The Hangover

My day off was incredible. Such wonderfully yummy food, I was in heaven! There is a couple things I thought I would share though:

I decided right at the end of my day to scarf some last minute sugar. I don’t recommend this, as though you may feel great going to bed, you might wake up in severe pain because of the amount of acid you intake at the last moment. It took about an hour at 4 am to settle my stomach pains down and fall back asleep. Also, because of that mistake in the night I had some serious issues eating anything that had any amount of acidity in it. Example: Tomato salsa. So, if you’re in need of a last minute sugar binge on your cheat day, be aware of some of the problems you might run into!

The only other issue I’ve had bouncing back from cheat day is my pure exhaustion running on for 2 days. There is more contributing to the exhaustion factor (which I’m going to post about next) but though I was yearning for healthy food again, I wasn’t able to enjoy it, eat enough, last 4 hours, or stay awake. Something about my cheat day affected the transition. I’m looking forward to trying another this weekend and working out some kinks.

If you have any stories or advice for cheat day that you’ve encountered or heard about, please twitter me! @katpenfold

Have a healthy week!

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17 Responses to The Hangover

  • So THAT’s what it was. My partner and I scarfed down some strawberries just before going to bed on cheat day… and I woke up at 3AM with acid reflux so bad I had to puke.

    Now I know better.

    • Kat says:

      Haha! Glad I could help! I was to the point I wondered if I should go to the hospital. Hope your next one is a great day!


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  • SteveK says:

    My wife and I ate at a huge buffet late at night our first cheat day (7:30-10PM). We had no desire for food at all the next morning, so we broke the cardinal rule of protein within 30 minutes of getting up. We had nothing but coffee (her) and tea (me) until 1PM, at which point resuming slow carb was easy and comfortable.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Steve thanks for sharing your experience – I have definitely felt what you’re describing.. though I haven’t had to wait until lunchtime to get eating. I think you guys did it perfectly – this is a great tip for anyone who is feeling a food hangover the next day.. try delaying until lunchtime, and then start again!
      Another tip is to try some hot water with lemon juice the next morning, which will mildly stimulate digestion, and might help you feel a little better.
      All the best,

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  • Colton says:

    This is very interesting. The first time I felt the cheat day “hangover” was after last cheat day, which was my fourth cheat day. I am wondering if it was just because my body finally realized i was in a routine and reacted to the difference, or possibly just because of the combination of food i ate?? Either way, what I found was that the next morning I was not hungry, but I forced myself to eat within a half hour. The effects finally left when I drank a large coffee, which seemed to instantly cure me. Next week, if the same feeling occurs, I will again try coffee, and let you know if it relieves me again.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Colton! Thanks for the comment mate, awesome to hear from you.

      Your feeling the cheat day more after a few weeks seems to be a common thing. I just read recently, that after the first month or so, there are some changes that go on that mean you’re body is really using all that protein you’re bringing in, and starts to require less carbohydrates. This probably makes the effect of the carbs more noticeable on those cheat days.

      That’s really interesting about the coffee. I wonder if it was a digestion thing.. maybe the food just taking it’s time, or maybe, a little like a marathon runner, you had effectively ‘carb loaded’, meaning your body decided it had enough food without eating. Either way, I think good job on getting back into the routine first thing that morning.

      The other suggestion/question I have is about water – how much do you manage to take in on a cheat day? Recently I heard about someone upping their water by 2-3 glasses on their cheat day, to try to avoid the hangover symptoms. I have to admit, I’m taking my cheat days a little easier recently, as that hangover effect is a little disruptive. Cheat days aren’t so critical so success with a muscle gaining phase, as they are with a weight loss phase anyway, so I’m not too concerned.

      All the best! Look forward to hearing more about how it’s going for you.


      • Hector says:

        I’m not noticing any “Hangover” effects after my cheat day. I’ve had 6 of them. I’d previously been doing the Carb. Addicts Diet (eat whatever you want in an hour and the rest of the time, nothing with more than 4 grams of carbs per serving; you can have more than one serving; lost a total of 82 lbs with that diet over quite a long time) so perhaps my body has just gotten used to cheating. I do drink plenty of water and aside from several beers on cheat day, I’m only averaging 2 real cheat meals and not much room for anything else after the 4HB breakfast. Looking forward to my next cheat day though, I think I’ll have a donut. Orale. Peace.

        • Luke says:

          Hey Hector thanks for your comment, it could be that your previous experience means you’re a little more suited to processing the different foods, and therefore don’t have that hangover effect. It also depends a little on the volume of food, and the kind. Most likely to produce these effects are sugary and white starchy foods.

          All the best!

