Tag Archives: health

Are Cheat Days Ok on A Diet?

When is Cheating OK?

You can find data to support “cheat days” and you can find data that tells you to avoid them. So to answer that question, I believe the answer is yes and no. How is that for clarification?

This is not a black and white discussion. The answer depends on many variables. These variables include your personality, type of diet, duration of the diet, and what you plan on eating on those “cheat days”. Let’s address each variable individually.

In my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I describe diets tailored to your likes and needs. If you choose the BEST diet for you, then I venture to say you won’t need a cheat day. But if you do decide to “cheat” read the information below and decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

What’s Your Diet Personality?

Personality type is important to identify. Do you have the personality type that feels deprived and cannot focus on the plan long term if you are not “allowed a cheat day”? Then I would say that a cheat day is allowed for you.

A cheat day or a cheat meal will not prevent you from reaching your goal. However, it will delay the result. If you are agreeable to a delayed result in order to stay the course, then I think a cheat day is alright.

If you know that you are an “all or none” person and that one cheat meal or cheat day will derail you then I would not recommend any cheat days for you!

What’s Your Diet Type?

The type of diet that you are going to cheat on should be taken into consideration before deciding whether or not a cheat going to sabotage your plan. Cheat days can have benefits in some type of diets.

Calorie Restricted Diets

For instance, on calorie restricted diets, leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells that inhibits hunger, can decrease on longer term lower calorie diets.  Thus  a cheat day on a longer term calorie restricted diet, can stabilize these levels and decrease the risk of runaway hunger.

Additionally, on longer term low calorie diets the thyroid can be affected resulting in a sluggish metabolism, and that is not what you want during a weight loss plan.

However, on some diets, cheat days will negate the work that you have done. Specifically, on a ketogenic diet, a cheat meal with significant carbohydrates will result in loss of ketosis. This means that body fat is no longer being utilized for energy and the body is using the carbohydrates. Ketones are a byproduct of fat metabolism, and in the absence of fat metabolism, ketones are not usually present in the body.

Ketogenic Diets

If you are on a ketogenic diet, a cheat day or meal with significantly higher amounts of carbohydrates you will result in the loss of ketosis. Your body will begin using carbohydrates for energy. Thus you will no longer be using fat energy for metabolism. This switch back to carbohydrate metabolism will stall your fat loss.

My experience with diets that induce ketosis is that returning to ketosis after a cheat day or meal takes less time than converting to ketosis at the beginning of the diet. When one starts a ketogenic diet after being on a typical SAD diet (Standard American Diet that is rich in red meat, processed foods, and salt) it can take 2 days to a week to induce ketosis as the carbohydrate stores are utilized for energy. The variability occurs due to activity level, life style, and your historical carbohydrate intake.

If you have been on a keto diet and have been in ketosis for some time, then a cheat meal will affect you for at minimum 12-16 hours as your body processes the carbohydrates, but it can be up to 1-3 days depending on your activity level and what you ate.

I don’t recommend cheating on ketogenic diets, because the purpose of the diet is to utilize fat for energy and by introducing carbohydrates again then you are defeating the purpose of the diet. Some ketogenic diets utilize alternating timeframes of higher carbohydrate meals or days with lower carbohydrate meals or days, and these are very sustainable plans.

Is this a New Diet?

How long you have been on the diet is also to be considered. There are studies that show that cheat days for those addressing obesity with slower weight loss, enhance motivation and may help dieters stay the course for the final result! So in this case an occasional cheat day or meal is not likely to derail the plan significantly.

What are You Cheating With?

What you “cheat” with can impact the results on our diet. For example, if you are cheating with a larger portion of steak on a ketogenic diet, and an additional serving of vegetables, the damage is going to be minimal! On a calorie restricted diet, indulging in larger portions will affect your calorie intake that day but may not have an overall impact on your end result. Another example is if you are on a diabetic diet and you cheat with sweets, then your blood sugar will be adversely affected which results in uncontrolled blood sugar levels, perhaps resulting in increased medicine!

To Cheat or Not To Cheat…

So the answer to the original question, “Are cheat days ok on a diet? The eating plan that you choose to be on should be sustainable to the point of you not WANTING to have a cheat meal! I believe the answer is that balance is the key to sustainable and successful eating plans.

If you have made diet changes to lose weight, the data shows that biologically cheating might not make a difference in the long run. If you are losing fat, and have a cheat day, the fat loss may stall, and you may gain weight, but it is water weight. Weight may increase as water retention occurs with increased carbohydrate intake.  Carbohydrates attract and hold onto more water than proteins. For every gram of carbohydrate the body stores 3 grams of water.

My Ebook discusses many eating plans and direction on how to choose one based on your individual goals, personality and needs. My approach to eating plans involves choosing the one that suites you the best! The BEST diet is the one that you will follow, and if this includes needing to have a cheat day or cheat meal, then certain diets should be avoided.

