Weight Loss Support - Cheat days???...yes? no?




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squishy lee
06-28-2011, 09:35 AM
Do you give yourself cheat days? I'm new to dieting but I've heard both ways...do you think a weekly cheat day is motivating or devastating?

If yes:
*How often?
*Even the slightest bit limited?
*At the beginning of the diet or at the end?



It's only day two but I'm missing chips and queso :(


sacha
06-28-2011, 09:44 AM
No. Most of us are here because we had issues with eating and/or portion control. While a "free day" may work for some people, it is often a license to bender for most 3FC women.

Many people find a weekly planned treat MEAL (not day) is something pleasant to look forward to and helps take the edge off. I incorporate a treat meal into my weekly plan - it is whatever I want, within reason. And it's not a crappy meal - it's something nice and enjoyable.

I think you'll find many people who start slipping in full-on cheat days tend to end up right back where they started.

aimeebell
06-28-2011, 09:47 AM
I don't think I would plan to have a regularly scheduled off plan day, but have you considered an occasional guilt-free meal on a weekly or bi-weekly basis? I didn't do too much of that in the beginning, but lately have been indulging in a restaurant meal once a week or so. Me, if I wanted chips and queso, I would eat it. I would just have a one-serving size. 10 chips and 2 T of queso for around 200 or so calories. That is what keeps me on track, eating whatever I want, just a little bit of it. Find what works for you.


Riemontana
06-28-2011, 10:02 AM
I plan favorite treats into my plan. I also allow for a celebration meal/treat such as birthdays, holidays, etc. I try to allow for the carbs and calories on those days.

I struggle with "cheat" days because my approach is that I am not on a diet - I have implemented a lifestyle change. Weightloss is a postive consequence of that change.

Good luck

JoJoJo2
06-28-2011, 10:13 AM
I don't do "cheat" days. Not ever.

Now, I may overeat occasionally, but I certainly don't call it "cheating."

Actually I don't even like the word "cheat."

I've changed the way I eat. I've lost weight. I've improved my lifestyle. I'm happy with where I am. I have no intention of "cheating" myself ever again.

I guess the bottom line is that I'm afraid if I started "cheating" occasionally I would find myself on that slippery slope of regaining the weight I have so carefully lost and I certainly don't want to do that again.

:wave:

WeightForMe
06-28-2011, 10:15 AM
i always had a monthly cheat. Out to dinner anything i wanted. To keep sane and something to look forward to so i didn't binge. BUT i must say after the cheat it was hard to get back on track. Everyones diff do whats best for you.

mmm chips n queso! thats my FAV too.

FitGirlyGirl
06-28-2011, 10:19 AM
I am with Riemontana on this. If I'm not on a diet there is no such thing as "cheating". I allow myself to sometimes have things I would not normally eat, especially during special times. I don't worry about gaining a bit on holidays or vacations for instance. Normal people who have never struggled with their weight gain at those times, why should I be different? Most people who have never had weight problems eat ice cream now and then, they just don't eat tubs and tubs of it. When I do have a treat, I try to change the rest of my day (or the next day or 2) to accommodate it. If I really want some fries at lunch then I will have a lighter dinner than I might otherwise have had, for instance. I try to look at it as creating a new normal for myself that is more like the normal that people of a healthy weight have. I used to think of it as rules and such and I gave myself a cheat meal which led to a cheat day which led to a cheat week which led to me not caring for months and gaining back nearly 30 pounds which I am still a few pounds away from re-losing.

sunlover
06-28-2011, 10:22 AM
No I do not have 'cheat days'. I have occasionally had 1 bite of something if I really want it, but I do not give myself full days of just eating whatever I want. To me it would be like sabotaging myself. It is too hard to get back on plan if I go off. I would just be cheating myself. But I do find that if there is something I am really craving...I just go ahead and eat it and get it over with. Then move on...and dont beat yourself up about it.

fatferretfanatic
06-28-2011, 10:25 AM
I don't do cheat days, but I do mental health days. If I do a cheat day, I feel like I am cheating myself. On my mental health days I let myself go on about my life without logging calories-about once a month. Do I eat whatever? No. I eat reasonably just like I would always do, but without the strict feeling of a regular day. Then, the next day I go back to counting. I feel like by doing this, I am giving a gift to myself, letting myself know that I do trust my own judgement. Everyone is different though, and what works for me might not be someone else's thing.

ERHR
06-28-2011, 10:28 AM
I don't "cheat." Occasionally I will make a mistake, but it's not intentional. I picked a diet that is flexible and enjoyable so honestly I don't want to go off-plan.

zoodoo613
06-28-2011, 10:37 AM
I don't do cheat days, but I would be able to eat those chips and queso without cheating. The other responders had some good suggestions: a treat meal, small treats incorporated into the plan.

