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Cheat Days, Ugh.....

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Old 10-27-2008, 03:43 AM   #1
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Default Cheat Days, Ugh.....

I know there are a lot of different opinions about having planned "cheat days". I am so confused and just angry at myself right now. I've been on my healthy eating/ exercising journey since April and have been successful. I have a planned cheat day once a week, usually on sundays. I initially thought this was good for me because it would keep me going the rest of the time. I thought i needed to have those "bad" foods at least once a week. I know I've been loosing weight and have not hit a plateau and that is great. the thing is......i feel so completely and utterly horrible on my cheat days. I feel guilty, i feel like im ruining everything i do all week, i feel like my body is telling me not to eat this horrible food, i feel dehydrated and just plain disgusting. so......i try to tell myself that i dont need a cheat day and that its not worth it. i try to not have a cheat day, but then the day comes and i cant stop it. I just dont know what to do. I wish i could just not have a cheat day, stay on plan all of the time. maybe then i wouldn't feel so bad once a week. why cant i control this? I feel like food has controlled my life for ever, and now that I am in control of myself for 6 days out of the week, on that 7th day i am letting food control me again. WHY cant i just stop???????? I would luv to here some advice from anyone. those of you who have planned cheat days who might feel the same way, and those of you who dont cheat. how do you go so long without those things that taste soooooo good, but make you feel soooooo bad????
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:53 AM   #2
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Maybe, instead of a cheat day - have a cheat meal. And don't go all out. I have one treat meal a week where I allow myself a glass of red wine (sometimes 2!) and get a nice dinner and split something for dessert (preferably chocolately). I still stick to my "forever no's" - no fast food, no cream sauces, no baked cheese dishes (like lasagna), limit fried foods and NO leftovers (my treat meal is a once a week event, not another excuse to indulge the next day).

I know a lot of people believe everything in moderation and I'm really glad that works for them. I need a little more structure to be and feel successful. I could do a LOT of damage in one full out cheat day. One special meal where I stay in control of my choices is enough to keep me satisfied the rest of the week.

I actually don't have many cravings for my forbidden foods. I haven't had a fast food burger/fries/shake in over 4 years and I don't miss them at all. I do get weird cravings (like for steak or bread and butter pickles) but they are pretty random.

What I have found - if I indulge in something I eat rarely, like say...cake with frosting. I immediately want MORE cake and frosting. I try to keep that in mind when presented with a wedge of birthday cake. It might taste good, but how will I feel after? Sometimes, those kinds of thoughts can help me. Sometimes, I just eat the cake!
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:10 AM   #3
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glory, you are an inspiration. i read your story last week and it really inspired me. I have heard of superfoods before and now, i am going to get the book. i already incorporate tons of them into my everyday routine. i love the idea of eating healthy, not just low calorie. i think the one meal thing is a good idea. I will just have to change my mindset of cheating all day. at least with one meal, maybe i wont feel so bloated and dehydrated. really all my cheat day is.... is mindless eating. its like my whole day is devoted to food. how utterly rediculous and pathetic i feel!! its just not worth it! thanks for the reply
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:32 AM   #4
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This is why I don't believe in the concept of "cheat".

When you call it a "cheat" - whether it's a meal, a day, whatever, you're automatically using language that creates guilt and encourages you to go wild and not pay any attention. Cheating is inherently BAD ... it's wrong, no one should be caught cheating. Right? It's word laden with negative connotations.

I don't cheat. I mean ... I'm living this journey, so what would I be cheating on? My life?

I do have days when I relax a bit. I allow myself a TREAT once in a while (and a TREAT implies one thing - something worth waiting for an indulging in, not a huge binge). I allow myself a meal where I don't count calories once a week. But that's not a "cheat" because there's nothing and no one to "cheat" on. It's not a test. It's not a marriage. It's a way of life - MY LIFE. And I *choose* what I eat - whether it's healthy, or not.

I realize that this might sound like splitting hairs or playing semantic games, but words are important. And words are especially important when you're trying to change your habits and your life.

If you tell yourself you're "cheating" all the time - then you're telling yourself to feel guilty.

If you tell yourself you're "treating" once in a while - then you feel like you're having something worthwhile and worth savouring, rather than gorging on.

.

Last edited by PhotoChick : 10-27-2008 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:33 AM   #5
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I also avoid using the word "cheat". I plan 2 maintanence calorie days a month, usually when I'm PMSing. I eat whatever type of food I am wanting but not going over my maintanence calories. I do not feel guilty and start over the next day. It works for me.

