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To Splurge Or Not To Splurge?

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Old 12-03-2005, 05:05 PM   #1
 
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Exclamation To Splurge Or Not To Splurge?

Okay, I have a bit of a decision to make...yet I can't come up with an answer! Everyday I stay under my calorie limits, and I don't have "treat food" because I'd go over my calorie budget probably...so, my question is this: Should I have a day (like twice a month on paydays) that I am allowed to go over my calorie limit - if it happens - to have some treat food? The reasons I'm stuck are this: If I don't do it I might start feeling deprived and that leads to me eating everything in sight and scraping my weight loss plans....but, if I do let myself do that then it's technically "failing" in my eyes because I gave myself a set calorie goal to stay under, and as soon as I "slip" once (such as going over my limit) I'd end up making excuses to do it more than twice a week (or however much) and start back in old patterns (eating junk daily) THAT way. I know I must sound C-R-A-Z-Y but I'd love some input/advice. Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:14 PM   #2
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The way I look at it is if you don't allow an occasional indulgence then you are going to go fail because your going to eventually get tired of depriving yourself of something you want. I think as long as you can keep it in check and know that it's the only day or two that you can go over then you'll be ok. Just make sure your not doing it all the time. Make sure to get right back on program. Last night was my off program day. I did really well all day but when I wanted ice cream after dinner I allowed myself to eat it, and then I had a late snack which I hadn't planned on but I was hungry so I ate it. But in the long run I still stayed under 2000 for the day so I felt good, 500 over normal but still under 2000.

I'd suggest setting a max calorie intake for everyday and then a seperate max calorie intake for your off program days. If you have it in your schedule to eat 2000 calories on a certain day then your not going to feel like your off program. Actually from what I've read this actually helps you by keeping your body from becoming too accustomed to a certain intake level.
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:45 PM   #3
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Actually it can help with fat loss to vary your calories a little bit. It keeps your body guessing when you throw a cheat day in there every once in a while. I have to be really careful with this though because if I eat certain foods (such as sweets) it will turn into a major binge and within one day I can counteract 2 weeks of hard work. Maybe just have 1 meal every 2 weeks where you eat whatever you want but keep the rest of the calories the same. Like ambabs said, make that day app. 500 calories more than normal. After it's over, if you can't get back on track easily, you might want to rethink your "cheat day". Everyone's different. You've got to find what works for you.
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:49 PM   #4
 
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Thanks for the input! I'm going to try allowing myself an extra 500 for sweets or something on paydays.
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Old 12-03-2005, 07:46 PM   #5
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My husband and I both have different strategies for this. He allows himself a day "off" every now and then. His rule so far is that he can't go and eat more than he woudl have before he started this new lifestyle.

I approach it from trying to get an AVERAGE of a certain number of calories/day, across a whole week. That automatically makes some days higher and some lower. So I might have a day every week or two I eat more, but that's balanced by very sensible eating most of the time.

I think both approaches allow for flexibility and indulgence. But I'm like you-- worried that indulgence could lead to binge, so I still write everything down every day, no matter what. Helps keep me accountable.

And, I think there are lots of ways to achieve that flexibility... Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:13 AM   #6
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Melissa, You will find that everyone has their own way of not feeling deprived. For myself, I set aside one meal a week where I may have some chocolate (my greatest weakness). That way I do not feel deprived and I find I have something to look forward to every week.
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:20 AM   #7
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I also vary calories...when I first started, I was more strict and NEVER ate treat foods. Now I work them into my calories and find that I can lose AND eat the foods I love (in controlled portions).

For instance, on weigh-in day, my meeting is in the morning and so I make that my highest calorie day and I allow myself to have a lunch or dinner that is a treat meal. I recently had oven fries with veggies chili and it was so satisfying and still within my calorie/fat range! I am learning to enjoy the food I eat more and am needing less of it to feel satisfied.

You'll find what works for you
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogini
I am learning to enjoy the food I eat more and am needing less of it to feel satisfied.
Oh, absolutely, me too!!
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:52 AM   #9
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I started to incorporate splurge days several years ago when I had been successful with the WW program. I was doing so great so why deprive myself every day, day in and day out? So I added a splurge day here and there. I stayed successful for a while. That led me to believe that I could add more and more splurge days until I went completely off track.

This time around, I decided to build more of the things I wanted into my daily caloric allowance. This way I don’t feel deprived and I’m not counting down the days until I can pig out. I need to do it this way to keep my focus. I still let the thought creep in every now and then but I have to remember that if I add days like this now it may throw me off track again. I don’t want that.

I’m not saying that having higher calorie days is a bad thing. I often vary the amount of calories I have in any given day or week. I know that a lot of people have been successful by allowing themselves a treat day (Howie and Kimberly immediately come to mind). I think that you need to become very aware of how you will respond to these treat days. Will it trigger more eating? Will you be able to get right back on track the next day?

I don’t mean to be a downer, I just wanted to share my experience with you. Keep us posted.

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Old 12-05-2005, 10:03 AM   #10
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Since I don't have access to a computer easily on weekends and I can't log my food, I let one of the days be a 'free day' where I eat pretty much what I want. The other day I can't log, but I keep in mind how many calories/etc. I've had for the day and keep it low.

