5 Simple Tips for Cheat Day
I’m coming into week 4 of slow carb eating, and I have to admit the cheat-day lead-up each week is quite an exciting time for me. Not only for the food, but also because it means the weekend is near, and all those great weekend activities are on their way again, with the welcome rest break from the working week.
Of course, packing lots of fun into a weekend can mean that ideas of a successful slow carb cheat day can actually be a bit more difficult to achieve than expected. Recently, I’ve found that a couple of my cheat days have coincided with catching up with friends, being away from home for long periods, which has meant a little more care has been needed, to actually make sure I get to eat all of the ‘bad’ food! I really believe in a successful cheat day, to make the rest of the week work it’s magic. Read on for these 5 simple tips to make sure you get the most out of your cheat day each week.
Remember to download the printable Cheat Sheet for Cheat Day Success.
Tip 1. Have a plan, but don’t overplan your food.
So many things work best with a plan. And yet so many fun things are fun because they are not planned. So that leaves us stuck – our fun cheat day needs to be a success, but planning it makes it feel a little less fun. Solution: don’t get too regimented about it all, but have some general goals. Examples: eat a whole personal pizza, indulge in 2x varieties of favourite candies, cook one meal with the ingredients in the ‘cheat cupboard’.
Tip 2. Keep an eye on the clock
In my last 2 cheat days, I’ve found it difficult to eat enough in the middle of the day. If you take a look at Tim Ferriss’ example in The Four Hour Body, you’ll note that he kicks off at lunchtime, and then has a fairly sustained effort over the afternoon and evening. I’ve found it harder to find the food during the day, and end up at dinnertime realizing that I’m hungry!
Tip 3. Don’t feel hungry.
This is a surefire sign that you’re not doing cheat day right. It’s ok to have cravings for foods, but that’s different to hunger. If you are genuinely hungry, at any point during cheat day (from lunchtime onwards), then you’re denying yourself something. Loosen up! Cheat day is where you need to go off the rails. As a reformed withholder of food pleasures, I realize now that there’s a great mental gain in just eating the whole damn Snickers bar, and on slow carb, your body needs this as it’s reset. A nibble on 90% dark chocolate maketh-not a cheat day!
Tip 4. Enjoy your day’s activities
The main thing is to not destroy your day by focussing too much on food. That’s the point of having your loose plan, and having an awareness of time. These two things mean your day shouldn’t get derailed due to food requirements. The rest of the week probably has some challenges in this regard, so cheat day is the day to be not thinking in minutes or cups of beans.
Tip 5. Cover your butt so you can relax
For anybody having trouble with the mental aspects of cheat day, I would guess it’s due to the gains made during the week, and the perception that cheat day will ruin any benefits of your hard work. This is especially true on your first cheat day. My advice here: Treat the first 2/3 weeks as an experiment. Have absolute belief that the regime will work, but your fallback is that if, for a universe-exploding, magnetic-poles reversing reason, you are the 1 person that the slow carb diet doesn’t work well for, that the likelihood is you won’t have gained weight over this time, and you’re are no further behind than where you started, but with useful interesting information. The reality is, however, that it does work, and that cheat day is just as vital to it’s success as those 24 meals of canned beans and chicken you ate all week long. The benefits are both mental and physical, and cheat day isn’t something we all do because of mental weakness.
Bonus Tip for the very concerned.
If you’re still having trouble with the whole concept, then consider a ‘protection plan’ or ‘insurance activity’ list. Basically, a list of notes to yourself, about how you can minimize any backwards-progress done by cheat day. This would include: PAGG, GLUT4 exercises (like air squats and wall presses), grapefruit juice, coffee, yerba mate, cinnamon, licorice tea (stimulates digestion), lemon water before meals, a workout in the afternoon if you’re keen. All of these help your body use more food for muscles, minimize any food storage as fat, and still allow you to be totally relaxed about what’s going in your mouth.
Have a read-through of the list again, the day before your next cheat day, and think about writing yourself a bit of a game-plan, so you don’t have to actively think about what you’re doing on the day. I find it really easy to refer back to instructions I created in the past, because its mindless – I’m just following along (executing vs planning for those business-types amongst us).
Hope this helps! And all the best with your slow carb four hour body. Leave a comment if you have some more tips for a successful cheat day!
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