Your last question, at the beginning or the end of the diet, raised a question for me. There is no end. There's the beginning and the rest is the middle. You might reach goal at some point, but that doesn't mean it's over. You said in your introduction that you haven't changed the way you eat. Well, you'll have to if you want to lose the weight and keep it off.

I don't ever have a day when I'm allowed to eat whatever I want, because way too many of those days lead me to where I am right now. I do believe that there are healthier and less healthy ways of eating. But I also know that there are plenty of thin people out there who don't always follow the rules of what I think is healthy eating. Thin people eat cake. They've done it right in front of me. So what's different? Some of them have terribly unhealthy diets and they're skipping nutritious food to eat just enough crap to not get fat. Most of them, however don't eat much cake, or very often. That's what I want to learn how to do. So on my plan, I can eat cake, or chips, or pizza. Just not every time the opportunity presents itself. And I can't have much when I do have it. And I recognize that this is the way it has to be forever.

Beach Patrol
06-28-2011, 10:43 AM
I've learned that "cheat days" bite me in my arse!!! :o

While the day is yummy & carefree, the next day -or to be more accurate- the next FIVE to SEVEN days are "scale up" and I find that not quite so "yummy" or "carefree".

So I've learned to have "cheat meals" - but it's really NOT cheating, because I eat whatever I like, I just work it into my 1500 calorie-per-day plan. So if I want to have mexican for lunch (including chips & salsa w/white cheese!!!) then I do it... but I REALLY scale back for dinner AND breakfast on the following day. This helps me keep on plan and also enjoy foods that I love.

Also, thru counting calories, I have learned that some foods, while totally delicious, just AREN'T WORTH THE CALORIES! So I have been choosing lower-caloric meals by looking at it in this light. AND IT'S WORKING. And hey, ain't that the point? ;)

170starting
06-28-2011, 10:57 AM
I give myself one cheat MEAL every two weeks. I think a day would be too much for me because I would feel the need to eat everything in sight...which would most-likely set me back a long way. :(

squishy lee
06-28-2011, 11:01 AM
I understand what everyone is saying...I should stop thinking of my weight loss as a temporary situation. If I can successfully lose the weight, I WILLhave to change my habits and hopefully counting my calories will teach me that what I was doing before was just too much.

I guess I just approached my diet as a rule based punishment for getting chubby....I can't have cake for a while, I can't have (blank) for a while. I need to realize that my overindulgence in these things is what got me where I am and unless I'm a masochist, I don't want to pick right back up once I drop the pounds just to end up right back where I started…being punished.

I probably don’t have the will power to allow treats right now…I know myself well enough to see that I won’t stop at one serving…maybe someday, I guess…It’s a harsh realization that I can’t ever be that teen who ate a whole cake and weighed 115 with no problem. I miss her.

ShanIAm
06-28-2011, 11:08 AM
I give myself one cheat MEAL every two weeks. I think a day would be too much for me because I would feel the need to eat everything in sight...which would most-likely set me back a long way. :(

Yup. It's allowing yourself a cheat meal, not an entire day. The first 3 months, no cheating. In the 3rd through 6th month, one cheat meal a month. Now, I'm at two. But I also plan it. I will eat very very healthy before this meal to decrease the amount of guilt I always have after I eat something yummy. And if I don't do well that day, I reschedule the meal. But like others said, if you don't think you can handle it, then don't do it. At least, not yet. Work your way up to it. And honestly, you'll be surprised how much you see that it's not really worth it in the end. :)

zoodoo613
06-28-2011, 11:08 AM
You shouldn't punish yourself. Life happens. But I think it's probably a good idea to go cold turkey from your worst trigger foods for a while, not as a punishment, just as a reset. Once you get the hang of healthy, moderate eating, you can start allowing yourself those foods as treats, not gorge fests.

joyfulloser
06-28-2011, 11:12 AM
I think the ALL or NOTHING mentality is what really sabotogues weight loss efforts in the long and short runs!

For me...I ate CHEAT MEAL once/week during my weight loss journey. That made the process painless as I never felt deprived and was motivated to stay "on plan" during the rest of the week in anticipation of having my favorite foods at the end of the week (i.e. jamaican food takeout, pizza, chinese, thai, etc.) It helped keep my metabolism "guessing" so I never stalled (like you see so many do here), the entire 60 lbs lost).:)

Now that I'm in maintenance....I no longer need to use the word CHEAT MEAL. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. There is no food "off-limit" and I don't go perserk on goodies like cookies, icecream, muffins and pies because I've eaten them all along. They were never "off-limit", so the TABOO of eating them is gone...and so is the urge to overeat them as if I'll never see another cookie again!:dizzy:

Fix the head/mind....and the body will follow!;) All the best.:)

Donna Donut
06-28-2011, 01:59 PM
I don't have a cheat meal or day. I do however have occasions of eating out socially at a restaurant that may not have the best choices. I guess you could consider one of those nights a cheat meal, but I do the best I can at the given restaurant and watch my calories the day before/of/after that meal more strictly than usual.

