Weight Loss Support - What do you tell yourself to stop from cheating?

02-15-2011, 01:13 AM
I have been having cravings lately and I have stopped counting calories. I want to start again. What methods do you use top stop yourself from cheating? I have seen so many succeful women on this forum so if anyone has any advice for me please help me before it is too late

02-15-2011, 01:27 AM
for me, i say yeah i want that, it taste so good...but i want to be under 300 pounds, that will feel better than something that is in my mouth for a few seconds...so far its working pretty decent, and if i think i have to have something, i just allow it in my calories for that day

02-15-2011, 01:32 AM
"Cheating" isn't part of my vocab.

I'm either eating to maintain today or eating to lose today. Most of the time, I'm trying to eat to lose. Sometimes, I just want to eat to maintain because it's my kid's bday or it's a wedding or... you know. Life stuff.

I've got a long journey ahead, and I'm not going to stop living my life just because I want to lose weight along the way.

So I try to take the attitude of planned breaks, usually on Sat or Sun because that's usually when the social function or date night with DH happens. It also helps during the week when I can tell myself "It can wait til Sat/Sun. I'm not going to die if I don't have it right now."


02-15-2011, 01:47 AM
Right now I have a big bag full of sugar-free candy that I got for Valentine's Day and I got my shipment of three free Atkins bars earlier. Both are known to cause stalls on Atkins, so I'm going to try to limit myself to 1-2 pieces of sugar-free candy per week. I had 4 pieces tonight and I'd like to eat more, but losing weight is more important to me. I can have another piece next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.

If you want a treat, work it into your plan and your calories occasionally and you'll be fine. Once you lose a decent amount of weight you won't even want those foods anymore. You'll feel so happy and energetic and no amount of food is worth being happy with your body.

Larry H
02-15-2011, 01:47 AM
Being one of the older members at 66 years of age when tempted to cheat
I think about what my cardiologist told me.

He said "Look around. You will not see any old fat men. I looked around, he was right" That stops me from cheating. I figure this is my last chance
to choose and I choose life.

If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one. ~Cavett Robert

http://www.3fatchicks.net/img/bar013/slider-man2/lb/317/143/280/.png (http://www.3fatchicks.com/)

02-15-2011, 01:51 AM
I've learned that cravings are like pain - a lot easier to prevent than to get rid of.

For me, keeping my carb intake under control is a lot more effective than any self-talk because it prevents the cravings from occuring in the first place.

If I choose to eat something high in carb, and cravings ensue, I try to remind myself that I just have to ride it out. It will go away, my blood sugar will stabilize, I just have to wait it out. But this "white-knuckles" approach isn't always successful. But preventing the cravings always works a lot better than trying to tame them.

But if I do end up with cravings, even if I end up indulging them (I don't use the word "cheating" or "being bad" because it puts my head in a bad place), I try to remember that a slip doesn't have to become a nose dive. In the past, any small slip would be justification for a monster binge.

For me, getting on the scale helps, ideally before "cheating" or if necessary as soon as possible. It's counterintuitive to common weight loss wisdom, but for me it puts the indulgence in perspective.

Sometimes I'll do the "math" and decide how much weight the wanted food is going to add. Sometimes that can backfire, because I'll think "this candybar is only going to hold me back by 2 ounces. That's not bad.

And it isn't, if I only ate that one candybar, but the candybar usually inspires another craving (and I'll do the math again).

For me, journaling is key. Even if I indulge cravings, even if I eat off plan, I usually lose, and almost never gain that week. It's when I decide not to document the off-plan foods that I end up stalling or backsliding.

Writing everything reminds me that every bite matters. It keeps me conscious of what I'm eating.

02-15-2011, 02:49 AM
I find that trying to tell myself things to stop me from cheating hasn't worked for me. I've learned to prefer using various systems instead. Which has worked wonders for me.

A common approach I'd use to curbing a craving for example is this:

1. Drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes ...
2. If I still have the craving, eat a large salad with lite dressing just for flavor
3. wait another ten minutes ...
4. If I still have the craving at this point I'll just let myself have it

Doing this removes most of the cravings and does it without me walking away feeling low. Sure, some slip by, but doing this brings me to be doing it less and less over time.