A trick to this, I think, is that I don't tend to be a binger anyway... and I've found that even on my 'free' day when I can eat 'whatever I want!!' I don't eat much off plan.

I also will have one bite (literally! and a small one!) off of my boyfriend's treats when he has them. For me, just one bite of a piece of bread with -real butter- or a bite of pumpkin roll leftover from thanksgiving is enough to keep me happy. And I don't log that.

I think that adding 500 cals every pay day is a WONDERFUL way to add in a treat, and to keep it regular.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:55 AM   #11
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I also shoot for a weekly average of calories rather than a strict allotment each day. Although I usually fill out my higher calorie days with more of the healthier foods I normally eat, it does help when I want to build in a more indulgent treat (maybe a meal out, or a more decadent dessert, etc.).

In my opinion "free" days are counterproductive because it keeps the fat mentality alive - that underlying desire to eat whatever and whenever we want. But, if you are just talking about making room in your plan for the treats you really enjoy that is a whole different ballgame. Food should be savored and eating it should be a pleasurable experience. Food certainly should not be associated with guilt, pain, or failure. So, build room for the things you really love - just eat smaller portions of them less frequently. And ENJOY them when you do have them. Feeling guilty while you eat your treat (or after you've eaten it) just means you've wasted those calories because you aren't going to be any more satisfied than when you took the first bite.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawsmom
In my opinion "free" days are counterproductive because it keeps the fat mentality alive - that underlying desire to eat whatever and whenever we want.
jawsmom -- I think there's some truth to this... although that is what my husband is doing. I will note, however, that while he gives himself 1 day/week, in the past month, he has only had one of them! I think this is mostly because he is seeing that he ISN'T deprived "on-plan" -- he's eating a LOT less, but has retained the foods he liked before (plus including some new healthy foods he likes too!). We'll see what happens as times goes by...
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:34 PM   #13
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I'm with Jawsmom. My goal in this was to change the way I think about and use food. I had to discard my "fat" mentality rather than figure out how to satisfy it and still lose weight. I could write a book about this, but here's the jist:
  • I had a deeply ingrained, life-long problem with compulsive overeating and obesity. I had come to realize that the entire way I approached the world lead to my attitude about food. In order to lose weight and KEEP it off, I had to face that reality.
  • That reality meant that I had to treat my condition like a disease which I would manage (not cure) through a healthier lifestyle.
  • I hoped that one day I could have "treat" foods occasionally, and not have them trigger an overeating episode. Over time (in the months leading up to starting my program) I made peace with the idea that there were certain foods I might never have again. So be it.
  • I knew -- finally -- that a key to my success was going to be setting myself up for success. In other words, I would not throw needless temptation into my own face. That meant, in part, that I had to put myself through essentially a detox period. I needed to let the part of me that loved large quantities of calorie-dense food atrophy. Feeding it only kept it alive. Even watching food commercials on TV -- not to mention reading recipes, etc. -- feed the beast, as well. So, I cut myself off from my primary hobby -- cooking and reading about food -- in order to dry up those wants.
  • I had to change my attitude about those treats I wasn't having, too. The more time and energy I spent mourning them, wishing I could have them, etc., the more I wanted them. I needed to apply my energy to POSITIVE thoughts. For example, rather than telling myself I was "deprived," I reminded myself that I was never going to be like other people who either didn't care what they ate or could eat what they wanted without gaining. I was no longer a person who WANTED to eat without limits. I told myself this constantly even when I didn't feel it. Eventually I came to feel it.

Now, here I am 4 years later and here's my reality: Over the years I gradually incorporated richer foods. If I really really want something I'll have it, but I am much more selective about heeding that call. Having a treat isn't about a schedule or an initial impulse or external cues (i.e., movies = popcorn) -- it's about making thoughtful choices each day, each meal, each bite. I still have a problem with triggering, so when I'm feeling vulnerable I will protect myself by not having any rather than risk going overboard. Even when I do, I do not feel deprived, ever, even if I go weeks or months completely on plan. That's not because I'm different from any of you. It's because I finally recognize the difference between "fat" behaviors and attitudes, and healthy ones. Think about it: How many "naturally" slim people have a "cheat day?" Sure, they'll indulge in treats every now and then, and they may be health-conscious and watch what they eat, and cut back one day if they overdo it the day before. But they don't go around whining about all the food they can't have and figuring out ways to have it, and going through rituals of rationalization to let themselves off the hook.

One last thing ... I've said this many times before, but the language we use to talk to ourselves and each other is very powerful. It shapes our attitudes and the way we look at the world. Because of this, there are certain words I refuse to use in this context because they are so loaded and negative. One of them is "cheat." Dieters cheat. People who still want to live in their old fat food world cheat. Using the word cheat implies that you are being "bad" rather than making a conscious, well-considered choice. If you are reshaping your relationship with food, and putting richer foods in a different context, then there is no such thing as cheating.
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:44 PM   #14
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funie-
thank you.
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:03 PM   #15
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I've always had a treat day once a week. However more recently we have been doing just 600 extra calories on that day and we still Journal what we eat. It keeps it in check that way and we don't go on a binge.
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