Having said that, I am looking forward to a cupcake on my birthday and lunch at my favorite Italian place. I know I will go over on my calories and it's high carbs but I won't feel guilty. I'll just watch my calories for the next week and throw in extra minutes of exercise. In fact, my birthday will start at the gym. :)

SouthLake
06-28-2011, 02:25 PM
Do I go off plan for the sake of going off plan? No. However, I celebrated my 5 year wedding anniversary last week with hot cheesy crab dip, lobster bisque (extra cream!) prime rib, cheesecake, and half a bottle of wine. On Christmas, I have some of my mom's amazing cheesecake. When I go on Dinseyland trips, I don't pay attention to what I'm eating, but I split everything with my husband.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't generally go off plan because I need a break from my "diet". I do, however, go off plan for something that is truly worth it, and because life isn't about 100% perfection. (Now, picking what is "worth it", that's a totally different battle. ) But, if I am planning on living this way, I'm not willing to completely eliminate foods forever. I can ban them to once a year though :) *ahem* Mom's Bailey's Irish cream white chocolate cheescake....

christine123
06-28-2011, 02:36 PM
I agree with Joyfull. I did calorie zigzagging which naturally allowed me to have a day with more calories than usual. It helped me avoid a plateau, I lost the weight consistently, and the days that were harder, I was motivated because of my "high day" coming up. The issue arose in that I did not practice maintenance at all and had no idea how to work it. So here I am AGAIN after re-gaining all but 15lbs back. That was my version of a cheat day but I never termed it that and I still practiced portion and calorie control.

Renwomin
06-28-2011, 03:07 PM
I do eat higher calorie meals sometimes, but like others who have posted here I don't consider them "cheat meals". I've lost plenty of weight on restrictive "diets", but gained it right back. Now I'm looking to make a lifestyle change for lasting success. I'm trying to find a way to eat NOW that I can be happy with the rest of my life. That means sometimes I'll eat a higher calorie meal or food item. I can't imagine going the rest of my life without doing so, can you?

Ideally, when I eat something I know is higher calorie I stop and really try to taste it and consider a few things. Does this really taste good? Is the experience/taste worth the extra calories I'm consuming? If the answer is "no" then I stop eating it.

Like others, I also make adjustments in my daily and weekly diet when I consume higher calorie meals.

spryng
06-28-2011, 03:19 PM
yeah I guess the word "cheat" is such a negative thing that nobody wants to say it, so they say, a free meal or day.. or off plan.. or higher calories meal, etc etc but I think in all honesty everyone goes off plan during their weightloss journey. I did weight watchers years ago and lost 70 lbs and I'd stick to my points all week and then each weekend just go off, eat what I liked then right back on monday's.. it worked for me. I lost the weight (maybe slower than I could have) but I did it without feeling like I was missing out on my favorite high calorie foods etc. Course when I changed plans things drastically changed for me and I'd beat myself up for "cheat" meals or days and it took its toll. But actually this was a interesting topic for today because I just downloaded the book from Paul Rivas MD called The Cheater's Diet. Take the weekends off dieting and still lose weight. I just love the concept since it takes me back to the days I did just that and lost 70 lbs. Of course this doesn't mean binge like crazy each weekend, LOL but to eat healthy all week then enjoy that pizza and beer if you want come saturday... enjoy that chocolate.. never beat yourself up anymore for the word "cheat" but know it's part of a proven plan that works. Anyway, that is my thoughts on this today. I can't wait to start it and see how it works. :)

darway
06-28-2011, 09:58 PM
This question comes up every so often on here, and I think whether it is a successful thing depends on one's own psyche and self control. I understand the theory, that by briefly revving up your metabolism it'll help break a plateau... but I find that any cheat days will extend me out onto a plateau, and delay what I'm trying to accomplish. I'd rather just stay on plan and keep losing.

Routine works for me, and I have been able to largely train myself to "not seek" crummy food anymore. Why have that cheat day, which re-activates old instincts, that I have to beat down again? Stick to plan, don't mess it up... that's what I've learned.

Serbrider
06-28-2011, 10:08 PM
For me... I refuse to set very stringent rules. Otherwise my first instinct is to rebel against them (stupid independent personality). So...

I'm doing IF... but I don't have a set window.
I'm calorie counting... but I can eat whatever I want, and as much as I want... as long as I stay around 1500 calories (preferably under).
I'm eating healthy... but if I eat something unhealthy I'm not cheating or ruining myself.


I definitely admire those who are able to make a plan and stick to it. But for me... just can't do it that way. There are just WAY too many variables in my own life. So... for me... no matter how I eat... what I eat... when I eat... etc... I aim for healthier... but I'm never "cheating" or breaking any rules... because there aren't really any rules...

works for me at least. :)

Scarlett
06-28-2011, 10:09 PM
You shouldn't punish yourself. Life happens. But I think it's probably a good idea to go cold turkey from your worst trigger foods for a while, not as a punishment, just as a reset. Once you get the hang of healthy, moderate eating, you can start allowing yourself those foods as treats, not gorge fests.