I find that I progress faster by letting myself gradually move into it. If I try to shove myself too hard, I just backlash. What I mean is, when I shove myself and try to just bully myself into eating right, it just usually falls apart one day and I fall back to where I was and regain some weight.

Now that I've learned to progress forward a bit slower, I actually get far more results overall, because all of my results usually just disappeared every time I fell apart.

The best side of this of all is that I don't have so many emotional downs. I can progress with a smile. The value of that really is important to me.

Maybe try some alternative ways to get yourself to eat healthy. Relying on sheer willpower alone is often very painful.

02-15-2011, 02:51 AM
Like earlier posters have said, I don't think of it as cheating. Every single thing I eat will absolutely impact my weight and health, no matter what I want to believe. Unlike cheating on a test, which you may or may not get away with, you are 100% accountable for every "cheat"- or decision you make eating.

Every urge to "cheat" is instead, in my opinion, opportunity to make a decision- will I eat something detrimental to my hard work or supportive to my hard work that will get me further than my goal?

I don't restrict myself from any food, or view any food as good or bad. I can eat anything, I just have to ensure that it is part of a sensible diet. Eating one piece of pizza for lunch every now and then is fine, as long as my breakfasts and dinners are lower in calorie and fat than usual. Having a piece of cake for dessert is fine, as long as it's a small portion and the rest of my diet that day has been on track.

If you're talking about what to tel yourself when you do want to take that second slice of pizza or grab a piece of cake after having a candy bar at lunch, then like kaplods said, take a minute and think. For me I require myself to take 5 breaths before I make a decision like that. Breath in and out 5 times and think to yourself if this is a decision you want to make. Think of how hard you've worked and how well you ate earlier in the day. Think of the last good workout you had. Think of how cute you look or will look in your favorite pair of jeans. Sometimes- this may sound a little weird- I'll put my hand on my waist or thigh or another body part I've worked hard to reduce- and remember what unhealthy food will do to that part that I'm so proud of. Is it REALLY worth it? Usually in 5 breaths I'm able to remind myself it isn't.

But the craving isn't squelched if I go a step farther and replace what I was going to eat (pizza) with something else (small piece of toast with low-fat bruschetta topping). There are lots of low-calorie/lo-fat foods you can nibble on if you are really craving something you don't think is right for you at that time. Light hot chocolate, popcorn with a little salt, frozen yogurt, etc. It's not about restricting yourself, it's about providing yourself with better alternatives to old habits.

Good luck!

katy trail
02-15-2011, 03:03 AM
ok, what they said, and remember it's never too late. you don't have to throw the rest of the day, week, month, out the window because you 'cheated'.

just educating myself about which foods have what kind of calories and fat (i need to eat fairly low fat, but healthy) helps me realize what i SHOULD be eating compared to my 'normal' foods which weren't that bad, but could use some improvement. being careful about measuring oil, or learning to use it less helped me alot. tons of foods you can learn to switch in for the flavors you want, but healthier. like they were saying above.

Nola Celeste
02-15-2011, 03:07 AM
You've gotten some excellent advice. The only thing I could add is a technique I learned here from another poster. She would simply tell herself, "I don't need to eat ___ right now; the company that makes them will still be in business in a week or a month or a year. I may have one later, but not today." It's something I used often earlier when I had more of a taste for foods that don't fit well into my calorie allotment.

I don't "cheat." I've banished the notion of cheating from my mind because there is really no such thing. Anything I eat will affect me; I can hide it from my journal or pretend like I didn't eat that order of beignets, but I can't make my body pretend they never happened. All food counts, whether I actually count it or not.

Are your cravings happening more because you're just bored with your plan? If so, there might be other things you can eat that you'll enjoy, but that'll still be novel enough to you that you aren't thoroughly sick of them yet. I know that sometimes, it does get a little old; you might just need to shake things up with a few new foods. :)

One thing's for sure: you look healthy and happy and beautiful thanks to eating well lately. I actually did a double-take at your screen name now that you changed your picture--you look really radiant! Keep up that good work; it's paying off. :cheer:

02-15-2011, 08:31 AM
I don't think I get "cravings" the way some other people talk about them, where I have to have one particular taste and nothing else will do. But, I do get tempted, often - both to overeat at home, and by various treats in my environment.

