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What to do After A Cheat

By August 7, 2017December 8th, 2020Holiday Recipes

What to do After A Cheat

I get the question, “I cheated… now what?” almost everyday. I have a heavy heart when I hear this because at one point in my life Fridays meant cheat time.

I use to LOVE Fridays because for me, that meant eating whatever I wanted. I keto during the week, but on the weekends, I “cheated.” I would end up feeling terrible for days.

Eventually I hated Monday mornings more than I enjoyed the cheat. For a few moments of pleasure in my mouth, I felt awful for days. It wasn’t worth it.

I reminded myself of this quote and I hope you do too:

“Successful outcomes are never the result of a single choice. 
They are built up through good choices over time.
A profitable business is never a choice, it is a series of choices.
A fit body is never a choice, it is a series of choices. 
A strong relationship is never a choice, it is a series of choices.”
-James Clear

When I write about my past mistakes and adding carbs on the weekends I am not judging anyone for having “cheat days.” My words come from love and are meant to encourage you. I certainly do not want to give you permission to cheat. To me this addiction is no different than encouraging someone from quitting alcohol. You can’t say “it’s ok if you have a drink.” My problem with allowing myself to have more carbs on the weekends held me back from healing my PCOS. By constantly adding carbs on the weekends you keep going into that awful state of “carb withdrawal” which is often mistakenly call the “Keto flu.”

My sugar addiction started at a young age and it was a hard addiction to break. It was even harder for my husband. I had to sit through many date night dinners with French fries and decadent desserts staring me in the face. I never nagged him, I just lead by example and I’m grateful he eventually changed. We grew together instead of apart. I often hear clients say “my husband will never do this lifestyle with me.” But I say “never say never!” Craig brewed his own beer and made his own wine. He is a completely different man than who I fell in love with at age 17. But I love him even more.

You need to start thinking positive. Instead of the glass is half empty the glass is half full! You can’t think about all the foods you can’t have. Think about all the amazing foods you CAN have! You have the power to change your palate. I was the pickiest eater! I made my best friend Marla’s mother cry at dinner because I never ate her food. I have overcome my love for junk and you can too!

If you truly want to heal, get off medication and stop feeling ill, you need to stop adding in carbs which just set you back. I had a client contact me after a year of MIA and she admitted she innocently started adding in sweet potatoes, which lead to carb cravings and a 30 pound weight gain.

Listening to those bad messages of “I was craving it so my body must need it” held me back for years and it will you too.

If you gave into temptation remind yourself of this; You are NOT defined by what the scale says or the size of your jeans! Your are defined by your individuality. The choices you make today will create habits which create consequences; consequences that you have to face up to and live with everyday. You can make good choices that makes your spirit stronger or you can make bad choices that only fulfill you for a moment and then leaves you feeling ill and unhappy for days; maybe even years.

In the insanity and advertising that overwhelms us in today’s society, it’s so easy to be pulled into the arms of marketing for unhealthy products. I was there once too but with time I overcame peer-pressure to eat the way society believes is “normal.” I can’t eat “normal” anymore and I don’t want to be “normal” anyway. I want to be Maria. I want to be me.

  1. Forgive yourself – no one is perfect, and few of us are good.
  2. Grow from your poor choices.
  3. If you change the habit you will change the outcome.

When you have set backs please understand and know that I never judge you. Food can be an addiction. I believe it is one of the hardest addictions because it is unavoidable. You need to eat.

Let food be thy medicine.

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is when they slip and consume junk, they feel almost hungover the next day.  I’ve been on a lot of diets in my day and what I find interesting is that feeling doesn’t happen on low fat, “whole grain”-filled diets. Sure, you may feel depressed because they scale goes up after a bender of donuts, but you don’t get the physical illness after cheating when you are on a ketogenic diet.

This is why this way of eating is so powerful! If you go all in, amazing results happen. Only once you go all-in you start to realize how low your energy  was and I say all in because just like Dr Davis explains, you can’t cut wheat 80 percent and expect 80 percent results. It doesn’t work that way. It needs to be 100 percent. You can “diet” on the weekdays then “cheat” on the weekends. But I no longer feel the need to cheat with meals like this!


You know how when you eat at a buffet or a potluck you often overeat? I do too! Having too much variety in flavors stimulate overeating. Your mind will get bored of a certain flavor then you move onto the next tasty flavor on your plate. But if you limit different flavors, it helps control eating behavior. I recently spoke at a clinic in New York and the doctor told his patients to stop eating so much variety! He eats a ribeye and my keto ice cream every night.