I like this. I Don't say I can't have trigger foods, I say "They don't work for me" Meaning I could have them if I wanted to, but I know myself and my history and have concluded that it's not a good idea. I prefer to not play with fire.

krampus
06-28-2011, 11:34 PM
I have had free weekends for my entire weight loss journey and continue to do so now. I'm more or less maintaining 5-10 lbs above goal. I eat a LOT on the weekends so weight loss has been slow, it took me 8 months to go from 158 to 125 and I regained a few.

Everyone is different.

canadianwoman
06-28-2011, 11:37 PM
No because I have issues with binge eating that I am trying to get under control.

Lovely
06-28-2011, 11:59 PM
I don't like the word "cheat".

I sometimes plan more calories. Or I allow myself a treat every once in a while that I normally wouldn't eat. (Like a cannoli for my birthday.)

But I don't call it a cheat. It's not a cheat. It was planned. I was vigilant.

The second I think about cheating, I think of those days when I'd just eat everything with no moderation, no end in site. That's not going to help me change all of my habits in the long run.

Treats are fine. Cheats are not.

Rosinante
06-29-2011, 04:33 AM
I'm with the majority:
I don't do Cheat, because the word has negative connotations - it's my choice to eat healthily, why should I cheat myself?
I don't do regularly planned Indulgences, because my mindset would start increasing them, eating a bit more up to them and away from them.
I don't do stringent denial but I do do calorie counting, so that I can save up for or cut back because of a planned indulgence - but that is absolutely Not going off plan, it's part of the plan.

Of course, this is when I've got the right head on and am really concentrating, which doesn't happen all the time!

If it works, it works.

gagalu
06-29-2011, 05:08 AM
my cheat means a day where i consume 1500-1700 calories instead of 1200, looool. but i do plan a higher calorie meal occasionally if i know i'm going to need some wiggle room.

Esofia
06-29-2011, 05:15 AM
Good heavens, no. Occasionally I have bigger meals, e.g. going out to a restaurant, but they're planned and the calories balanced out overall. Even if they turn up at the last minute, it's still easy to balance the calories over the next few days so that my weekly average remains steady. I certainly don't fuss over them.

I really hate this terminology of shame you get around dieting. It's incredibly destructive, and it's what has caused many of us to be so messed up about food to start with.

Riestrella
06-29-2011, 06:16 AM
No, I don't have cheat days. My mum has cheat weekends and all I've seen it do is keep her overweight and unhappy. She drinks a lot of wine as a way to unwind from the week at work and she just doesn't understand that doing that completely messes up her weight loss plans in the long run =/.

Angelique
06-29-2011, 07:27 AM
Good heavens, no. Occasionally I have bigger meals, e.g. going out to a restaurant, but they're planned and the calories balanced out overall. Even if they turn up at the last minute, it's still easy to balance the calories over the next few days so that my weekly average remains steady. I certainly don't fuss over them.

I really hate this terminology of shame you get around dieting. It's incredibly destructive, and it's what has caused many of us to be so messed up about food to start with.

Agree with this 100%. I think cheat days caused me to think about food too much and I really didn't like that. And not allowing myself to eat certain foods is not realistic and certainly not the way I want to live the rest of my life. Now I just work it in. I refuse to feel guilty about something like food anymore. Guilt with food = failure with weight loss.

celrae
06-29-2011, 08:13 AM
I love my cheat day. I don't binge eat during that time. I make a list of items that I am craving and have 1-3 of those and some wine.:D On my last cheat day I got ice cream, the scoop was too big so I tossed the rest. But I have cut bad carbs from my diet and a little goes a long way for me.

ButterCup85
06-29-2011, 08:41 AM
I don't call it cheats like many of the others don't. I eat healthy most of the time. Last night I wanted a kit kat bar, so I got one. Before my journey about 2 1/2 months ago I'd have a batch of cookies and brownies sitting in the house to eat with the ice cream I'd have to. I also eat subway 2 or 3 times a week, a healthy sandwich and I had BBQ for lunch yesterday as well. Do I feel bad? Nah. Did I over eat? No. I've pretty much done this the whole time, I still eat things I want just not as OFTEN as I normally would. For me, it's kept me on track and it's easier to change my lifestyle knowing I can have treats sometimes and I can eat out sometimes. If I were to cut out everything fattening or sweet. I wouldn't stick to it. I am doing what I can stick to for life, not for a month or a year. So far, I'm happy. I may alter it as I go. I'm not going to worry about that just yet either.

