We are human and therefore prone to temptation or simply uncontrolled situations which may result in ingesting things that are not on this low-carb plan. Sometimes a cookie may seem to scream your name, or some special event or holiday spread may just be too difficult to resist....other times, you may have to take a liquid medicine, or even be stuck in a situation where there just is nothing else to eat. Unfortunately, regardless of the circumstance, it does result in throwing us to square one once again.With low fat based diets, people often get this mentality that it is okay to have "a little bit" now and then, to eat that occasional cookie or french fries. I do not know how many times people have told me, " Oh it won't hurt you, go ahead and have a small slice..." and the like---they say this, because they do not understand how low carb diets and ketosis works. Often, people new to this plan also initially start out thinking that it will be okay to have that little cheat now and then, and thus why I am making this post to explain what really happens when we cheat and to help prevent those kind of stumbles. Atkins is first and foremost, a lowcarb diet that requires in the induction phase that you keep your carbohydrate intake at 20 grams or less a day. The reason for this carb limit is so that you can flush the carbs/ sugar out of your system so that you can reach and maintain Ketosis, which is the state in which your body turns to burning your stored body fat for fuel. It typically takes most people 3-5 days in order to flush out the sugar and reach this state (though it could possibly take some people a day or two longer). When people first start the diet they may see a sudden shedding of weight within even the first day or two, but often this is water weight from retention, the fat itself starts to burn off once you have reached ketosis. Getting into ketosis, is very much a form of detoxing in the respect of clearing your body out of the sugars, it also is your body switching gears and adjusting to the new "fuel". So then, what happens when we cheat? Firstly, a cheat would be defined in eating anything off plan that has high carb content. There are a couple different levels of cheat that can happen, one that does not fully throw you out of ketosis, and one that does. Sometimes we may have a few bites of something, or ingest more carbs then realized in a sauce or something---in these situations, sometimes you will not see the full result for a day or more, and thus think you are in the clear...but then you stall for several days, maybe see the scale jump up a little, and basically have to get back on track. The other kind of cheat, is the one that puts you completely out of ketosis.What happens when we eat carbs again, is that our body goes..." Oh hey...there's that old easy fuel again, lets use it instead!", and it switches back over from burning your fat, to burning your sugar storage first. You then have to basically start from ground one and re-induce yourself on the plan so that you can flush those sugars out in order to once again reach ketosis. So, once again you will find yourself taking as much as five days to get back on track, and even then things may be a little slow going. Other draw backs and after affects to having a "cheat", is often your cravings and appetite will hit you full-force once you get a taste of those carbs again....which can sometimes make it difficult to get back on plan even under the best of initial intentions. You also are likely to see gain and water retention happen due to the off-plan eating.I have seen several circumstances of people new to the plan not fully understanding how ketosis works, and they end up having frequent cheats and become frustrated when they do not see weight loss. Basically what happens in this situation, is that their bodies are not being given the chance to fully adjust and switch gears into ketosis and fat burning, but rather are being interrupted and changed back to sugar fuel...thus they see little or no results. It is important to give the plan...and your body....a chance to work. So, what do we do when we slip? Firstly, as mentioned above...often the hardest part in cheating is getting back up and on plan. It becomes easy to think things like, " Well, since I am off anyway, lets wait another day so that I can eat at this place, have this favorite food..." and then it gets easier and easier to push off or tell yourself you will start again at such and such time. Because of this, it is very important to jump right back onto plan, even the very same day, if not the next morning after the cheat. Drink lots of water to help flush things out, and consider doing m/e for a week or so to help get back into ketosis all the faster. Additionally, be kind to yourself. We are human, slips are going to happen, but I have seen people get so upset for having a cheat, that they throw their hands in the air and get all down on themselves, and even get a " I blew it so I may as well go eat this this and that..." attitudes. Just tell yourself it happened, put it in the past, and give yourself a pat on the back for being strong enough to get back on the plan. I personally am not an angel and have had my own slips as well, and I know the mental aspects of it can sometimes be even harder then the food ones---this is why I always cheerlead when people have the courage to get back on board. Never feel bad about having slipped or having to admit it, we all have been there, and these forums are here to help support you and get you on track even, and especially, in those circumstances.