Calorie Counters - Cheats, treats and an attitude adjustment--why this time is different

02-26-2010, 07:00 PM
So I've been calorie counting since January 5th and have lost 23 lbs so far. I've been here before. I get all excited to "change my life", I do good for 2 or 3 months then lose motivation and go back to my old ways. This time, though, I REALLY think it's different. There are a number of variables that I won't elaborate on here; but one of them, this time, is the fact that I've finally let go of my "all or nothing" mentality.

On my previous diet attempts, there's always a list of "banned" foods. I did low fat, which only made me want more. I did low carb, which only made me want more. I did "I can eat what I want except junk food and sweets", which only made me want more.

This time--though I have GREATY improved my eating habits--I can allow for occasional treats or "cheats" (if you want to look at it that way) and not feel like I've shot my entire plan to ****.

I allow myself a small piece of chocolate every day. (i.e., a "fun size" snickers bar or a couple of mini peanut butter cups.) And you know what? It's enough! I don't feel deprived but I'm still right on plan.

Tonight we're going to Applebees. I'm going to be "good" and have one of the under 550 calorie dinners, but I also have a planned splurge for a dessert shooter (haven't decided if I'm going to do the chocolate sundae or the cheescake!) It's 300 empty calories, but I've made room for it in my day. And in the scheme of my whole week, it's really not going to matter.

My old way of thinking would have had me beating myself up, calling myself a failure and deciding that I'm just going to be fat, so I might as well enjoy what time I have left by stuffing my face with any junk I can get my hands on. Not anymore!

I know some people feel better about avoiding "bad" food completely, and that is probably a healthier way to live...but for me, this is a much more realistic approach to the way I can live the rest of me life.

Yes, I've been 2 months in before. But this time, I have no intention of stopping.

02-26-2010, 07:08 PM
Good for you! It really is about a lifestyle change. I've come to realize that this is my life now and how it's going to be probably forever. I know that once I reach maitenance I will continue to journal and count and that my calorie choices won't be much, if any different than they are right now. Congratulations!

02-26-2010, 07:11 PM
Good for you! I'm definitely finding room for 2 slices of pizza every Thursday, had it last night. And I made room this morning for a chocolate croissant at a staff shindig. No, I don't treat like that every day, just last night and now this morning, back to back -- it's a coincidence! LOL

I'm exploring the difference between a splurge food I love, and an addictive type craving for crud that will not only blow my calories but make me feel bad. I guess the fact that I don't feel good after I eat crud is its own demotivator!

02-26-2010, 07:27 PM
What you're doing sounds perfect! It's what everyone should strive's called (drum roll, please): moderation! ;) Hehehehe! I'm cracking up because it sounds ever so simple and something that most of my friends do all the time. I, on the other hand, haven't been able to do it. If one of those fun size treats hits my lips, I want more and more and more!!! There are times I can handle eating it and not go off and give up, but I still will feel terribly guilt ridden over it. So, congrats on your new way of thinking! It sounds like this time really IS IT for you! Way to go! :)

02-26-2010, 07:54 PM
It is funny how everyone works differently. I was always one to say it is okay to have a treat, as long as a plan for it, and as long as it isn't all the time. In the end, it always backfired for me. I have went to cutting all added sugars out cold turkey. I don't plan on this being forever, just until I feel I have my sugar cravings under control. It is just easier for me to say a blanket no to all sweets than to have a small portion of a particular sweet, making me crave more. I actually have not had any cravings this way, whereas if I allowed myself to have some, I would crave it all the time. Everyone is different. Good for you for finding out what works best!

02-26-2010, 08:41 PM
you hit it right on the nose!Everything you said hit home with me.If I crave chocolate I usually get a Herseys kiss or a chocolate yogurt 0r a frozen treat like skinny cow or WW icecream.

02-26-2010, 09:48 PM
Way to go :) We sound similar in that regard. Like for example, tonight I had a large fries and soft serve cone from BK and I am still ending the day at 1600 calories because I planned for it :)

I am realizing that I CANNOT do the all or nothing thing. Sure, ideally we would get to a place where we never craved any 'junk' again or where we ate clean 100% of the time, but for me, having these 'cheats' or whatever you'd like to call them help trick my mind into thinking I can still 'eat whatever I want'... cuz I can.

They keys for me are: I can't have it in the house... yet. In other words, when I want a splurge, I have to actually leave my house and purchase the item which helps a lot. I don't keep trigger foods in the home for now.

Secondly, is planning. I don't starve myself through the day to binge at night. I will shave a few calories off each planned meal to have that splurge. I tend to be a 'night eater', so I will typically plan a small 'splurge' in the evening, once I KNOW I have already planned my calories for it.

Yay for you!

02-26-2010, 10:00 PM
NorthernExposure- I am doing the exact same thing...and I am much more content than I have ever been. I feel satisfied with my treats and have no guilt about it. I actually think it is healthy to learn how to eat all the things we love in moderation. If I denied myself anything, I'd be so much more likely to binge, been there-done that, so there is nothing off limits for me. I try to make overall healthy choices, fitting everything I eat into my calorie budget and enjoy treats in moderation. I generally come up short in calories even with a treat.

