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Can You Cheat on Keto?

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NO! The answer is no!

Hi friends! I’ve been posting a ton of recipes lately but today I want to get real with y’all!

There is one phrase that I see over and over again in the keto community that has got tah go!




So many times I’ll see people lamenting that they cheated over the weekend, indulged in a cheat meal, let one cheat turn into five cheats, etc., etc. Honestly, I’ve probably said it before myself without really thinking.

But y’all, I’m here to tell you there is no such thing as cheating on keto!!!

W H Y  Y O U  C A N ‘ T  C H E A T  O N  K E T O 

Keto is a L I F E S T Y L E, not a diet. If you’re looking for a quick fix to lose 10 pounds, keto isn’t for you. Think about it, anyone is going to lose weight when they cut carbs and sugar out of their diet but as soon as they start eating them again, they’ll gain the weight back (and maybe a little extra). The ketogenic diet is meant to be a way of life.  I’ve said this many times in other posts but it is SO true. I really can’t emphasize that enough.

If you tell yourself that you will never eat a bite of pasta again, you’ll skip the cake at your wedding, bring your own meals to Grandma’s every Thanksgiving, you’re not going to succeed because you’re setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.

If keto is a L I F E S T Y L E, then we must allow ourselves to live our LIFE occasionally. Or, at the very least, not beat ourselves up when we do.

C H O I C E S  VS  R E S T R I C T I O N 

My children are 6 and 2. My 6 year old is very perceptive. She watches my every move and because of that, I am very aware of how I speak about food and dieting. She is learning from me and I want her to adopt my good habits instead of body image issues and an unhealthy relationship with food. If I pretend to take a bite of her chocolate chip cookie, her automatic response is “Mommy! You can’t  have that!”. I quickly shut that down and tell her “no, Mommy can have it but I CHOOSE not to”.

That might seem trivial but it is the essence of the ketogenic lifestyle. Choices over restrictions. 

Let me make it clear that I don’t propose you designate a free for all day every weekend or even once a month. What I AM saying is that when special occasions arise, you are NOT cheating if you allow yourself to partake in non-keto foods. You are making a conscious choice! There are not keto police out there watching every move you make (maybe on Instagram but not real life).

What I AM saying, is that keto is about making healthy choices 99% of the time and allowing the other 1% of the time to be reserved for special days. For example, at Thanksgiving, I WILL eat my Gran’s cornbread dressing because it’s the ONLY time of the year I eat it and those memories with her are more important to me than .6 oz on the scale.

And that 1% of the time when you let loose, don’t feel guilty afterwards! Fat isn’t made overnight and you won’t undo all your progress if you intentionally (or unintentionally) eat a non-keto food. There is no reason to ridicule yourself. When you work hard to get healthy, lose weight, and take care of yourself, it’s perfectly fine to enjoy life a few times a year!

M O V I N G  F O R W A R D 

Living a healthy lifestyle is about learning how to make wise choices in every day life. When you’re at a cookout, a birthday party, the movies, etc., the same principals apply no matter if you choose the Paleo, Gluten Free, Weight Watchers, or Keto lifestyle.

It is naive to believe that we will NEVER do something again for the rest of our lives. To be successful in our endeavors, we must anticipate and prepare for these special occasions. Plan ahead or plan to fail!

At some point, anyone on a weight-loss journey is going to stop losing weight. We will each get to a point that our body says “OK, we’re happy with this weight” and you’ll get into what’s referred to as “maintenance mode”. Once you’re at that point, you’ll have to adjust your meals yet again because you’re no longer trying to lose weight.

While we might be very strict on the things we eat while we’re trying to lose weight, the day WILL come that we have met all of our goals. If you’ve made more wise choices than not throughout your weight-loss journey, maintenance mode will be a walk in the park! But, if you kept yourself in a tiny box and you have newfound “freedom”, you might find it too easy to binge and derail your success.

Ultimately, life long weight-loss success boils down to how we view food. If we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves, we will fail in the long run. But, if we remind ourselves that we’re looking for progress not perfection, we’ll be setting ourselves up for a lifetime of health and wellness!

I’m always happy to help my readers in any way I can! If you need advice, have questions, or need encouragement, shoot me a message! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll point you in the direction of someone who does.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@keto_in_pearls) and Facebook (Keto In Pearls) for more motivation and keto living tips!

As always…