Eating keto isn’t a diet for Craig or I. It is a lifestyle. I love food and I will always love food, but more so, I love the way I feel eating like this! That is why I love creating really good recipes that make you love this way of eating. I want you to be able to do this 100 percent.

And yes, I enjoy a piece of “healthified” dessert everyday!

Like my Gingerbread Cake pictured below from my Keto Instant Pot book, find it HERE on sale! 

Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Maria Escobar says:

    Thanks for the great information, did have a cheat moment but now I am back on track. I really want to be good to myself, better late then never. Thank you love your post.

  • Sonya Feaster says:

    I have been keto since January 2017 and have completely reveresed my “per diabetic” diagnosis AND cometely have been freed of needing high blood pressure medication (all under a doctor’s watchful eye)!!! He has been amazed by the improvement and when I go back to see him on the 10th and talk about my 39 point reduction in LDL cholesterol and 28 point rise in HDL, HE may start doing keto! Lol! Oh…also I have lost 24 pounds…huge plus but not the main reason for choosing the keto life….it was the medication and pre diabetic diagnosis. I feel better than I ever have in my life….thank you for all the information that you provide and the recipes that you share.

  • Nicole Neill says:

    Thanks for sharing, this really spoke to me.

  • Kathy Fukuda says:

    Such a great message. Thank you!!

  • Jenny Mathweg says:

    This is a great article, Maria! I love eating Keto. I do remember in the beginning of my keto journey the cravings were crazy strong and got the best of me. Sweet potato fries and cheesecake were my weaknesses. Your recipes really helped keep the cravings at bay. I have learned that my body does not do well w/ sweet potatos, nuts, and dairy thanks to the 30 day Ketogenic Cleanse. We don’t eat out anymore b/c nothing tastes as good as your recipes. It’s just not worth it! My husband is in the beginning of his keto journey and cravings are strong. He’s learning when he cheats that it makes the cravings stronger and stalls weightloss. He notices that it takes about 5 days after a cheat to see the cravings subside, weightloss and all the benefits of keto to kick back in. Do you have any suggestions to speed the process of getting back into the Ketogenic state after a cheat? I’ve een hearing about fasting to help get you back into keto. What are you thoughts, Maria? Thank you for all you do, my friend.

  • Linda Smith says:

    Maria, Thank you so much for your continued work and making such decadent recipes available. You are my “go-to” for amazing recipes!!!

    I keep hearing about cycling in and out of ketosis, that it is a health benefit. It just means having extra carbs from healthy sources like more berries, maybe a sweet potato or other higher carb veggies. Then right back to ketosis again. Would you please comment on this so-called healthy way to do a keto diet?

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Nope, no science behind cycling in and out and I believe it is detrimental when you do. There is no dietary need to add carbs. Thanks!

  • Marilyn Brennan says:

    This is a great pep talk. You are an inspiration. I am kind of amazed that so few of the people I know even know about keto diet. We went to eat at another’s house, from a kind invitation. She didn’t know the difference between low carb and gluten free so she made chocolate chip cookies from a mix that was GF. That was so thoughtful! The meat loaf was delish but she had a sweet and sour sauce on it. It was all delicious but I thought that something so normal to me (keto) was so different to her that she didn’t understand. Most of my friends are that way! I have made your recipe for chocolate ice cream from the Keto Comfort book and love it. I am planning on making every recipe in that book!

  • Gail says:

    I “allowed” myself cheats for birthdays and holidays. As time goes by, these cheats are more and more disappointing. Recently, while on a cheat day, I started eating some chips. I stopped, they tasted like greasy cardboard. I am finding that to be true of many foods I once craved. I am surprised with how unsatisfactory eating junk food has become. Now when I think about eating chips or donuts, I think yuk. If I am going to eat a carb, it has to be absolutely fantastic.

  • Kathryn says:

    God bless you Maria for your kind and inspiring words!

  • Mariah Crownover says:

    Maria, do you have a special article on getting kids started on keto? I know your kids have been doing it since day one and are used to it, but I’m particularly interested in some tips on guiding my kids into this lifestyle. I eat this way (thanks to your cookbooks!), and my children eat a lot of the foods I prepare keto. But I’m worried they would reject the breads, cereals, etc that I make. I searched your blog and didn’t see anything. I really don’t want to tell them “we’re going on a diet (which I don’t think of it as a diet but they might) and it’s restrictive”, but I have one child in particular who is overweight who I feel could benefit. Just wondering if this is a topic you could think about writing a blog post about. Thanks- love your blog and books!! – Mariah

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      I don’t have an article but the earlier the better with kids. I recommend just ripping the band-aide off. They can’t eat junk if there is no junk in the house. 🙂

      • Batool says:

        Maria for the kids to be on keto, is the goal for them to be on ketosis or follow the ketogenic a little loosely (as in not strictly under 20g carbs) my son is quite hyper and also autistic and am tossing between paleo or a keto ? My son is young 3.5.