  • Darren says:

    I’ve been following the slow carb plan from the four hour body for the past 4 weeks. My starting weight was about 77.8kg and 19.4% body fat (according to my hand held analyzer) I was seeing good progress at points and reached 75.7kg / 18.6% body fat at the end of last week. Cheat day was the usual crap food all day trying to cram in all the rubbish that I was not able to eat all week. I did not have a slow carb/high protein breakfast which I have since discovered perhaps I should be doing. I do drink plenty of water too. After my cheat day my weight has shot back up to 75.6kg/19.2% body fat. This is really disheartening as I’ve been working really hard and things are right up there were I began.

    I have breakfast around 7:30am which usually consists of 3 scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, beans (black or soya) & mixed veg
    My lunch is at around 12 noon which I usually chicken breast with lentils or beans and mixed veg.

    I’ll have maybe a hardboiled egg as a snack around 4 or 5pm but don’t eat tea until about 6 or 7pm. (by which time I’m usually starving) tea will be chicken breast with beans, lentils, mixed veg

    I also take “Weider fat metabilizers” every morning

    Workout are as follows:

    Mondays & Fridays – high rep Kettlebell swings & Myotatic crunches.

    Wednesday – Incline bench press, Rows & drag curls.

    I weight myself & measure body composition (with hand held analyzer) as soon as I get out of bed and empty my bladder.

    I’m sure I’m doing something wrong, maybe because I’m getting to the stage of hunger? Maybe cheat day wrong?

    Your advice will be greatly appreciated!


  • Kristin says:

    My husband and I just had our first cheat day yesterday! We took it kinda light – only 2 cheat meals – Dim Sum for lunch (nothing greasy) and pizza for dinner. Though, my husband opted to stop by 7 eleven and get some doritos and a HUGE slurpee that he had been dreaming off all week. I warned him that it could hurt but he was very excited to have cheat day after a week of eating cardboard :-) I only had two pieces of pizza last night for dinner as I was stuffed and I had a glass of milk with a twix for dessert but that was about the extent of my cheat. I slept like a baby but woke up this morning feeling fluish, bloated, sore – overall ugh. My husband, on the other hand, feels like death! He has been moaning and groaning since 2am and is curled up in a ball and can hardly move. Maybe he’ll think twice about a litre of slurpee next week!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Kristin, thanks for your comment!
      Slurpees are dangerous things! A lot of people have ‘hangover’ type of symptoms the day after a cheat day, and you can fine tune your foods, if you want, to eat what works best for you/doesn’t leave you feeling like death warmed up the next day.
      All the best,

  • Chris Frank says:

    My first few cheat days were “no crap-food was safe in sight” days, and the hangovers the next day were murder. Now, that I’m almost a year into slow-carb, I take it a lot easier, and plan things out a little better. I start off the day with a good breakfast, and add a little whole wheat toast with almond butter, and finish off with a glass of grapefruit juice and espresso.

    Then, I have one or two cheat meals, and polish the day off with dessert. Gone are the days of enraged binging, and it only takes me one day to return to my pre-cheat day weight.

    Something that helps me a lot is that I take my calcium supplements right before bed. The calcium carbonate helps keep my carb loading acid reflux at bay, and I wake up a lot better the day after. The hangover and lethargy are still there, but I won’t wake up at 4am wincing in pain. One of the reasons I’m delighted with my slow-carb diet is that I suffered from GERD for many, many years, and while on the slow-carb diet, it’s gone! I always thought it was from stress, or from eating spicy foods, but lo and behold, the carbs were responsible. Bad carbs, at least…

    • Luke says:

      Hey Chris,

      Very interesting, and thanks for sharing!! Many people with GERD are fed the ideas about spicy foods and stress, and though they can contribute, I think there’s more to it than that. Just that a complex answer doesn’t suit the TV commercials well. I’m really pleased to hear that you’re without those symptoms now.

      Your version of a cheat day sounds pretty ideal to me! These days I too find things are a little more planned and not so over the top. But I still have some brain-fog the next day. Just don’t ask me to do a crossword or anything more complex than 1+2!

      I think there’s a lot to learn from what you’ve shared, and I’m sure it’ll help people get their cheat days working well for them. Great tip on the calcium too.

      All the best,

  • Bob Blankshain says:

    I know I’m supposed to do a cheat day … but is it really necessary? Also, (this is a gross thing to talk about) what about bowel movements? With beans at every meal, it takes me a half hour to wipe my butt. drives me crazy!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Bob, Cheat day, or at least a cheat meal, is necessary – it helps keep fat loss going from week to week. If you skip a cheat day, the hormone leptin starts getting downregulated, and this slows down fat loss. Eating a cheat meal (at least) bumps leptin back up and keeps fat loss going the next week.
      As for the beans and bowel movements – some people react to the fiber content differently. You might like to try eating some more leafy green vegetables to help things along a bit.

      All the best, Luke

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