Your 24 Hour Checklist to Bounce Back After a "Cheat" Day
Updated: May 27
We've all done it. We've all been there. Maybe you strategically planned a "treat" meal but it turned into a full blown "cheat" evening. Maybe you polished off a large pizza, had one too many scoops of ice cream or ate a big ol' bowl of spaghetti. Whatever it is, you're likely not feeling too great the next day.
I've been there too, which is why I created my 24 hour checklist for how you can bounce back FASTER after a "cheat" meal! These are my tried and true strategies that I personally use as well if the occasion calls for it.
I cover these strategies in the video below, but if you're more of a visual person (like me!), scroll down for the full 24 hour checklist.
The First 12-16 Hours: FAST + EXERCISE (not what you think)
Assuming that your "cheat" meal was in the evening, the first 12-16 hours after a "cheat" meal your main goal will be to help stabilize your blood glucose levels. Unstable blood glucose levels will lead to further intense sugar cravings that will turn one "cheat" meal into full on binge activity. So nipping this in the bud by focusing on stabilizing your blood glucose levels is key.
One of the most effective tools for this is to utilize Intermittent Fasting and fast for 12-16 hours after your "cheat" meal. Intermittent Fasting helps to shift your body into fat burning mode and reduce the reliance on blood glucose, allowing it to naturally stabilize.
If you have been using Intermittent Fasting in the past, you may notice that you feel particularly hungry during your fasting period after a "cheat" meal. This is normal after a starch or sugar dense meal the night before. With high amounts of carbohydrates, your body will release higher levels of insulin. This high level of insulin will typically result in low blood glucose levels after the meal. It's this low blood glucose that is causing your body to feel extra hungry.
At this point, you have two options:
1. Break your fast earlier than usual.
2. Utilize Keto Coffee or Keto Matcha Latte/Tea.
It may be necessary to break your fast early due to the low blood sugar effect. At this point, skip to the next step without utilizing your typical fasting period.
Otherwise, you can ward off hunger and provide a sustainable source of fatty acids as fuel instead with Keto Coffee/matcha/tea. This is a key aspect in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle, especially for beginners to Intermittent Fasting. The smaller amount of fat provides energy and causes your body to secrete the appetite suppressant CCK (cholecystokinin) to aid your fasting period. The good news - this won't effect your blood glucose or insulin levels!
One HUGE side note: It's important to NOT use heavy exercise the day after a "cheat" meal. This is typically most of our gut reaction after indulging - to head out for a long run or an intense HIIT workout. But this can actually spur FURTHER sugar cravings. Because your body is likely already in a low blood sugar state and craving sugar as a result. Adding HIIT or running into the equation will double down on these cravings and make it near impossible to ignore. Instead, opt for light exercise such as walking, light cycling, light swimming or light weight strength training.
At 16 Hours: EAT THIS
At 16 hours post-"cheat" meal (or less if you find that you need to break your fast early), now it's time to eat a meal that will further emphasize blood glucose stabilization. These are meals that provide a good amount of protein and fat while minimizing insulin producing carbohydrates. I love using the Chia Brekky Bowls or any of the Egg Scrambles from the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle.
At 24 Hours: SLEEP
Poor sleep can lead to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol the next day. Higher amounts of cortisol have been linked to increased sugar cravings. But I don't think we need a study to tell us that. Think back to any time you've felt stressed and you can probably think about the associating chocolate or cookie cravings you had that day, too! With this in mind, improving your sleep quantity and quality the day after a "cheat" meal is essential to reset your body's internal system.
First, allow for plenty of time to sleep. Even if this means jumping into bed an hour or two earlier than you typically would.
Second, improve your sleep quality by boosting your natural melatonin (sleep hormone) production. You can do this by not using any melatonin disrupting electronics (phone, laptop, TV, etc.) at least 30 minutes before bed. I also highly recommend investing in a sleeping mask. I ordered one on Amazon for $9 and I LOVE it. This helps to block out any light that could lead to a decrease in melatonin production.
Starting Monday, March 23rd 2020, I'm starting a 7 Day Intermittent Fasting Detox... and you're invited!! The goal is to help bounce back fast after St. Patrick's Day, reduce sugar cravings and ramp up results for our wellness goals.
If you want to join and start feeling GOOD again, head over HERE for the deets on how to join in!
Autumn Elle Nutrition
DISCLAIMER: The author is not a doctor. The advice given in this article is from the author's own research and implementation and should not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor and nutritionist before making any changes to your lifestyle/diet.