What Happens When You Cheat on Keto & Fall Off the Wagon?

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What Happens When You Have a Keto Cheat Day?

We’ve all been there.

It happens to all of us sooner or later.

Some days you just fall off the keto wagon.

Some days you fall off the keto wagon, and then it backs up and runs over you.

And then there are some days when you leave the keto wagon on purpose, gracefully swan diving into a ginormous pile of non-keto-friendly mini Reese’s cups.

Or maybe that last one is just me…

Anyway, the important thing isn’t so much that you’ve left the wagon, but how soon you’re going to climb back on.

This thing we’re trying to do here is hard.

It’s hard to change your mindset about food.

It’s hard to be disciplined when you’re tired and hungry.

And it’s really hard to not follow the crowd and eat all the things.

In a perfect world it would be easy.

And everyone would be skinny.

And there would no longer be mini Reese’s cups. Because they are evil…

Cheating on Keto and Falling off the Wagon

What to Expect After Your Keto Cheat Day

Here’s what happens when you fall off the keto wagon.


The first thing, obviously, is that you knock yourself out of ketosis.

So that means you’re not burning any fat at the moment. Your body has returned to the path of least resistance, which is to burn carbs.

The good news is that you can get yourself back into ketosis and burning fat in short order.

How short that order is depends on a couple of things:

  1. What kinds of non-keto-friendly stuff you ate,
  2. How much of the non-keto-friendly stuff you ate,
  3. Did you exercise after you ate it, and
  4. Your very own personal physiology.

Let’s take a look at number 1.

While carbs are carbs, if the carbs are natural stuff like potatoes and apples, that’s still going to give your body some nutrition.

If the carbs happened to be, say, a box of krispy cream donuts, you’re looking at a longer recovery time.

Of course how much of it you ate also has a lot to do with it as well.

The fewer carbs you ate the faster they will burn off and you can get back to burning fat.

Number 3 determines how much of the carbs you already burned off and didn’t actually get shunted into fat storage.

Of course, if you exercise regularly, your body is much more efficient at burning those pesky carbs in the first place.

What I mean by number 4 is that some people can run amuck with carbs and be back in ketosis the very next day.

And some of us require a few days for our bodies to start producing ketones again.

The point is, though, that a day or two not in ketosis isn’t going to set you back months on your keto journey.


Carb Addiction

Another thing that tends to happen when you have a keto cheat day is it wakes up those addiction demons.

Carbohydrate addiction is a very real thing.

And it’s something that junk food manufacturers actually count on to keep you coming back for more.

If you’ve been off of refined sugar and other carbs for a while, it’s very possible that you are simply not craving them anymore.

But once you eat some of that stuff, all those cravings come back with a vengeance!

And then you have to go through all that not giving into the cravings stuff again until the cravings disappear.

Which, let’s face it, totally sucks!

sick teddy and friend

Keto Flu

And the worst thing, at least in my book, is that if you indulge for more than a day or so you might end up having to go through some of the “keto flu” symptoms again. 

At least to some degree.

If you want to learn more about the symptoms of the keto flu and what you can do about it, you can read all about it here.

And while it’s good that your body can detox after a binge, it’s still very not fun when you’re going through that stuff again.

But here’s the deal:

Stop beating yourself up.

It’s not the end.

You’re not a failure.

It’s just a minor set back.

A bump in the road if you will.

I remember hearing someone say once, “Some days you win, and some days you learn.”

Not a bad motto to live by, I think.

So use the experience as a learning time.


What can You Learn from Your Keto Cheat Day?

Think about some things.

What kind of mood were you in?

Were you angry?



Watching a chick flick?

How was your stress level?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being, “the sun is shining, the birdies are chirping, and all is right with the world”, and 10 being, “ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, I NEED TO BREAK SOMETHING”.

Were you unprepared at meal time, or was there a sudden change of plans?

If you were unprepared, I encourage you to check out the 7 Day Easy Eating Keto Menu Plan. It’s 7 days worth of crazy easy meals and snacks and it includes a shopping list!

Changes in dinner plans happen to everyone.

And all you can do is the best you can do.

Was there someone in particular you were with that made it easier to cheat indulge?


Toxic relationships?

Extended family? 🙂

We often give ourselves permission to indulge when we’ve been around folks we have baggage with.

Because, we deserve it after dealing with them. Amiright?

If you think of it in terms of allowing them the power to sabotage your weight loss, you’ll find this becomes less of an issue.

Just think about those kinds of things.

Keep track of those kinds of things.

Figure out what your triggers are.

Then the next time you are in one of those situations, you will recognize it and you’ll be more likely to make intentional choices rather than engaging in mindless munching.

And you won’t give in to a keto cheat day.

But for now, pick yourself up.

Brush yourself off.

And git yur hiney back on that wagon!

Peace, love, and keto on!

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What Happens When You Cheat on Keto?