Cheating on an LCHF diet
Low Carb Nugget 59
A little cheating may be helpful. True, you can’t cheat with a sweet or carby treat every day, even if you do it mindfully. You won’t get in or stay in ketosis that way. But a rare, planned indulgence is acceptable if it keeps you eating LCHF for the long-run.
“A Guide to Low-Carb & Keto Cheating.” Jenni Calihan. Diet Doctor. 2016. Last accessed: September 21, 2017.
Low Carb Nugget 59
“Why we cheat on an LCHF diet”
This is Episode 59 of the Low Carb Nugget for Thursday, September 21, 2017. I’m Jim Anderson.
It’s interesting that on the verge of going back to a very low-carb, ketogenic diet, I turn to the topic of cheating on a low-carb diet. Is my sub-conscious mind trying to tell me something? Well, maybe. I could say that I just happened across a good article on the topic, which is true, but that still raises the question of why I latched onto that particular article out of all the ones I encountered that were suitable to discuss on this podcast.
I’ll leave that question to the armchair psychologists in the audience. Let me turn to the article, which is entitled “A Guide to Low-Carb & Keto Cheating.” It was written by Jenni Calihan, and edited by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, who published it on his well-known LCHF web site, DietDoctor.com. I’ll put the link in the show notes at LifeAfterCarbs.com.
The guide is a longish piece in 5 parts. I recommend that you read it in full. I’m only going to cover the first part, about why we cheat — which is broken into bad and less bad reasons for cheating.
According to the Guide, the bad reasons for cheating are (1) wanting to be polite or to fit in; (2) impulsivity; and (3) bad planning.
I acknowledge those are bad reasons for going off your low-carb, high-fat diet. They’re bad because they are avoidable, and you don’t get much positive out of the cheating. Now, in terms of my own recent experience, I’d say the second and third bad reasons have contributed to my infrequent departures from LCHF.
We have a family cottage on a lake in northern Michigan. By family, I mean “extended family.” A few times this summer, while staying at the cottage, I grabbed some potato chips or pretzels or other carby snack food because the bag was there and it was open and easily available. That was impulsivity. It was also bad planning on because I hadn’t brought enough of my own low-carb snacks, such as nuts or pork rinds. When I did so, such cheating declined.
However, I think there was also another factor involved, a kind of deep emotional association with a certain place and certain foods. When I was a kid, my grandparents owned the cottage, and there were always carby goodies around — mostly cookies and jelly donuts from a local small-town bakery. Then, later, when I was a young adult, my partents owned the cottage, and there were always bags of chips around. Now, as an older adult and one of the cottage owners, I still associate the place with almost constant eating of the snacky sort. So, I need to go there fore-warned and prepared.
As for the Guide’s first bad reason of cheating, wanting to be polite or fit in, that doesn’t play a role in my life today. I’m just too old, I guess, and I’ve been eating LCHF for several years. My friends and relatives have adjusted to it.
The Guide’s “less bad” reasons for cheating are to help you stick with your LCHF diet long-term, and to take advantage of rare opportunities. These reasons represent a more controlled, planned, and deliberate kind of cheating. The goal is to lessen your sense of deprivation, and thus lessen the chance that you’ll drop your LCHF diet altogether.
Again, my experiences up north this summer are illustrative. I ate ice cream on a few occasions. Not much, and not often, but it was good ice cream, and I had planned in advance to indulge myself with it. I even discussed my plan to do so on this podcast. I really enjoyed eating the ice cream. I don’t regret that indulgence in the way that I regret thoughtlessly grabbing and scrafing some potato chips — often stale — just because they were there.
Obviously, you can’t eat a sweet or carby treat every day, even if you do it mindfully and with fore-thought. You won’t get in or stay in ketosis if you do that. But a rare, planned indulgence is acceptable if it keeps you eating LCHF for the long-run.
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