When my wife and I started doing the Keto diet, we decided to have one cheat meal per week. We felt that eating the unfamiliar diet of fat and protein would be totally doable as long as we could eat some bread and pasta just once a week. What harm could that do? After tracking my weight daily over the next few months I could see how drastically those meals were throwing me out of my weight loss trajectory.
With regular dieting, it's a calories number game. In that situation, one meal of 500 extra calories isn't that big of a deal, but with the Keto diet the point is to force your body to metabolize food in a whole new way. Getting your body into Ketosis (the state in which your body uses ketones as energy instead of sugars) takes 4 weeks of perfect eating. I've found that one serving of simple carbohydrates will immediately cause your body to retain 8 lbs of water weight, instantly reset your body back to sugar burning mode, and 4 weeks worth of effort is lost.
The Theory Confirmed Again
Five months ago I started to feel different. My mind was buzzing and sharp. Sometimes when sitting still for too long I would feel the sensation that I was floating. That week I lost 8 lbs. of fat (not water weight) and it showed. I thought, "This must be Ketosis". It was that week that I hit 40lbs total weight loss. I was pretty happy.
Then a friend of mine (we'll call him Joel, cause that's his name) came into town and we went out to eat. I ordered fish and chips in celebration of my awesome week. A cheat meal. The next morning I bloated up with 8 lbs of water (205 lbs). I suspected that would happen. Over the next few weeks was Thanksgiving dinner, then Christmas parties. After the new years I decided that I aught to take a break of from full keto. I still ate pretty good, not too much bread and sweets, just tried to enjoy myself a little and coast. It was nice. As expected, I stayed exactly at that bloated weight (205 lbs) through the whole time. I honestly could have kept at that diet forever (which is exactly what I plan to do eventually) but I still had 20 lbs to lose before I reached my goal weight of 185 lbs.
4 weeks ago I started full, no-cheating-ever Keto. The first week I de-bloated fast. I was down to 197. Then over the next 3 weeks I was stuck at 195. Then 3 days ago I started dropping fast. 3 lbs in 3 days. This morning I'm at 191.8 and I'm feeling that ketosis buzz again.
According to my four week cycle theory, If I have 1 cookie or one bowl of ice cream right now, I will end my ketosis and start the 4 week process over again. I think I'd rather just wait a few weeks and finish this.