These 7 smart tips “How To Cheat On Low-Carb” will change everything – and help you stay on track!

Because you need to learn how to eat smarter, snack smarter and stay on track (even with a cheat meal)

man eating a doughnut with jam dripping out the side
How to cheat AND stay low-carb

Can you really cheat on low-carb AND stay on track? Read my 7 Proven Tips

What is cheating?

Firstly don’t regard it as cheating, it’s simply going off-track, a treat, a splurge.

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Call it what you will.

We must stop associating splurges with guilt, or be being naughty. A bad relationship with food and emotional eating has led many of us to become overweight in the first place.

If you go off-track, just enjoy it and get right back on track with the very next meal. 

7 Proven Tips To Limit The Splurge/Cheat/Treat

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  1. Crowd out the junk – by eating a large low-carb filling meal you can crowd out how much you can splurge. You may find it helpful to eat a small snack before you head out so you are tempted less by high-carb foods.
  2. Choose your cheat – if you are heading out to enjoy a meal or a party and plan to splurge, then plan ahead and choose what to splurge on and by how much. Will it be a dessert? Extra wine? A cocktail? Dark chocolate? A curry with naan or rice? Latte or a truffle? Ensure it is only one of these not all of them. Having a plan to stick to will allow you to limit the splurge and not feel deprived when out with friends when eating fast food.
  3. Limit the cheat – don’t go and buy a large value pack box of chocolates. Buy a single serving so you can’t overindulge. If you end up ordering a cake at the end of a meal, share it, eat only until you are satisfied. You often enjoy only the first two bites, but continue anyway. Why not set yourself two bites, then stop. Could you order a children’s size? Many cafes now have bite-size portions available or mini cupcakes. Take one or two squares of dark chocolate with you to enjoy a coffee instead of a cake.
  4. Choose smarter – can you choose a small dark chocolate truffle instead of chocolate gateaux with caramel sauce? Would you rather enjoy 2 glasses of red wine instead of a sweet cocktail? Enjoy a cheese board but ask for no crackers. Enjoy a few dark chocolate covered almonds. A creamy coffee after a meal is incredibly filling and rewarding and may be all that you need.
  5. Make your own – spend some time making your own favourite low-carb treat. It could be a dessert, some bread or a cupcake. At least you know exactly what went into it and it wasn’t a quick fix to be relied on (as so much junk food is).
  6. Wait 20 minutes – before having any more of your cheat food/drink. Remember that high-carb food won’t make you feel full, and may stimulate more hunger.
  7. Be mindful – if you are about to splurge, really enjoy it, make the most of it with all of your senses. Don’t eat in the car or whilst walking. Sit down, savour each mouthful, take a bath, make an occasion of it.

So You Had A Cheat Meal/Day – What now?

A man eating a doughnut with jam dripping down his tie
Learn how to cheat (and stay on track)

So you’ve had your splurge, how did it make you feel? Was it worth it? If yes, then relax and enjoy it. If not, then try to remember this next time you feel like going off-track.

Some people say having a splurge every now and then actually helps keep them on track, because it reminds them just how awful they feel the next day, and cheating on low-carb simply isn’t worth it.

Have you considered intermittent fasting? This isn’t a fix and it isn’t to rely upon a regular basis, but it might be just what you need to get back on track.

How to stop the cheat meals?

wooden blocks with letters saying "learn"

Remind yourself why you went low carb.

Really think about how you feel after a splurge – do you feel bloated, uncomfortable, nauseous?

Remember how wonderful you feel after a magnificent low carb or keto meal instead. Light and uplifted.

Imagine yourself after 6 months of LCHF. Visualising the changes you will see could be just the willpower you need to say no.

Ask yourself “Do I really want that cake or size __ clothes?”

Graphic showing food is for fuel not therapy

Ultimately, you have to discover what will work for you to remain low carb for life. This is not a short-term diet but a low-carb lifestyle forever.

If you need an occasional splurge, then just do it smarter. Don’t rely on it constantly because part of the ethos of going low carb is to give up the sweet tastes, the sugar, the grains and the processed oils. If you regularly indulge, you will not see results.

And if you need support and help to stay low-carb, come and join my FREE Support Group – I’ll see you there.

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  1. Bang on the reminder “why you started a low carb diet “? Every time I am tempted (and sometimes indulging in splurge), I ask myself this question. I am on a LCHF diet for last 5 months and have lost 8.9kg weight along with huge inches lost around waist and belly (never imagined this coming; so didn’t measure). I am also successful in clubbing this with intermittent fasting and the results are amazing for me. I developed a much healthier relationship with food and have better control over my body- it’s on a reverse from nearing a Type2 diabetic situation- this choice has saved me.

    1. I completely agree. Knowing your “why” is the motivator we need, and the motivator that will allow us to live LCHF for life. My “why” is my history with massive weight gain, family health problems that I am trying to avoid – primarily dementia and heart disease. I also want to live to see my grandchildren and have an active healthy life, in addition to a long life. That stops me from reaching for the ice cream and cake every single time. Well done Moumits for your amazing success. I hear this time and time again, people start LCHF for the health benefits, and the weight loss is an amazing side effect – especially the loss from the waist, the dangerous visceral fat – gone! Well done 🙂

  2. I try to avoid going off because one ‘splurge’ leads to days, weeks or months when I am eating carbs again, and my health can’t stand that. It’s best just to make the foods you can have into favorite foods.

  3. Mary Beth Foster says:

    Don’t lament on what you can’t have, but what you can have.

  4. Rachel Wastney says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve only been on this journey for four weeks, but so far so good, but then I haven’t really been tested/tempted. I’ve avoided going out for morning tea with my work mates as my temptation is iced chocolate drinks. I can give up everything else. After I have become more settled I think I will be ok with going out every second week for an iced chocolate. I will just make sure I have it as a take-away so I can eat the right food to balance it out.