What I try to tell myself when temptation strikes is, "This is not the last _____ you will ever get to try." That works great for the regular temptations like the bagel spread or cookie spread at work, because I can always say "eh, not today" - it will be back next week. It also works for things like the snacks put out at my condo meeting the other night - they were nice, but they were "just" nuts, plantain chips, and ginger cookies from Trader Joe's - nothing I'd never seen before, nothing I'd never see again.

I suppose there are some truly extraordinary eating opportunities where this technique is a little more challenging, but if I am very discriminating and honest with myself, those are very few and far between. For example, at my department potluck a couple of weeks ago, there were many items present that, taken literally, it would have been my only chance to try. So, I had to look at them very critically and ask, is it worth not losing weight this week just to eat some of that? Most of the time, the answer is no.

Sometimes, very rarely, it is worth slowing my loss that week for some truly unique opportunity to eat something. Making room in my plan for truly special eating occasions has been part of my plan, and part of my success - even though it sometimes means I don't lose as fast as other people. (Sometimes being the key word there!) Otherwise, when it's just a garden-variety temptation, I just tell myself "eh, not today."

02-15-2011, 08:42 AM

1. Work it into my calories for the day if I really want something.
2. Drink water and have some fruit or raw veggies.
3. Chew gum.
4. Really think about my emotions. Am I hungry, or am I angry/lonely/stressed/etc? If I am anything but hungry, I will find something else to do to get my mind off of it and the craving usually goes away. If I'm really hungry, I'll allow myself to have something "healthier" that meets my craving (Popcorn if I want salt/crunchy, fruit or sugar free pudding if I want something sweet, for example).

02-15-2011, 11:52 AM
I can usually talk myself out of it rather than resorting to a replacement...usually, but not always.

I will tell myself that it is SOOOOO not worth the guilt OR the extra work needed to "make up" for that mistake. I see so many people say they will just workout harder or "reorganize" their calorie limit for the week (take those calories from tomorrow to make up for today's mistake). Ummm, no thanks! I hate exercising as it is and for me it just isn't worth messing up what I've already planned for the day/week to eat or workout schedule.

If I MUST have something, I might do a swap like no dessert after dinner in exchange for eating x,y,z now. But I don't like doing that, I am a stick to the original plan type person.

It takes practice and patience, but you will get there!

02-15-2011, 12:00 PM
I remind myself of how many minutes of hard exercise it will take me to burn those X calories in whatever_it_is_I'm_craving.

LTs girl
02-15-2011, 12:07 PM
Stop. Take a breath. Tell yourself "I am in control of what I put in my mouth"

Drink some water.


02-15-2011, 12:17 PM
I am learning to look for alternatives.

The other night I was craving sweets, I looked high and low in my house for something sweet (and not awful for me), and had a hard time finding something.

Eventually I came up with a plan. I broke up 2 ice cream cones (just the cones,15 cals each), defrosted some frozen fruit (unsweetened, 45 cals), and some Nutrawhip (1 serving, 60 cals), total was 120 calories,was a good snack, and totally killed the craving!

02-15-2011, 12:37 PM
I have to agree with Kaplods. keeping my carbs under control helps with cravings A LOT. So does getting good sleep every night. The better I sleep and the less simple carbs I eat (i've had TWO simple carbs in 6 weeks - both yesterday and I didn't go overboard and was STILL under what most people allow for carbs in a day at my weight).

it's the first time I haven't craved sweets like ever - by just not allowing them in my diet, period. It was a bit difficult the first three days and then it was over. I eat an apple every day, an orange every other day or blueberries and that's my sweet. otherwise it's veggies, beans and some meat - no pasta, no rice, no sweetened anything.

