I try to eat pretty healthfully. My wife leads the charge to shop fresh, local, and organic. My diet is built around healthy proteins, good fats, veggies, and slow carbs. Admittedly, avoiding junk food, sugar, and carbs is not easy. To help me keep on track, I grant myself a diet cheat day every week to treat myself to the foods I crave that I don’t eat the rest of the week.
Tim Ferriss is the author if The 4-Hour Body, the book that inspired me to eat this way. I am a fan of Tim’s and he has lots of advice and life-hacks that he has tried and tested himself. The sub-title of the book is An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. His Slow-Carb plan really does give you a kick.
It is possible to eat very well on a healthy diet. I don’t count calories at all. The focus is on foods that boost me up, like wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, farm fresh eggs, and slow carb fruits and veggies. And I avoid foods with downsides of sugar-crash, insulin depletion, chemical pesticides, or empty junk.
Here is a pic (on the right) of a recent meal that was right in my optimal zone. Wild caught Sockeye Salmon, sautéed veggies, over a bed of wilted baby spinach, with lemon butter (grass fed) sauce. Easy, affordable, seasonal. More nutrition, better flavor, and lower costs than a typical fast food “value meal”.
But the cheat day! I have all week to think about what I want to eat on my diet day off, and to plan and shop and strategize. Below is a look at my cheat day foods this week, featuring ALL THE CARBS.
Here is what Tim Ferriss says of his cheat days:
I recommend Saturdays as your “Dieters Gone Wild” day. I am allowed to eat whatever I want on Saturdays, and I go out of my way to eat ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, and all of my other vices in excess. I make myself a little sick and don’t want to look at any of it for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc.) doesn’t downregulate from extended caloric restriction. That’s right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat. Welcome to Utopia. -Tim Ferriss, The Four-Hour Body
It is crazy to think that eating well and healthfully can include such rich foods. My regular meals are rich in good fats and fresh flavors. But my cheat day foods are all about satisfying sugar and starch cravings. Luckily, one day off does not ruin your metabolism, so the next day I am back on track and in the zone.
Breakfast started with chocolate croissants, maybe one of the least low carb foods I can imagine. They hit you just right on the carb/sugar cravings. And my sister brought back some chocolate covered macadamia nuts from her vacation, and I was being rude NOT eating them during the week, so I dove in on my cheat day. Later on I had “dessert lunch”, which is totally a thing when you go without sugar or starch all week. Home made whipped cream, over chocolate ice cream, on top of a chocolate macaroon.
After “Dessert Lunch™” we walked downtown to Farmer’s Market to stock up on fresh local foods for the week. Below you can see me and mini-me walking up to the Creek Monkey in Downtown Martinez. We had dinner at our local gastro-pub brewery the Creek Monkey Tap House. I had a grass fed grilled burger with bacon and cheese, on sourdough. Fries and KETCHUP (no ketchup during the week, too much sugar). And a local beer to wash it down. Cold beer is so refreshing and good in the summer, and I missed it all week while in the zone.
Living well and eating healthily does not need to be a challenge. Great fresh organic foods are available everywhere nowadays. And a scheduled cheat day to blow out all your cravings helps take the pressure off and keep you on track. Check out Tim’s book The Four Hour Body for more on how food and lifestyle changes can dramatically increase your metabolism and health. I will share more insights on my dietary successes, and pitfalls, here on the site and on my Fb page.
Mario Mazzamuto is a, author, real estate investor, and Certified High Performance Coach who lives in the Bay Area of California with his wife Jessica and two kids. He owns San Francisco Bay Appraisal, which does property valuations and sales-prep consultations around the East Bay.