In the beginning for me, it's about SLOW changes. Not feeling bad about food especially if you are doing good MOST of the time. Life is short, losing weight takes a while. I'm not going to quit eating things I enjoy just to binge on it and gain all the weight back.

I can say I do agree with stopping things you are addicted to or eat way too much of. My first month, I quit drinking sodas (that has stuck so far they are so gross now) and I didn't eat any sweets at all except 1 lick of icecream off a cone. I don't even crave sugar much, and after my kitkat bar last night my stomach was tore up- which means I don't enjoy it much anymore so I'll probably have 1 stick next time or not one at all. Your body changes with you, healthier things will come over time, even on those "cheat" meals or treats it may not be so fun to how your more healthy body reacts to the overload of sweets and unhealthy foods.

swoody29
06-29-2011, 08:49 AM
If I want something that isnt very healthy...ie..cookies, cake, or even chips and queso. I of course have portion control. And I have to make it myself, no store bought premade cookies or chips or queso. all homemade. that way i know whats going into my body and it weeds out my random cravings if Im too lazy to make anything.

smartgirl575
06-29-2011, 10:33 AM
While I may indulge for a specific meal or occasion, I factor it into my eating plan for that week. If I allowed myself an entire cheat day, there is a 99.9999% chance it would turn into weeks and months off plan, gaining back most/all/more than what I lost. And that is not an exaggeration. Luckily, I recognize this now, so I haven't made the mistake (this time around).

tricon7
06-29-2011, 11:11 AM
No. Most of us are here because we had issues with eating and/or portion control. While a "free day" may work for some people, it is often a license to bender for most 3FC women.

Many people find a weekly planned treat MEAL (not day) is something pleasant to look forward to and helps take the edge off. I incorporate a treat meal into my weekly plan - it is whatever I want, within reason. And it's not a crappy meal - it's something nice and enjoyable.

I think you'll find many people who start slipping in full-on cheat days tend to end up right back where they started.

I can't even allow myself a cheat meal. Maybe a treat item - like a pint of ice cream once a week (my weakness). I find it hard enough to lose miniscule amounts of weight during the week without having cheat days/meals thrown in there.

If I had an entire cheat day, I'd easily erase any gains I had made during the week in weight loss.

squishy lee
06-29-2011, 12:03 PM
Alot of you are mentioning that if you have a "treat" (I'm elinating "cheat" from my diet vocab...you are all right, I don't want to cheat anymore, I want to be healthy and happy way more than I want a brownie!!!!)...but alot are mentioning having a treat and then making up for it the following day...so am I understanding that a majority of people are calorie counting on a weekly basis instead of daily? Meaning that if I cave and have some pizza, I can just be honest, write it down (my tracker thing), and be better the next day?

Munchy
06-29-2011, 12:21 PM
Alot of you are mentioning that if you have a "treat" (I'm elinating "cheat" from my diet vocab...you are all right, I don't want to cheat anymore, I want to be healthy and happy way more than I want a brownie!!!!)...but alot are mentioning having a treat and then making up for it the following day...so am I understanding that a majority of people are calorie counting on a weekly basis instead of daily? Meaning that if I cave and have some pizza, I can just be honest, write it down (my tracker thing), and be better the next day?

I calorie count on a daily basis, but I cut myself some slack on the weekends because I'm not at work and on schedule. Most of the time it is just about on par with the week and just separated out differently (larger breakfast, no mid morning snack, etc).
I don't under-eat in order to overeat the next day, though. I think that creates an unhealthy balance.
If you want pizza, just remember that one slice of cheese pizza can range from 275-350 calories, but making it yourself, for example, (LIKE THIS (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=577357)) is only 207 calories it's more than one slice.

You learn to weigh out your options to find the best way for you to stay successful. If that means a cheat meal or day will do it for you, go for it! If it hinders your weight loss, you may rethink and revise your plan.

Lovely
06-29-2011, 01:08 PM
Alot of you are mentioning that if you have a "treat" (I'm elinating "cheat" from my diet vocab...you are all right, I don't want to cheat anymore, I want to be healthy and happy way more than I want a brownie!!!!)...but alot are mentioning having a treat and then making up for it the following day...so am I understanding that a majority of people are calorie counting on a weekly basis instead of daily? Meaning that if I cave and have some pizza, I can just be honest, write it down (my tracker thing), and be better the next day?

I don't know that the majority do it this way (there's no accurate way to tell something like that), but it is quite possible to use a weekly average. I only caution that it shouldn't turn into this scenario: DietPerson has pizza for dinner, but then wants to make up for it, so they skip dinner entirely the next night and treadmill for four hours.

Having a weekly average is not really "making up for it" so much as it is balancing for it. Some people balance ahead of time, but there are going to be nights when we have something we weren't planning for, so it's natural to keep the balance. Not go overboard one way or the other.

If you find yourself too often indulging in things you don't want and then trying to "catch up" then that's something that needs addressing.