02-15-2011, 01:38 PM
I ask myself "what do I want more? A moment of enjoying something, which isn't that great or worth it, or to be fit and healthy". I am tired of being overweight, tired, having no energy for anything. Not wanting to enjoy myself while on vacation. Not wanting to go swimming in my pool, at the gym or a resort because of what I look like in a bathing suit. I want to enjoy life! Go on dates with my husband that do not include just sitting at the theater! I want to get out and do something! Go hiking, biking, boating.....something! :)

02-15-2011, 01:41 PM
1. Work it into my calories for the day if I really want something.
2. Drink water and have some fruit or raw veggies.
3. Chew gum.
4. Really think about my emotions. Am I hungry, or am I angry/lonely/stressed/etc? If I am anything but hungry, I will find something else to do to get my mind off of it and the craving usually goes away. If I'm really hungry, I'll allow myself to have something "healthier" that meets my craving (Popcorn if I want salt/crunchy, fruit or sugar free pudding if I want something sweet, for example).

^Exactly what I was going to say! And...
5. Think about the effort of documenting it in my calorie counter. Do I know the brand and exact portion? Plug it in first, make sure I'm still on track for calories, and enjoy if it fits. (Mindless munching has come to a complete stop because of the administrative effort of it)

Jo Kittibuck
02-15-2011, 02:15 PM
This may not be true for everyone, but I noticed a connection in myself between getting cravings late at night and being lower in weight on the scale the next morning. It used to be that those late night pangs were the hardest to stay focused through. But now that I recognize it as a sign of good news soon to follow, it's so much easier to not give into them.

So my suggestion would be, if you're craving something, see it as a symptom of your body burning off the calories. Not something to be acted on, but merely a side effect of your progress.

02-15-2011, 03:41 PM
I think there are a variety of strategies that we can use. At some point in my weight loss, I've used most of the excellent advice posted on this thread. The things I keep coming back to are:

- Don't buy it, don't bring it in the house. At a party/social function, don't go near it. Avoid restaurants where I am tempted to overeat. It's easier to avoid temptation than to overcome it.

- Track it BEFORE you bite it. I see how the candy/chocolate/cake affects my day (or week) before I do it. This is often enough for me to cool off and realize that keeping my calorie deficit is more valuable than the momentary pleasure.

- Think of resisting cravings as exercising my "resistance muscle." This is a phrase borrowed from Dr. Judith Beck's books, and it's SUCH a useful tool for me. And, the more I exercise this muscle, the easier it does become.

02-15-2011, 07:15 PM
If I am using the excuse that I am hungry, I ask myself "Are you hungry enough to eat an apple?". If the answer is yes, then I eat the apple and usually find that really, I just wanted anything. If I answered no, then it's just a craving and I try to distract myself. If I have enough points leftover (I am in WW), I might have a small portion of it.

02-15-2011, 07:19 PM
Another thing we do here in the house is to be prepared:

- I have a chip problem and I know that if I suddenly have a craving for chips, I'm going to walk over to the store and get a big bag of chips and eat them all. So, now I have snack sized bags of chips that fit within my points budget and I occasionally treat myself to those. We do the same thing with ice cream: BEFORE we have the craving for it, we buy single-serving skinny cow ice cream cups, or WW Ice Cream bars. It seems to control those things.

02-15-2011, 07:28 PM
When I get a craving I first either drink some water or tea, then wait a minute and see if it has passed. If I have real true hunger, I eat something filling and satisfying. If the craving persists I either try to distract myself, think if there is some dietary imbalance causing the craving and try to correct it, or have a small amount of whatever it is. I try to eat really clean and healthy, but if I have a craving for french fries that won't go away I have a few fries along with filling and healthy foods so I won't be as tempted to eat more than my controlled portion.

02-15-2011, 08:25 PM
I don't get a lot of cravings lately because I've reduced my carb intake, but when I do feel the pangs, I drink water first to see if it will go away. If the cravings are still there after two full glasses of water, then I let myself have a little of whatever it is I'm craving. But since my stomach is already full of water by this time, I don't get to eat a lot and I still get my fix.