If you are not interested in "cheating" on your off day then don't. Save it for a time when you will enjoy it and not feel guilty. If you want to eat off plan for a day and you are still losing I say go for it. You have to do whatever will work for you in the long run.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:33 AM   #6
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The difference between cheat and treat is huge to the subconscience. It's an ingrained reaction, from our childhoods on.

If you're doing something special, do it as a treat. I can't say one way or the other-total newbie at this-again-so I'm not at a point where I feel comfortable treating myself. Knowing me, I'd fall right off the wagon and roll around in it.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:27 AM   #7
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I agree with the earlier posters' concept of "cheating" as being the wrong message to give oneself.

Another thought is to change what you eat for your so-called "cheat" meals. If the fast food and junk is making you feel sick, well, there's a message there, don't you think? So instead of going for the Big Mac and supersize fries (or whatever it is you're doing), choose to go to a sit-down restaurant for a better quality meal than that. As another example, instead of going to Taco Bell, you could go to a really good Mexican restaurant. You'll probably feel more satisfied and less guilty.

Junk food urges are just the "spoiled child within" throwing a tantrum. Tell her to sit down and eat her green beans! Someone has to be an adult here!

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by PhotoChick View Post
This is why I don't believe in the concept of "cheat".

When you call it a "cheat" - whether it's a meal, a day, whatever, you're automatically using language that creates guilt and encourages you to go wild and not pay any attention. Cheating is inherently BAD ... it's wrong, no one should be caught cheating. Right? It's word laden with negative connotations.

I don't cheat. I mean ... I'm living this journey, so what would I be cheating on? My life?

I do have days when I relax a bit. I allow myself a TREAT once in a while (and a TREAT implies one thing - something worth waiting for an indulging in, not a huge binge). I allow myself a meal where I don't count calories once a week. But that's not a "cheat" because there's nothing and no one to "cheat" on. It's not a test. It's not a marriage. It's a way of life - MY LIFE. And I *choose* what I eat - whether it's healthy, or not.

I realize that this might sound like splitting hairs or playing semantic games, but words are important. And words are especially important when you're trying to change your habits and your life.

If you tell yourself you're "cheating" all the time - then you're telling yourself to feel guilty.

If you tell yourself you're "treating" once in a while - then you feel like you're having something worthwhile and worth savouring, rather than gorging on.

.
I could not agree more. For me, being an "all or nothing" type person, if I were to allow myself a cheat day, I would be going all out. That is just my personality. Currently while I am still losing, I just don't go down that road. Is it an easy thing to do? Absolutely not. However, I look at it from this way. Allowing myself one cheat day, basically led into another, and another and another...Well, you get the idea. Will I never have treats again? No, that would be unrealistic. However, once I am in maintenance, then I can start to plan for the odd treat here and there. For me, after being on my plan for the past 4 months, I find I don't crave the junkfood I used to. I am craving fruits more than anything.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:57 AM   #9
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I used to use the cheat mentality, too and it didn't work for me for the same reasons it doesn't seem to be working for you!

Now I'm just more relaxed on the weekends. I'm a calorie counter so I still count my calories and I still measure my portions. I jut allow myself to go closer to my maintenance level then I would during the rest of the week.

Usually the horror of putting 132343 calories of cookies and cake into my Fitday log keeps me from eating them .
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:09 AM   #10
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How do you guys get yourself away from these "cheat" or "treat" foods that you "so loved" before your healthy lifestyle. For myself, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fried chicken strips with ranch. I usually let myself have them once a week and end up going overboard with them. How do you make that "switch" in your brain to not want something you really want all the time? I am also crazy about culvers burgers...and I'm sure they are like the worst burgers possible. I just can't imagine NOT eating them anymore.

I know it's mind over matter and all of that, but for some reason I just can't let go of those two things (both of which I had this weekend...) And then I wonder why I can't get under 160 FOR GOOD... geez....
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:16 AM   #11
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I am also crazy about culvers burgers...and I'm sure they are like the worst burgers possible. I just can't imagine NOT eating them anymore.
This right here is why I'm more lax on the weekends. This is a lifestyle for me. It has to be or I'll stay 260 lbs for the rest of my life (or more!). I refuse to yo yo again. I can't look at the rest of my life and say "I will never eat BLANK" again. Maybe down the road that'll be a posibility but right now it's just depressing. So yeah, this weekend I ate a cheeseburger and fries but I only ate half the fries and threw away part of the burger. You get to a point where the craving is satisfied and you learn to push the food away. I didn't go overboard. When you learn to have a healthy relationship with food you learn to walk away... KWIM?

