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Old 01-29-2009, 02:40 PM   #1
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Question Any truth to the theory of...

shaking up your diet with a big fat cheat day or cheat meal? My BF is dieting now and is adamant that cheat days are essential for tricking your metabolism. He believes if you religiously stick to 1800 calories a day your body gets used to that and weight loss slows. Yesterday was his cheat day and OH MY WORD, did he cheat!! Bicuits and gravy for breakfast, half a roasted chicken with butter/garlic mashed potatoes for lunch, a whole box of Garlic Triscuits (that I dole out 7 crackers at a time for myself) 4 string cheeses for snack and Burger King SteakHouse burger with swiss, King size fries and a giganto full sugar pop for dinner.

I have my moments of not following WW to a "t", and eating a little more here or a little more there...and have had a steady weightloss. I'm all for tricking the metabolism into working better but I'm afraid that a huge cheat day for me would turn into a cheat week, month, year and I'd gain back all the weight!

Is there any validity in the Trick Your Metabolism thing for all you knowledgible long term dieters here.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:46 PM   #2
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Eating a little more at a meal or on a given day is really calorie cycling. Planning in treats like a piece of cake or treat is one thing. However, what you described above is not really part of a healthy eating plan.

If you need a deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound, a day as described above could easily pack in said 3500 calories and erase all your hard work. Easily - and then you would wonder why you aren't losing.

If you fuel your body with good quality *real* foods, the desire for cheat days and junk foods diminishes. It really does.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:55 PM   #3
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Hey! In my humble opinion what your boyfriend is doing isn't a "cheat day," it's a BINGE, B-I-N-G-E.

To overeat that much in a single day pretty much wipes out whatever you may have lost in the week before. And you're right. It can lead to throwing in the towel completely.

The best people to tell you what works are those who have been obese, have lost the weight and are now normal sized, and have kept the weight off for a year or more.

The worst people to get information from are those who are now obese and have tried losing weight for a minute or two...

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:56 PM   #4
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To be honest, I think the "trick your metabolism with a cheat day" idea is really just a rationalization for cheating. It's bad mental ju-ju, is what I mean; the dieter wants to cheat, and therefore finds a justification for cheating.

So much better, like Lori says, simply to eat clean and let the body have what is good for it over the long-term.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:08 PM   #5
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I think it is ok to plan treats into your plan and to flux calories a couple hundred this way or that... but not thousands of calories! Like everyone else has said: that would be totally counter-productive.

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Old 01-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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I agree with everyone else...it just seems to me that a full blown out "cheat" day is a binge and someone was trying to rationalize it
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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My DH believes the same thing - when he was dieting several years ago he had 'free weekends', now it is one day per weekend. Typically though, he has one 'cheat meal' that is high calorie enough that he is too full for too much else later in the day. When I first started calorie counting I did it with him, though still tracked my calories for the day (he doesn't track at all that day.) That one day brought my daily average up by 150-250 calories some weeks. So, I started cutting back more and more on those days and just not talking about it.

That being said, I do still have a higher meal every week than a normal meal, but still track it. I also plan in some higher calorie snacks and stuff here and there. I just had to let go of the cheat day concept.

I should add, DH has lost and regained and lost and regained up to a 75 pound swing over the last several years. This time he lost 20, regained 10, is working on losing again. So, could be that the 'cheat day' set him up for long term failure. I learned how to count pretty much anything I want into my calories for the day, or even for the week sometimes if I go higher than planned, so learned not to binge. DH hasn't learned that yet.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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IMO, the only good a "cheat day" will do is to delay your weight loss.

I certainly never found a need or purpose to "trick" my metabolisim. I kept on creating a calorie deficit through calorie monitoring and restriction, ate frequent small meals and exercise. No tricks involved. That's what it's all about.

IMO, a cheat day is a recipe for disaster. Disaster. You can easily wipe out any calorie deficit created in 6 days of hard work by one day.

And another thing, men are totally different then men when it comes to weight loss. Not saying that anyone should justify a "cheat day" such as your BF's, but a guy can "get away" with stuff like that (though not for very long - at all) a lot quicker then a woman can.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:39 PM   #9
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I don't think that will work out well for him. That never lets you get more accustomed to healthy foods & would just keep feeding the cravings. I do think that it is ok to splurge every once in a while--not to trick your metabolism, but to not feel deprived. I do WW & they give you a free 35 flex points to be used over the week. Sometimes I save those up for a treat at the end of the week & sometimes I use some them if I am extra hungry one day. I could never recover from eating huge amounts of points at every meal. For me, that would propel me right back to eating like that all the time.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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I binged every single saturday and still managed to lose 130 pounds. However, I was starving myself during the week, and had a **** of a time learning to eat right without re gaining the weight. I did it, but it wasn't fun. Cheats are ok, binges aren't worth it in the end.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:50 PM   #11
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I think the only thing you accomplish with a "cheat day" is cheating yourself out of eating something healthy.

I did hear that by eating the exact amount of calories a day can cause your body to get used to it. I read (Jillian Michaels) that you should take the # of calories for one week (10,500 if you are on a 1500/cal per day diet) and have 1500 one day, 1200 the next, 1800 the next day and so on, just so you can avoid your body getting used to the same amount of calories a day. That's how you "cheat" or "trick your metabolism."
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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i sometimes use 'keeping my metabolism guessing' as an excuse for having some cheese or a sandwich or something i really want (had a great sandwich at lunchtime today on this pretext in fact) but the all-day meat, salt and fat fest in the original post sounds a leeetle OTT
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:59 PM   #13
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I guess the only thing that makes this still a diet is that he used to eat like that every day of the week. So one day is better than seven!

I think I'll just keep plodding along the way I'm doing it and let him do his own thing.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #14
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calorie cycling really does work for those people who have done metabolism damage and needs to be shaken up. in cycling you would have one high day a week...........a high day is not a binge day though. In my cycling I do plan one off plan day every other week, and I plan it on my high calorie day (Sat) but for me that means that I dont have to worry about tracking calories and all.........it does not mean I eat what ever I want, I could easily do alot of damage. Cheat days are great for going out to a restaurant that you cannot look up the calories--but you still pick the grilled chicken or fish instead of the fried, you share a piece of cheesecake where you would not normally have any at all...things like that.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:01 PM   #15
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I do have a special meal on Friday nights each week; we cook it at home from scratch, and it's something like hamburgers or chicken fingers or pizza. It's healthy, whole foods, but more like comfort food or kid food than the rest of the stuff I eat throughout the week. This meal typically has more calories than my other dinners, but it's all planned-for. Then I finish with something special like a milkshake made of sugarless vanilla ice cream and sugarless strawberry fruit spread.

So I think planned treats ARE very important; but all out cheat/binging is just a bad idea.
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