are only one meal away from correcting your diet hormonally”).  Just get back on low carb with the next meal or as soon as possible.

But if you’re cheating everyday or every couple days, then that’s not a good low carb strategy.  Low carb weight loss works because of ketosis.  And cheating all the time will prevent you from going into ketosis.  And will prevent you from losing weight as quickly as you could.  So it’s an issue of priorities really.  How important is losing weight to you?  More important than the instant gratification of eating a candy bar?  To me, it’s just not worth cheating to slow down or stop my weight loss.

Listen, I think it’s completely understandable to be tempted to cheat for social reasons.  However, even in a restaurant setting, there are low carb options.  Like protein and salad.  Or in a bar, you can eat buffalo wings and hot sauce with celery and bleu cheese or ranch.  A glass of wine with protein and veggies is not going to end your low carb routine overnight.

You can actually learn a lot about yourself and the triggers for cheating.  If it  was hunger or a craving, that’s correctable.  Just make sure to have low carb snacks on hand.  Eat the snack FIRST, then you’ll probably notice the craving or hunger will go away.  Cheating averted.  Don’t make decisions when you’re hungry.  Eat a low carb meal or snack.  Then make a decision.

In the last 4 months, I have cheated 2x.  And I planned both of them.  One was a week at my birthday and another was 2 weeks at Thanksgiving.  I prefer to plan when I am going to go off my low carb diet.  But, I also plan when I am returning to low carb.  I am still down 50+ lbs over the last 4 months and that’s a huge success to me.

The solution to not  ‘cheating on low carb’ is just being well prepared.  Proper planning with low carb snacks (even low carb Atkins bars) can help.

However, for the record, once you are doing low carb for a couple of weeks and get the hang of it, then for me, the desire to cheat is just not there.  I don’t crave sweets on low carb and I just feel too good to want to cheat.  There are so many good low carb food choices that I’d rather eat and stay in the zone.

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