  • Kimberly Hoover says:

    Thankyou so much for this I had beer on the weekend and gained 5 pounds and feel horrible back to my keto lifestyle and feeling wonderful!

  • Veronica Tomchick says:

    Perfect timing for this message to be sent. It’s all things I know in my head. Choices that I have to make for ME. Everyday!

  • Bonnie says:

    Thank you Maria for being so open, honest and non-judgemental! You inspire myself and so many in a way we can relate. My husband is a home brewer with both beer and mead so I do live the challenge not to even have a sip. ” Just one what hurt you”…and pretty soon I have had more than the sip, which leads to other carbs. It’s hard to feel like the “party pooper”, especially when I was brought up to eat whatever is in front of me. As you said, live by example. 😊 You obviously live what you preach. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration to so many!

  • Sharie says:

    Maria, thank you for your transparency! I am so hopeful for my lifestyle change. This is the 1st time I have made a change and did not have to starve to see results. I have a long way to go and have set my goals. I appreciate your cookbooks, posts and emails. I choose change!

  • Diane says:

    Thanks for the great information. I am just in the beginning of my keto journey and facing the crazy cravings….I can deal with them at home, but help me with the travel and dining out!!! I do both a lot and am so fearful that I can’t handle the temptation. Any ideas where I can go get more information/help with this specific issue?

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      You can do it! And it is so worth it!!
      In earlier stages have some high fat snack on hand for when cravings strike. Some keto fudge or a fat bomb. 🙂

  • Debbie says:

    I Feel Your Pain! (& mine).
    I have been on Keto for over 6 months. I have had 3 or 4 cheat days within that time. I have had Burger & Fries and it did not kick me completely out of Keto. I then added a Oreo Cookie Blizard from Dairy Queen. Totally kicked me out of Keto. After the 3rd cheat day of this meal, I made a life changing discovery. Every time I ate sugar I woke up 3 to 5 times a night with leg cramps that hurt so bad it would make a preacher cuss!!!
    My last cheat day was last Friday night. I thought maybe if I took my Magnesium with my meal it would counter act the sugar. No such luck! I was up & down all night. The animals were all hiding under the covers while I was was trying to walk it off. Not sure of the chemical reaction taking place in my body but I am sure of one thing. As good as that Oreo Cooking Blizard tasted was not worth the pain I experienced afterwards, not to mention the look on my dogs faces as they walked past me to go outside the next morning with their tales between their legs.
    I am heading over to purchase your cookbook right now. Love being on Keto & I need that cheesecake recipe for my next craving. Not only I but my animals thank you, Maria!

    • Debbie says:

      Your cookbook is on it’s way as well as a mini ice cream maker! Can’t Wait!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Thanks! Yes, the “reward” for cheating never makes up for the pain and discomfort it causes after.

      • Debbie says:

        I just wanted to let everyone know that I received your cookbook & IT IS BEAUTIFUL!
        It is like a new pair of shoes. I am dreading the first “scuff mark / splatter, finger prints on it.
        The recipes are so down to earth without a bunch of ingredients that I have to do a search for. I have most of the ingredients already in my cupboard. The ones I do not have I can find at my local market.
        Might as well go ahead and splatter some keto yumminess on it so I can move on.

  • Jan says:

    What about drinking exogenous ketone supplements, like “perfect keto?” Does that help kick your body back into ketosis faster after a cheat? Louise Henson talks about Perfect Keto and also about “good olive oil” in her blogs, yet I have never seen olive oil in your recipes or heard you talk of exogenous ketones. I’m confused.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Exogenious ketones have some good therapudic uses (potentially cancer, Alzheimers, moods, etc). But for weight loss, I wouldn’t recomend them. And for “getting back into ketosis quickly” is a bad idea. If you binged on carbs and then add ketones on top of that, you are just adding more fuel to the fire (more fuel that needs to get dealt with before you can get back to burning bodyfat for fuel).

  • CobyLyn says:

    Is eating Keto better than Paleo? In Paleo sweet potatoes are allowed. I am on a mission to lose 100 lbs in a year with exercise and eating either Keto or Paleo. Help? Thanks btw for the pep talk! ❤

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      I believe it is. I have had many clients that do paleo and only get so far with their weight loss and healing. And once they go keto realize their goals of weight loss but also healing from many issues. 🙂

  • Wendy M says:

    Recent diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for my 10 year old daughter, Madison, has led us to a keto lifestyle. Now a family project, we love your fabulous books and beautiful illustrations. Blood sugars are starting to normalize and the increase of energy is an added bonus. Thanks so much for helping our family become keto adapted too!