Cali Doll
02-15-2011, 09:05 PM
I just ask myself which one is more important to me right now, eating a bag of cheddar flavored potato chips OR the euphoria of admiring my reflection in store windows and my image in pictures and my naked body in my mirror.

But, I'll tell you, sometimes I chose the chips. :P I'm a work in progress.

02-15-2011, 09:33 PM
I second looking for a healthy alternative.

I have been eating too many carbs lately, and the cravings have come back in full force... so I'll have to correct that!

02-15-2011, 09:44 PM
Usually, when I have a craving for something that I'd consider cheating if I ate it, the craving is because eating it would momentarily make me feel good.. so I ask myself what will make me feel better: waking up the next day feeling great because I had been on plan, or the small amount of time it would take me to eat and enjoy the cheat item.. but then the resulting guilt in knowing that it has set me back another day from getting where I want to be.

02-15-2011, 10:20 PM
This works better for me than imagining myself at my goal weight, or any other self-talk. I remind myself that I can always have some later when I am not working on weight loss. "This is not the last peice of_____ on earth. You don't have to eat it all or eat any of it right now, it will always be here"

02-16-2011, 12:47 AM
Thanks everyone! I am going to try what ome of you mentioned waiting and counting to 5 and drinking water when I get a craving. I've never even tried it because it seem terrifying. But if it works for someof you then it may work for me too! Thanks everyone!
One thing's for sure: you look healthy and happy and beautiful thanks to eating well lately. I actually did a double-take at your screen name now that you changed your picture--you look really radiant! Keep up that good work; it's paying off.
Thanks Nola! I have been making healthier choices!

02-16-2011, 01:07 AM
If it's a reasonable time of day and you have the means, taking a walk outside and calling someone on the phone can be a nice distraction.

Also, apples are really filling.

02-16-2011, 02:20 AM
I like looking at how many calories and think about how long I will have to walk on the tradmil to burn the calories. From time I do eat what I want but I try to eat it for breakfast. So i burn it off on my exercises and daily activitys.

02-16-2011, 07:36 AM
I always ask myself "Is it worth it to me?" Is that brownie worth going to the gym tonight when I wasn't going to go? Is it worth cutting out my evening glass of wine? Is it worth cutting back on the great work I've done the rest of the day?

I do what some other posters do and track before I eat it to really assess the outcome. If I can eat it and still stay healthily in my calories for the day, well then I do. If I decide its not worth it, I make some tea. Tea has been my "drug of choice", so to speak, when I just need something.

I also try to keep better alternatives on hand. For example, if I'm craving something sweet, I'll go for the jolly rancher in my pocket rather than the brownie.

But sometimes, the brownie is just plain worth it. I eat it, I track it, and I -try- to adjust to make it fit (add gym time, cut out after dinner dessert, etc). If I go over, well, I forgive myself and start the next day fresh.

02-16-2011, 08:09 AM
My husband rebuild my laptop. He set all our family photos as streaming screensavor. I see how "hot" I used to look....

It is motivating me a great deal.

02-17-2011, 08:45 AM
I tell myself: "Well, it's not going anywhere."

Often I want to eat something because it's that feeling of missing out on it, but if i tell myself that it's always going to be available and that I can have it when I've lost a few more pounds it seems to help. We always want what we think we're missing out on.

If that doesn't work than have a small glass of water or chew some gum - wait five minutes and see how you feel then.

I started a blog (dukanfatbuster on blogspot) to keep my mind of it - I'm on my seventh day on the Dukan diet and it seems to be going fine - I've lost seven pounds in six days.

02-17-2011, 03:33 PM
it's never too late. if you mess up, don't think of your mistake as an end to your weight loss plan -- it ends nothing unless you allow for it to.

i normally don't get cravings anymore, although i did in the beginning; after you've been on plan for a long enough amount of time, everything gets so much easier. when i do get cravings, if i'm craving something sweet i eat oatmeal or a fiber one bar -- sometimes i even allow myself a small ice cream cone. i've all but eliminated french fries from my diet, but when i crave them, i allow myself to have a small order and account for the calories in my plan.

so long as you're counting calories, small slips are going to be okay -- just account for them.