I just finished a Skinny Cow. LOL :D

02-26-2010, 10:02 PM
Woohoo! Way to go on finding a way that works for you! I love calorie counting, because it's helping me not to associate certain "bad" foods with guilt. If I account for the calories, it's ok for me to eat! The only thing I've denied myself entirely is soda, and I find that I don't miss that at all, but if I were to cut out chocolate, or other sweets, I don't know how long I would survive!

02-26-2010, 10:04 PM
I think it's very individual - there are some people who end up craving more and binging if they eat their "red light" food. But others can enjoy a small serving, feel satisfied and find that not having to use an all or nothing approach helps them stay on plan.

I used to try all of nothing but that backfired on me, because as soon as I'd have something "bad" (even if within my calories or points or whatever I was tracking), I'd say oops, I feel off my diet, might as well eat whatever I want now! And at 250+ pounds, you can see how well that approach worked for me! lol!

So I'm doing something different this time, which is allow the flexibility to build those treats into my plan. I'm not perfect and a couple of times, I've gotten slightly carried away. But mostly, it's just been the designated treat, and that's all and it doesn't start any bad cycle. I don't build in room for a treat every day, but honestly, I don't even want one every day. But for me, knowing that I COULD have it if I wanted is actually a big reason why I mostly don't even think about it, or if I do, I say, nah, don't really want it that much.

02-27-2010, 12:43 AM
I'm trying to go by the everything in moderation too. I can eat whatever I want as long as I plan it into my cals for the day. I am still avoiding pizza though. I can't seem to stop at a reasonable amount, so for now, I am just not eating it.

02-27-2010, 01:29 AM
I too have allowed for "treats". I usually eat out once a week, but plan for it. I have eaten pizza a few times since I started in Jan. But I planned for it.
For me, its all about the planning.
Nice post.

02-27-2010, 10:34 AM
I'm trying to go by the everything in moderation too. I can eat whatever I want as long as I plan it into my cals for the day. I am still avoiding pizza though. I can't seem to stop at a reasonable amount, so for now, I am just not eating it.

I don't know if this would work for you, but I have homemade pita pizza all the time. I lightly toast a medium pita (150 calories), use some no sugar pizza sauce (about 30 calories) and Kraft 2% mozzeralla (70 calories an ounce, I use about 2 oz but weigh it each time to count it all). Bake for about 7 minutes and cheesy pizza goodness!

02-27-2010, 11:55 AM
Thanks for all your feedback, everyone!

Yes, I totally get that this is an individual path for each of us, and we all have to find what works best for us. I too, am still learning to eat certain foods in moderation. It's still hard for me to stop at 2 pieces of pizza. I overdid it a bit on super bowl Sunday...oops! But I'm getting there.

But I'm so excited that I've learned to "master" moderation with certain foods. Much to DH's delight (he's not dieting), I CAN have chocolate and chips and a few other "junk foods" in the house. I am no longer tempted to eat the whole bag/package/whatever just because it's there. Since it's no longer "forbidden", I am OK with having just a little bit, or none at all.

Yes, such a simple concept, moderation. But to those of us with weight problems, wow...what an accomplisment it is to be able to live it.

BTW, I went with the cheesecake last night. It did come with strawberries, so I figured I could count it as a fruit. (LOL!)

Thanks again, ladies. You guys rock!

three herring
03-15-2010, 02:32 PM
I think it's wonderful that you found what works for you!

I live on a truck on the raod for 5 weeks at a time and then have 5 days off. On those 5 days, I have continued to count calories but allowed a higher amount. That ended up backfiring on me, as I saw a 4 pound increase after every home time from November through Feb, which I was able to lose once I was back on the road, but it is ridiculous for me to keep going through it. So on the next, I will not increase my calories and see how that helps.

It could be my age and sedentary lifestyle that may hold me closer to a set calorie range in order to continue to lose weight.

03-15-2010, 08:04 PM
Three herring...congrats to you for your weight loss so far! Your job must make it so difficult to stay on plan. Road food and not many opportunities for exericise when you work, then finally coming home and wanting to relax and enjoy your time off a little...I don't know if I would have done as well as you have!

I'm sure you'll find what works though. Good luck!

03-15-2010, 08:27 PM
Just wanted to congratulate on finding your way!

I'm still hoping to find mine, so thank you for sharing!

03-16-2010, 02:53 PM
I'm enjoying this post. I have always looked at it as we all have our own individual journey but we travel together. I plan for treats everyday. It's never over 100 calories and always in my calorie budget. The only time I was over was this past Saturday for my hubby's birthday. I plan for eating out so we can continue to have date nights. For me Planning is everything. I knew weeks ago that we were going out and where we would be going and I checked the website for nutrition info so I can plan my day. I try not to leave room for error and I work out 6 days a week.

It has been a great journey and I am actually having fun.

03-17-2010, 11:03 PM
I'm with you jigglefree...planning is everything. DH and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in two weekends. I want to have a REAL meal (I mean come on, it's been TEN years!), but not go completely crazy, so we're going to do seafood. So many wonderful low cal options (steamed crab legs, grilled shrimp, even lobster!) leaves me room to have a Casear salad--with real dressing--oh how I've missed full fat Caesar dressing--some rice pilaf and maybe even a small sweet treat afterwards :)

Don't get me wrong, it's going to be a lot more food than I usually eat in a meal...but my goal is to "break even" calorie-wise that day. I'm sure I won't lose, but if I don't gain, I consider that a win. One day of not losing after 3 months of losing is OK with me! Life happens, and we just have to roll with it :)