Other than that point of caution, there's nothing wrong with it.

zoodoo613
06-29-2011, 01:26 PM
Alot of you are mentioning that if you have a "treat" (I'm elinating "cheat" from my diet vocab...you are all right, I don't want to cheat anymore, I want to be healthy and happy way more than I want a brownie!!!!)...but alot are mentioning having a treat and then making up for it the following day...so am I understanding that a majority of people are calorie counting on a weekly basis instead of daily? Meaning that if I cave and have some pizza, I can just be honest, write it down (my tracker thing), and be better the next day?

I think I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't count calories on a daily or weekly basis. Or rather I do, but I don't have a hard number I'm aiming for. I'm averaging about 1530 per day, and looking back (I have a dorky spreadsheet), it doesn't look like my weekly averages have been off that than much more than 150 calories in either direction. But my daily intake has ranged from 1100 to 2100, although either of those extremes are rare.

I'm not suggesting that the way I do things is the right way. But it does indicate that hitting a certain number everyday isn't critical. This is what works for me. I like to have a lot of flexibility. Some people even recommend a zigzagging calorie count to keep your metabolism guessing. Diana on the daily thread, likes to mostly eat the same thing everyday and has a rock solid daily intake. That clearly works for her. I think you'll probably just need to experiment and figure out what works for you, because you can't force yourself into a mold that doesn't fit.

Lori Bell
06-29-2011, 01:56 PM
No, I didn't cheat. I can count on 3 fingers the amount of times I went over my calorie allotment during the 17 months it took me to get to goal. My Birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas 2008. I was on track all other days, with a few (3 or 4) other days eating at maintaince levels. I stayed on plan because I was SO SICK AND TIRED of being FAT that I wasn't about to risk any setbacks. I didn't want to linger in clothing sizes, because I had 12 sizes to drop. I'm cheap, I didn't want to buy a bunch of clothes I couldn't wear for very long. I didn't trust myself to get back on the wagon if I cheated.

So...now I get to cheat some. It was worth the weight! ;)

jhinako
06-29-2011, 02:13 PM
I don't believe in a "cheat day" where I completely go nuts and eat whatever, HOWEVER, I firmly believe that at least one day per week(probably two) should be higher calorie(but still under maintenance calories) than the others to break up the monotony and mix things up for your metabolism.

I feel like too many people on here decide to lose weight and want to do it quickly, so they decide to go straight to a huge restriction instead of trying for a healthy, sustainable pace. When you go around eating low calorie all the time, your body will adjust to that and slow down to meet your pace and try to sustain it's own fat stores(which is it's safety net); and mixing things up by throwing a few more calories every once in awhile will actually help rather than hinder.

An example would be adding in a 1,600-1,800 calorie day if you are usually trying for 1,200-1,500 calories per day. It will not cause an actual fat gain because *most* adult women should have a maintenance range of 1,900-2,200(more if you have more to lose). So you will be eating more calories that day than the rest of the week, but not enough to cause you to gain weight.

If by cheat day, you mean have a 3,000-4,000 calorie day and eat everything, then no, I absolutely do not think that is beneficial and would probably be more of a set back.

Lori Bell
06-29-2011, 02:50 PM
I feel like too many people on here decide to lose weight and want to do it quickly, so they decide to go straight to a huge restriction instead of trying for a healthy, sustainable pace. When you go around eating low calorie all the time, your body will adjust to that and slow down to meet your pace and try to sustain it's own fat stores(which is it's safety net); and mixing things up by throwing a few more calories every once in awhile will actually help rather than hinder.


While I hear this happens to some people, thankfully it did not happen to me, or several other "big losers" here at 3FC. I never had a plateau...though the last 10 pounds came off slower than the first 10. I'm going out on a limb here and will suggest that this weight loss phenomenon happens to everyone who loses a substantial amount of weight, no matter how quickly or slowly they lose the weight. So, to cheat or not to cheat, it's up to the individual... neither way is wrong, and both ways are right if it works into long term maintaince.

jillianfan
06-29-2011, 03:17 PM
I have just started back on my journey, but I do plan to have a "cheat" meal maybe once a week. It really depends on what is going on. Maybe I am going out to eat, and there is something I really want, I might let myself have it, within reason.

My plan is simply to shoot for 1,500 calories a day. But, if I have a "cheat" meal and my calories shoot up to, say, 2,000 in a day, then I will restrict myself to 1,200 for two of the other days. That way, it better be really worth it, because 1,200 calories is tough for me to manage.

I am finding, however, that the desire to slip up is lessening every single day. And there really are good alternatives for a lot of cheaty things. If you want ice cream, mix in fruit with Greek yogurt and throw it the freezer. If you want hot wings, grill a chicken thigh with Srirachi chili sauce, then put extra sauce on the thigh after it is grilled, then dip it in Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing. Make nachos with Guiltless Gourmet chips, lots of beans and rotel, and an ounce of full-fat cheddar cheese. Make pizza with whole-grain thin crust and fresh mozzarella. That sort of thing. If you get creative, you may not need to cheat.

rob1
06-29-2011, 06:44 PM
The plan I'm on calls for a 'cheat' day every week- and in all honesty it's part of the appeal to me.

