What To Do When You Reach Your Target Weight

What follows is an extract from ‘How To EAT LOADS And LOSE WEIGHT’ – available now. 

Here, in a nutshell, is how a low-carb or keto diet works: keep your carbs as low as possible, your fats as high as possible, your protein moderate, and your body will gradually convert your stored fats into ketones. You won’t feel hungry, you might feel healthier than you have in a very long time, and all the while you’ll get slimmer and slimmer and slimmer.

And then one day—without really trying—you will finally reach an arbitrary number on the bathroom scales that you decided some time ago was your target weight.

But let’s get one thing totally clear: that magic number was made up by you. It doesn’t really matter how you came up with that number, my point is that your body doesn’t care.

So now that we’ve established that, let’s talk about what your options are when you finally reach it. Is it possible to adjust your diet such that your weight, by and large, stays constant?

And the answer is… {drum roll}… Yes! (Sort of.)

So. How do we go about introducing carbohydrates back into our diets?

We (me and Val) have experimented with three approaches. They all have their pros and cons.

Approach 1: add carbs into your daily diet.

Each day find a way to increase the amount of carbs you’ve previously allowed yourself.

Now, how you go about this is up to you. Missing toast for breakfast? Maybe this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Hankering for the occasional jacket potato? Your hankering days might be over.

However, from experience we’ve found there is a slight problem with this approach. A wrinkle in an otherwise sensible plan: carbs are quite triggering.

They’re supposed to be. We’re designed to get MORE hungry when we eat them, so that all those sugars can be converted to fats, and stored, for when there are no more carbs to be had. Ever tried to eat just one piece of milk chocolate from a bar, then wrap it up and save the rest for later? Your body doesn’t want you to do that. It’s a waste of chocolate! Someone else might eat that chocolate in the meantime! That might be the last bar of chocolate in existence! Eat it all! Eat it now!

Introduce carbs every day and you might find that your hunger slowly begins to rise. Instead of one slice of toast for breakfast, you’re having two. Then a snack at around 10am when you start to feel hungry again. Then lunch is suddenly a sandwich. Two sandwiches. With a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. And all the while your weight is hovering ABOVE that magic target number you set for yourself. Never below.

To get around this, what you might ‘like’ to do, is forget about toast or potatoes or pasta, and instead introduce carbs that you were less fond of, before you started your diet. Maybe… carrots. Parsnips. A few berries for dessert. That sort of thing.

I know, I know… I can feel your disappointment from here.

Let’s try something else.

Approach 2: add carbs into your WEEKLY diet.

Instead of subjecting yourself to triggering carbs on a daily basis, try remaining low-carb during the week, but allow yourself to ease up at the weekends. Or maybe pick a day during the week when carbs are back on the menu. ‘Toast on Tuesday.’ Whatever works for you.

Personally I find this easier. This is where I’m at right now. Weekends come and I eat whatever I fancy. I don’t go crazy—I don’t fill up my cupboards with carby treats in preparation for Friday night—I just don’t stop myself from ordering chips if I’m in a restaurant. Or buying an ice cream if I’m on the sea front.

And come Monday morning, when I stand on the bathroom scales, I look down at the reading, and… “Oops!”—and then I return to low-carb. Sometimes (if I’ve really overdone it) I’ll start a sixteen-hour fast after my Monday evening meal.

Now I’m not going to lie to you; this approach requires discipline. And it tends to work better if you’re the sort of person who might go out for a meal at the weekends, or order a takeaway. It’s not so easy if there are still carbs, in your house, waiting to be consumed, when the weekend is over.

Also, if you have any kind of medical condition that’s made worse by sugars (such as asthma, or acid reflux) then bear in mind that a total carb binge at the weekend could come back and bite you in your ever-expanding bottom.

Approach 3: add carbs whenever you’re in credit.

Which leads us onto the third approach; an amalgamation of the first two ideas.

Weight yourself each morning. If you’re OVER your target weight, no carbs for you. Back on the keto wagon. But, if you’re UNDER your target weight—happy days!—today you can have some carbs.

Now, personally speaking, this is the approach I took for almost a year after I’d initially reached my target weight, and it worked quite well. Quite.

However it took me most of that year to learn that on the days I found myself ‘in credit’ (which were nowhere near as often as I liked) I couldn’t slam my foot on the gas and eat my body weight in potato crisps. Followed by a pizza. And flapjacks. And ice cream.

Gradually I had to learn (the hard way) that it was better to squeeze that metaphorical gas pedal, just gently.

So, if I was in credit I could enjoy a chocolate bar (singular). OR some chips. OR half a pizza. OR a five bean curry. If I did that, then maybe, just maybe, I could do the same a couple of days later. Maybe even the following day.

Finally, I was maintaining.

If you’ve got any maintaining tips or tricks, feel free to share them with me in the Facebook Group for this book. Link below.