I have developed decision trees to help you identify what type of eating plan would work best and be most sustainable to you.

You can order your copy of my book to discover your best plan using my decision trees. Click on my book below.

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I am DONE! Now WHAT?! How Do I Maintain my Weight Loss?

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Reaching a goal is invigorating and exciting, but the burning question is how do I maintain it? In my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I not only show you how to reach your goal, I also show you how to maintain it.

If you have reached your goal, whether it was a weight goal, medication reduction goal, improved blood sugar goal, or fitness level goal and you are done, Congratulations! BUT NOW WHAT!?

The answer is as simple and as difficult as the moment by moment decisions that helped you to attain your goal!

You will need to be accountable for the rest of your life. If you let up, the old habits may return . Accountability and planning will ensure that you do not fall back into your old habits.

Here are some strategies that I have seen work for myself and for my clients.

In keeping with my Ebook theme, the BEST activities to maintain your goal are the ones the you will DO! It is paramount that you find the activities that will keep you focused.

If you had a weight loss goal, then weighing yourself DAILY is the way to keep your weight where you want it. There are differing thoughts on this, the ones who say that you should not obsess over the scale and the ones, like me, who say that is the ONLY way. It is easier to manage a 1-2 pound weight fluctuation than a 5-10 pound fluctuation if you weigh every 2 weeks or less often!

Log your Food

Food log journaling is another important habit to maintain.  Hopefully you used a food log to manage your calorie intake or macro’s and this accountability tool should be maintained! For me, when I know I must add the food I am less apt to eat mindlessly!

Plan

Planning your meals will still be an important part of your week. Continue to monitor serving size if this was a part of your initial plan, For example, if you know that you have a big dinner planned, then you will be able to adjust the day of and the day after so that you are able to maintain good control of your calories.

I love living this way because I find when I feel deprived, I obsess and then overindulge and then feel like giving up! Like I used to tell my kids, “You are the boss of you!”, so plan, plan, and plan some more and stick to you plan.

Monitor

Monitoring your labs is also a good way to stay on track. The frequency will depend on how often your primary care provider would like it,  how often your insurance will pay for it, or as often as you want! You can monitor your lab without a doctors order at my Ulta Lab NurseChrisP site. This might be useful for you to keep up with between the visits to see your primary care provider.

Stay Active

Stay Active! I hope you’ve found the activities that you love and that they have become a part of your day that you look forward to!

active-bikes-cyclist-264073

Vigilance is going to be a skill that will be honed for the rest of your life. Identifying your weaknesses and acknowledging them is essential to maintaining your goal.

I live by few mottos and one of them is “This is your only life!” and if you find that what you are doing is resulting in stress and anxiety, don’t do it! The key is balance. Be present, moment by moment, stay focused on what is important to you and make choices that reflect your priorities!

So congratulation on achieving your goal! I am thrilled that you are experiencing your second chance at health, and  have learned to love active living and clean eating!

In my Ebook, you will find other helpful monitoring tools and advice on how to sustain theese amazing results!

In my ebook, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I can help guide you to the eating plans, and movement plans that will benefit you.

Order Book Now

Please go to nursechrisp.com to order my book now!

Please like, comment and share with anyone that you think would benefit from this information!

Lab Test Monitoring for Health

Recommended Timing for Lab Monitoring

Lab work/blood work monitoring might seem excessive when losing weight, but IF you are one of those people who want to see results, monitoring might be for you.

Typically for a well person, annual lab monitoring is adequate. However, once obesity related diseases show up, it’s time to monitor more frequently.

If you are on medication for diabetes, cholesterol or high blood pressure, and it’s a new diagnosis, it’s likely that your medical provider wants to check frequently. The labs my be every 3 months initially, then every 6 months, then annually. This is absolutely appropriate timing.

I have found that my patients who want to lose weight are interested to see if the diet is “working”. This usually means that they want to know “Is my cholesterol coming down?”, “Is my fasting blood sugar any better?”

You can now purchase lab tests on line without an order for a reasonable cost by a well known lab. You can then take these results to your own medical provider for discussion.

Easy Lab Testing

I have a site at Ulta Labs Nursechrisp where you can purchase labs without an order. Just make sure to take them to your doctor for interpretation.

If you opt to ask your primary care provider to order them more frequently, some insurance companies have a limit on how many times they will pay for testing, self pay may be an optioneven through your doctor.

In my Ebook, I recommend obtaining a baseline lab result test, and then at a maximum every 3 months to monitor your progress. I work with many engineers, and data is what drives them!

I have a form in myEbook that you can complete and take to your primary care provider to discuss your plan!

Happy Data Collecting!

In my ebook, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I can help guide you to the eating plans, and movement plans that will benefit you.

Order now!

Please go to my website nursechrisp to my book now! Or buy it now!

Please like, comment and share with anyone that you think would benefit from this information!

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