But I think it would be better to CC or do WW or something. I just- do not like tracking things. And if I worked a single cookie or two into my plan ever few days, I'd just be sad that I HAD to stop eating at 2 cookies (or whatever).

I like the monotony of eating the same fairly boring stuff all week without having to think about it, and then eating whatever the heck I want on Saturday (also w/out having to think about it). And boy at the start- did I eat WHATEVER I wanted, including 4 chocolate iced cream filled donuts in one day!

As I'm getting close to goal, I actually give myself both weekend days 'off' (which may be an indication that cheat days are bad- heh). But I find I've naturally toned way down on what I eat for cheat days. Probably the same number of calories over 2 days that I was eating in one day at the start. So far, the weight is still dropping at a reasonable pace considering I'm only shooting for a couple more pounds.

But yea- now I just get full and I'm done. I don't try to cram in more just because it's cheat day. The dog is happy- he keeps snarfing my leftovers ;).

Mentally- this approach just works well for me. I'm stopping eating when I'm full and it's easy to stay on plan during the week cause I'm just so flat busy. And I never really have to think about what I'm going to eat. I eat the same boring stuff during the week and whatever I want on the weekend.

I've only been at it... 5+ months? So I can't swear it's sustainable. But for me it's been a good approach. I'd never recommend it for someone who tends to binge, though. Seems like it would really encourage that.

Snoofie
06-29-2011, 07:36 PM
I don't give myself entire cheat days, but I do give myself a cheat night. I get weighed in every Wednesday at 6, so after I come home, I have supper and then a night of eating stuff I wouldn't normally eat. Nothing overboard, but usually a bag of potato chips, a chocolate bar, and a small bottle of Pepsi. I don't feel guilty about it, and I've been losing consistently since I joined WW on January 26.

I think it's fine to allow yourself a certain cheat period, as long as you know you have the ability not to let that spill over into the next day, and the next day, and the next....you know?

Arctic Mama
06-29-2011, 08:07 PM
Cheating or going off plan/way over for a whole day? I wouldn't ever purposely do that! It happens on occasion, but my idea of a controlled higher calorie day is knowing dinner will be at a restaurant and ordering what tastes good, regardless of calories... It isn't doing that for three or four meals straight!

That has the propensity to wipe out my calorie deficit I have worked hard on for the whole week. One meal won't do that, for me, but a day is simply too much (especially if my habits for healthy eating aren't solidified, as was the case in the beginning of my journey, it is less of an issue several years into it, where I am now).

ShesLosingIt
06-29-2011, 08:52 PM
As many others have said, I'm not sure I'd call it cheating but I have meals (or, yes, sometimes days) where I go over my preferred calorie allotment for the day. I try to time it so so I can splurge on special occasions or vacations vs your average Tuesday night but that doesn't always pan out. When I do go over, I just cut back the next day and try to increase my exercise.

BCL216
06-29-2011, 08:56 PM
Sometimes I think it helps!No one is perfect.

KittyKat1465
06-29-2011, 09:17 PM
I used to do cheat days, and all it did was knock me off track. Some people say it made them feel guilty till they stopped doing them, but all it did for me was make me pack the pounds back on.

April Snow
06-29-2011, 11:26 PM
the only person you are cheating is yourself - it's not like your body can say "oops, I didn't see that, those calories don't count!" Plus like many people have said, it's a slippery slope to one day turning into two, and two turning into a week, etc.

I think it's ok to not freak out if you aren't 100% perfect all the time, but I don't think it should be a routine, planned thing.

NTexas
06-30-2011, 01:41 PM
YMMV but I calorie cycle. Generally, I eat 1400-1600 calories a day Monday -Friday by eating pretty clean low fat, low sugar, high fiber and protien food. Saturday I indulge eating about 2500 calories for the day. I figure at least 1200 calories for dinner with hubby (mexican, steak, italian - cupcake dinner on my birthday :) . On Sunday I also relax with about 2000 calories which is maintenance. Then back to deficit mode. This along with exercising 6 days a week helped me lose 45 pounds in 6 months without feeling hungry (much) nor deprieved. I believe in moderation in all things - including weight loss. Do I call my Saturday a cheat day? No, because I planned for it all week. Helps me to resist cravings during the week knowing I get that decadent meal/treat in just a few days.

dnnrca1987
06-30-2011, 07:06 PM
For me, I never cheat. The only 'cheat' meal I have planned is for my birthday, which is six months away. It's not so much eating freely, either. It's going to be fit into my overall caloric intake appropriately, prepared for by rationing calories in the days prior to the event.