How To Eat Loads and Lose WeightBUY the book here

READ the opening chapter here

Join the discussion on our Facebook Group

Why You Can’t Have Low-Carb ‘Cheat’ Days

What follows is an extract from ‘How To EAT LOADS And LOSE WEIGHT’ – available now. 

Back in ye olde times, when people thought fat made them fat (the fools!), someone at SLIMMING WATCHERS PLANET HQ (made up company) realised that most people have a hard time sticking to a calorie-controlled diet, and so decided to capitalise on the very natural desire to bend the rules.

Behold the cheat day; the ingenious notion that if you earn enough points you can have a high(er) fat ‘treat’, or even a day off your diet.

Now obviously, this is a very seductive concept, and one that a LOT of low-CARB dieters—especially the ones who previously spent many years trying every low-FAT diet under the sun—want to bring with them, to their new, carb-free, way of eating.

So let’s get right down to it: Can you—if you’re restricting your carbs—get away with the occasional cheat day?


Firstly, in the world of low-FAT dieting, a ‘cheat day’ is really just a con. That low-fat dieting ‘cheat day’ was already factored into the total number of calories allowed on whatever plan you were following. So it was never actually a ‘cheat’ at all. Not in the real sense. I don’t know about you, but that would make me feel even more cheated!

But here in the world of low-CARB dieting we don’t count calories. We count carbs.

Broadly speaking a low-carb diet is somewhere between 75 and 100 grams of carbs a day, whilst a keto diet is under 50. Now, if YOU want to lower all those numbers by ten grams and keep those ten grams aside as some sort of daily ‘cheat-carbs’… well, er, go ahead. Let me know if that works for you. Personally I can’t really see the point.

The real reason why ‘cheat days’ don’t work for us low-carbers is simply this; you can’t cheat your body. It’s not physically possible. Cheating suggests you’re sneaking around behind your own back, stuffing biscuits into your mouth and hoping your digestive system won’t notice, but that’s ridiculous. It will notice. It’s YOU!

So here’s what happens when you try and ‘cheat’ on a low-carb diet:

As that ‘cheat meal’ enters your system, your body will turn those carbohydrates into glucose. As the glucose travels around your body in your blood stream, so your insulin levels will rise. Which in turn signals your body to STOP the ketosis process (i.e. turning your stored fat into ketones). Your body will stop losing weight, and return to using glucose to fuel your muscles and brain.

Some of that glucose will be stored in your liver. This requires a fair amount of water—about 3 to 4 grams of water for every 1 gram of glycogen—so overnight you’ll probably put on around four pounds of ‘water weight’. Cue cries of ‘there’s no way that pizza weighed that much!’ It didn’t. Most of that weight is water.

If there’s any glucose left over after this carb binge, that’ll be stored as fat.

Terrific. More fat. The very stuff we’re trying to lose.

But it gets worse.

Those extra carbs will trigger the production of other hormones—hormones that make you hungry. So suddenly that cheat meal or cheat day wasn’t enough… now you want a cheat week! More pizza! Some garlic bread! Those desserts look pretty good too…

Remember, so far as your body is concerned, you’re a cave man or woman. You’ve just come across an apple tree, bursting with juicy delicious fruit. Your body wants you to eat all that fruit so that it can store as much fat as possible for winter time. To do that it makes your appetite soar!

This is the biggest problem with cheating on a low-carb diet. That slice of cake, that chocolate bar, that toasted sandwich… it’s never quite enough. I’ve heard horror stories from people who had a bad day at work, and on the way home ‘treated’ themselves to a sugary beverage. Four hours later they’re waking up on the living room carpet, surrounded by a slew of empty Dunkin’ Donuts cartons, and a Snickers wrapper stuck to their cheek.

But that’s not the end of the cheat day nightmare.

This sudden introduction of carbs when you’ve been running on ketones often makes people feel sluggish. It’s called a carb-coma. It’s an actual thing.

Finally, if you suffer from any high-carb related problems such as bloating or acid reflux? There’s a good chance that’ll come right back.

You still want a cheat day?

The good news is that whilst you can’t cheat a low-carb diet, it is quite forgiving.

If your total carbs for the day is slightly over… well, there’s a good chance you might get away with it. Maybe you’ll put on a pound or two, but that’ll come off again, if… you get straight back on the wagon.

Better still, there does comes a point when your body becomes better at tolerating the odd carby… and I hesitate to use the word… ‘treat’. Are you at this point? Probably not. We’ll talk more about that later in the book.

For now I want to encourage you to shun this ‘cheating’ concept. You’re an adult! You don’t need ‘tricks’ or ‘cheats’ to help you stay on track… you simply need to concentrate on what you can eat (plenty of delicious low-carb food options) and monitor your steady progress. That’s where your energies should be.

How To Eat Loads and Lose WeightBUY the book here

READ the opening chapter here

Join the discussion on our Facebook Group