Sometimes I weigh the pros and cons in my head. At the very moment I may feel like I am going to just DIE if I don't have (insert food) Let's say cheeseburger RIGHT NOW!!! But in reality... if I do some careful planning and save that indulgence for a weekend dinner out with my hubby or make my own lo cal version at home I'll feel much better in the long run!

It's hard to seperate the guilt from food but it feels soooo much better to know the things you're putting into your body are helping and not hurting you.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:17 PM   #12
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How do you guys get yourself away from these "cheat" or "treat" foods that you "so loved" before your healthy lifestyle.
I don't. Or, to be precise, some of them I don't. Some of them I realize are "trigger foods" (like sour cream and onion potato chips) and I just choose not to eat or bring into my house. I find that as I eat healthier and as I choose my treats to be something I really want and will enjoy, the craving for those "junk" items lessens. Believe me - it never goes away entirely. I still walk into the grocery store and see the football-season displays of potato chips and think to myself "maybe just one bag". And then I force myself to walk to the other end of the store really quickly before my willpower gives out.

Quote:
I am also crazy about culvers burgers...and I'm sure they are like the worst burgers possible. I just can't imagine NOT eating them anymore.
I am crazy about 5 Guys burgers and fries and so I *don't* imagine not eating them anymore. If I thought I could never have another 5 Guys burger, I'd give up and go on a crazy burger-binge. Instead I tell myself that I *can* have a meal at 5 Guys if I want ... as long as I either make up the calories elsewhere or it's one of my planned no-count meals. Does that mean I eat 5 Guys every day? Nope. For me instead of a 2 or 3 times weekly meal, 5 Guys is a TREAT. I go maybe every other week. And instead of having a full bacon cheese burger (for 1000 calories), I have a little burger (for 500 calories). And instead of eating a whole order of fries myself, I split an order with my husband (and I let him eat more of them).

This is my life and I don't plan to deprive myself of favorite things for the rest of my life. But I also find that the longer I do this, the more I realize that what used to be my "favorite things" were really crutch foods that I was using for emotional reasons. And nowadays when I think of the amount of calories I want to spend on a treat (and whether or not I'm going to have to hit the gym an extra day or whatever), I want to make sure that I'm damn sure ENJOYING what I'm treating myself with - and not just mindlessly eating something - based on a mindless craving.

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Old 10-27-2008, 12:59 PM   #13
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Don't beat yourself up over this!!! There have been so many great responses here, there isn't much left for me to say. Just keep your chin up, and remember we are all human, and no one is perfect!
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:00 PM   #14
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When I have a treat, it doesn't make me feel gross for two reasons:

It's not junk food, it's gotta be fabulous stuff (which for sweets, almost always means homemade, usually not by me ). McDonald's is torture, not a treat. I find that with high quality treats, I might eat a little more than I think I *should*, but I don't have that neverending-must-go-back-for-another-piece impulse I have with junk. Really, I find it very strange, but I can be sitting there thinking I don't even really like this and I really want to go have more. Doesn't happen with really high-quality stuff.

Second, "treat" *never* means eat until I'm stuffed. I just don't do that any more, ever. It's not restrictive, it's pain avoidance . Eating slowly is part of that.

I think another thing that goes a long way to not feeling guilty is not buying into the social expectation that a woman should be thin or perfect or that food is bad. That just feels kinda hateful toward myself. Really, we put ourselves on a scary high pedestal sometimes.
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:27 PM   #15
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For myself, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fried chicken strips with ranch. I usually let myself have them once a week and end up going overboard with them. How do you make that "switch" in your brain to not want something you really want all the time? ....
You can make a very tasty dinner by breading your own boneless, skinnless chicken strips...

As for cheat days.. I can't do that. I would go hog wild, eat everything in the house, and gain 10 lbs in one day. I am just trying to focus on eating healthy foods that still taste good to me... and only indulging on special occassions. Like this weekend, I was out with friends and I split a choclate dessert with a friend. I had a couple bites and found I actually got 'choclated-out' and was done with it. We ended up sharing it with the whole table. I am thrilled because 'old-me' would have ordered that just for myself and been licking the plate for ten minutes afterwards, lol.
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