LCC is Right- and also Not Correct- about Low-Carb Cheat Days


Low-Carb-Confidential posted a very moving quote (from himself? A famous author? I don’t know) that spoke a lot of wisdom in regard to relationships. I have been pondering it, with gratitude.

As to the eating of high-carb foods and the theory that it’s OK to splurge and then come back to low-carb, I both agree and disagree. I agree that a religious OCD mentality about dieting is not only unhealthy but also impossible to maintain long term. It can alienate those who feel insecure about their own eating habits, and confound those who eat normal diets, complete with all types of carbohydrates, who maintain their weight.

Where I disagree with ‘a little won’t hurt’, is where some addiction theory begins. As I have referenced in my previous posts, there is increasing science to support the idea that certain foods trigger unnatural eating behavior in some people. (Watch Super Size Me for another supporting theory). There are certain foods that have been especially crafted to cause us to crave them. Others just do so not so much by clever conspiracy, but rather chemical makeup.

For those of us who are unaware, or prone to addictive tendencies, food is a powerful force that goes beyond simple enjoyable nutrition, but becomes a genuine addiction, but it is rarely acknowledged as such. Changing one’s diet and exercise regimen  might be the catalyst for weight loss, but if it is so easy, why does America alone spend over 33 billion dollars a year on weight loss products and services? (MSN.com)

The answer is simple. Many of us simply need to cut down on portions. Many more simply need to make a few small changes to the daily routine, and add a little regular exercise. Then there are those of us with a unhealthy relationship with food. Some might call it gluttony, idolatry, addiction, or abuse. It is when we have let our appetite for the feelings that certain foods or eating patterns bring us control our behavior. It is no more amusing, nor less dangerous, than an alcoholic’s dilemma. We already are aware of what America’s increasing love affair with food is doing to our health- both emotionally and physically.

Just as the recovered alcoholic need not usually be too careful with the dash of cooking wine in food, or the accidental ingestion of alcohol- if that could ever really happen- the sugar addict need not worry much about the hidden sugar they accidentally ingested in some food they thought sugar-free, or the one bite of cracker. But to boldly walk into the proverbial lion’s den and purposely choose those old favorite treats to eat with abandon might be for many, akin to the recovered alcoholic going to the bar for ‘just one margarita” . Some people can, perhaps go back to a life of moderation, still enjoying treats as exactly that- treats. But there may be some of us who can never ‘go back’. So, as I contemplate my birthday, I anticipate one of the following possibilities. First, I will eat what I want, not gain weight for a one-day splurge, and feel confident. I will continue to want the pizza and chocolate, and my healthy fear will be diminished. Perhaps the next splurge will be that much easier…and I begin the slide down the slippery slope. The next possibility is that I enjoy my birthday treat, laugh, love, and be merry, and go right back to low-carb the next day, none the worse for wear.

I know myself. And instead of dinking around and playing with the fat-burning furnace I worked so hard to create, I’ve decided to keep the splurge to a modest enjoyment- I will eat a few of my favorite things, but I will not focus on food for my birthday, as if it is a reward for ‘good behavior’. I am living the reward, and the nay-sayers, like some of my family, be damned. I mean that with love, of course.

7 thoughts on “LCC is Right- and also Not Correct- about Low-Carb Cheat Days

  1. I only *wish* I could write as eloquently as Anne Morrow Lindbergh – that’s who the quote is by. As to this, well, I see your perspective more clear from my 26th continuous day in ketogenic induction. I have more to say on this, most assuredly.

  2. I’m trying to figure out my own stance on cheat days at the moment. Should I allow once a month? I’m not sure yet, but am hoping to be able to go right back to low carb after a bit of indulgence. I like your idea of not making your cheat day all about food. That would be my temptation as well.

    • I realized, as fun as it all sounded, that my “High Carb Birthday Plans” were really not based in a good place. I mean, Yes- I miss cake. I would enjoy a piece of really good, well-made cake. It has to be my favorite, though. I actually have a few favorites. But to base my whole day on eating whatever I want- all day long- might be a bit much. I imagine some stomach pains and regret. I think I fear even more that I will feel absolutely great about the whole thing, and eager to keep going with it. I mean, I am not at a point of straining at the chains- rather, I’ve settled into a comfortable eating pattern. I do need to add variety, but it’s as close as Atkins.com, or any of a number of low-carb recipe web-sites, or my own imagination. That’s the fun part, actually. I just hope that if I do decide to have a big chunk of cake, that it’s worth it. There is an authentic cheesecake at Papa Hayden’s, and maybe Momma Noni’s has a delicious Spumoni cake/ice cream. Maybe a bit of chocolate mousse or creme brulee. But that can be enough. It doesn’t have to be carbs from sunrise to sunset. What about fun without food? A new pair of boots sounds nice. Maybe a pedicure. I like the sound of trying something new. My birthday is usually cold and rainy, but some sort of adventure would be nice for a change.

      • I typed out this long reply, and then ‘poof’ it vanished. The gist was that I totally agree with splurging only if it is truly worth it – if it’s something that you are missing and if it’s a favorite. I love the idea, though, of treating yourself with experiences rather than sweets. I’m reading The 4-hour Body right now, and interested in finding out his rationale behind a weekly cheat day. But, I think that would be too much for me. But, am I really doing worse off to do a monthly one? We’ll see. I’m writing up my Thanksgiving menu and there’s not too much on there that is carb-heavy since I’m gluten free. It could be the case that once Thanksgiving rolls around I’m dying to have something sweet. So, I think I’ll try and save up my cravings then choose 1 or 2 to have on a cheat day. I’m interested to see how your birthday goes!

      • I hate it when that happens!! Also, it never works too well on my i-phone to respond or reply. ,I get weird results. Sometimes, I find the reply hanging out in the drafts folder when I thought it was gone.

      • I hate it when that happens!! Also, it never works too well on my i-phone to respond or reply. ,I get weird results. Sometimes, I find the reply hanging out in the drafts folder when I thought it was gone. Thanksgiving – oh, my. I found out that Stevia or Splenda sweetened pumpkin pie is a compromise I can live with. I enjoyed the one I made with a pecan crust. On the other hand, my mother-in-law is going to be making an amazing sweet potato casserole, and that might be my splurge. I really love cranberry sauce, too. Those can be my splurges and I will skip rolls and regular potatoes- not my favorites anyway. Thank you SO much for your reply. I went to check out your blog but found only ESL educational tutorials, nothing on low carb. Where whould I look?

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