  • Wendy M says:

    PS. Would love a book that is geared toward kids in getting them to embrace keto. Simple understanding of the affect of sugar and carbohydrates on their growing bodies and brains that they “get”. Incorporate some super easy recipes and meal plans that require little or no parent supervision will make kids feel empowered! 💓

  • Kathy Olson says:

    I’m new but I believe! I can’t tell you how much better I feel! Down 10 pounds and my heart burn is starting to subside after more than 40 years of suffering from it! 😊

  • Jeanie says:

    Love this post Maria!!!! It really hit home. I like this part the most ….. You can make good choices that makes your spirit stronger or you can make bad choices that only fulfill you for a moment and then leaves you feeling ill and unhappy for days; maybe even years…………Definitely!

  • Meghan says:

    This post is so timely, I am in awe of how things happen at just the right time sometimes. I went “off the rails” for a few days last week/weekend and boy did I feel it like I’ve never felt it before. Head fog, congestion and nausea… the bread and granola bars were not worth it (and after 4+ weeks eating Keto, they didn’t even taste good!).
    Thank you, Maria, for all of your information and guidance! The resources you have here are game changing.

  • Joyce says:

    Awesome blog !Thank you!
    I love the way you say things!

  • Lynn says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am actually on the Keto diet for cancer. My issue is I’m losing too much weight…I’m 5’8″ and used to weight 125 most of my life; I’m down to 109. Any suggestions for gaining weight while staying on the Keto diet?
    Thanks for any advise you can provide.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Yes, I have helped many gain with keto. Just up the fat intake as needed (and make sure to hit your protein goal) while keeping carbs to a minimum. Also, a snack before bed can help with gaining or maintaining.

      • Lynne says:

        Good words for those struggling with cancer; however, I am concerned about weight gain. My doctor, who ‘tested’ my keto knowledge by asking who I follow–you of course; stated for me to lose weight I should eat 200 grams of fat a day and 2000 calories. I am 60 yrs. old, a PE teacher, hypothyroid and have reactive hypoglycemia. I’m blowing up on this much fat. Advice everywhere, but no answers. I did purchase your accelerated program a couple of years ago, but it was lost when my computer crashed.

  • Jessie says:

    This is inspiring! You nailed my constant issue–carb highs and lows. It’s like a never ending energy roller coaster! I have tried several different lifestyles from pescetarian to veganism, but they all left me still wanting the carbs and junk food. I am eager to jump into this after friends’ and family successess but hesitant due to expecting my first child. I am now 20 weeks along and not sure a major diet shift is the smartest decision right now. What do you think?

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      This lifestyle can be a big help. Just stick with it for 4-6 weeks and you will start losing those cravings. 🙂

  • Mona says:

    Enjoyed the article. Personally, after 2 and 1/2 years LCHF, my experience is I do have negative “sick” responses when I eat off my typical menu, especially things like corn, beans, and beets, the more difficult to digest foods. Helps me not do it often.

  • Burghanite says:

    Hi there! First a quick note of appreciation – I have your slow cooker book and the comfort food book just arrived today (hooray prime) but beyond the books I appreciate your newsletter and online recipes, which I turn to more than books sometimes. Second, I want to echo the comments I have seen regarding kids. I too would love more ideas and support. I slid into Keto sort of sideways from following low carb to lose a few pounds, but the more I read about keto the more I think my kids should do it simply because it is healthy. The problem is – they are tween/teen, athletes, slim and fit and have no motivation to give up, say, pizza. Making homemade ice cream has been a HUGE help, and the 3 Lb bags of swerve have helped me create some breakfast muffins, but hey, what about a new book, keto for teens? My husband expressed concern that because they are growing and so active, low carb could be harmful for them. Any truth to that? Thanks again.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Thank you! That is a good idea!
      No, no truth to needing more carbs. Growth is driven by protein and hormones. 🙂

  • Burghanite says:

    Thanks Maria. Also what helped – we got a copy of your 30 day cleanse book and I gave a few pages to my teen to read. Particularly the page with different benefits resonated with her (acne and dandruff) and the part you wrote about antibiotics and acne. She was on antibiotics for Lyme (we are in WI) and so hoping this diet helps her heal though she won’t go dairy free. We looked through the book and picked out some treats to make. So if you do decide to write something focused on tween/teen short tidbits with a graphic seem to be compelling, as well as healthified desserts they can make or help make!

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