I think that having weekly cheat days greatly increases the risk of falling off the healthy wagon, especially if a lot of the foods you're choosing include heavily addictive ingredients like fat and sugar. That kind of food is drug-like and most of us cant just binge and stop on a weekly basis. One day will lead to two, two will lead to incorporating it into your diet on a daily basis.

How about you plan to have something special two months from now instead of a week? Stick to the healthy plan and at the end of the first two months, re-evaluate your initial ideas about weekly cheat days. The longer you stay away from crappy food, the less you'll crave it. Two months from now, you just might PREFER a healthy vegtable lasagna over a deep-dish-double-stuffed deluxe heart attack pizza!

onic28
07-02-2011, 12:37 PM
I don't even plan "cheat" days.. but if I'm out with friends or on a date and get to a restaurant, every once in awhile I'll allow myself to just get what I want. That's how life goes! You can't plan things in life so I don't try to plan "cheat" days either. I just let it happen :) But I ONLY let it happen if it hasn't happened anytime recently, and if I'm in a good emotional state. I would never, EVER think of doing that if I was feeling like "oh, what's the use..."

Esofia
07-02-2011, 01:54 PM
Let me explain a bit more about how I handle treats and such.

Most of the time, my treats are low-calorie enough that I just integrate them easily into the day's calories. Very small pieces of dark chocolate, for instance, say 3g or 5g. I'm small and inactive, so I don't have many calories to play with, and I try to stick to the 1100 (deficit of 400, though I'm losing 1lb/week so I'm starting to wonder if I underestimate what I burn) fairly closely. If I go over it by 30 or 50 one day, I'll usually be under by 30 or 50 another day and will make sure it balances out by the end of the week, though I try not to go below 1000 in the interests of nutrition. It may be helpful to know that as I'm mostly housebound, I very rarely get out to restaurants or friends' houses.

There have been four days that I can think of that were a bit more unusual, over the 10 weeks that I've been dieting so far.

1) My five year anniversary with my partner. We were going to go out for dinner, but he ended up doing his annual review report all day, poor thing, so we ordered pizza. I knew a big meal was coming up so I lunched lightly. I did some research on how much the pizza was likely to be in terms of calories (vegan pizzas are lower calorie, thankfully), got a 10" instead of our usual 12", and I think I ate 3/4 of it or a bit less. We also got pakoras, as our local Italian restaurant randomly makes great pakoras, and I had a couple of those.

2) The next day, I had the leftover pizza and pakoras for lunch, along with, erm, don't remember now but I'm guessing a small salad. He finally finished the report that evening, so we went to an Indian restaurant. Being vegan and crap with chillies doesn't give me much choice at that place, and we had the take-away menu at home, so I worked out what I wanted before we left and calculated the calories. Over the next few days, I ate a bit less for calories, and it was easily made up.

3) Last weekend, I went to a friend's garden party, and again lunched lightly before going. I nibbled a few things when I was there, a light meal's worth of calories, though I also used more energy than usual in going out. When I got home, I was shattered but still needed supper, so I had a light supper. I think I ended up about 150 calories over for the day, and that's easily paid back by having 50 calories less for three days.

4) Although then I got killer migraine the next day, took 2 tramadol in desperation, spent most of the day thoroughly groggy and nauseous, couldn't eat much, and threw up twice (really not a good time to run out of anti-nausea meds). So I ate very little that day, alas. I allowed myself to go over my calories a bit for the next couple of days, and after that went back to normal. Let's hope this doesn't happen again, I don't function well on skipping meals.

Is that helpful? I am actually really glad I've done these things, as I feel more assured about handling changes in my routine now. I'm thinking of doing something nice this weekend, maybe pizza again, or perhaps I'll do my speciality Japanese meal where I make sushi, teriyaki tofu and a sort of vegetable fried rice thing.

noregrets4me
07-02-2011, 05:54 PM
"Cheat" = guilt.

Like so many others have said, we have to accept the fact that we have to change our lifestyle for the rest of our life - not just be on a "diet" that will end in six months and go back to old habits. We have to retrain ourselves to eating healthier -- but I think most of us realize that to eat a slice of cheesecake once in a while, or have chips and dip once in a while, etc. is not cheating -- it's life == and nothing to be ashamed of. On a day to day basis I try to eat three meals, have two snacks - and use portion control. I'm not going to deprive myself of anything - but I am going to be sensible about what I eat.

Mary

Precious Little
07-02-2011, 07:58 PM
I don't like the idea of 'cheat days'. For me it defeats the purpose.

I have no desire to cheat lately because when I eat something junky or indulgent (chocolate, ice cream etc.) it just makes me feel ill. Plus, a 'treat' can easily turn into a binge and I'd rather not give myself the opportunity by starting back on the crap food.

Even when travelling I try to keep to the healthiest options available purely because I feel better for it.

I am re-educating my body to tell me when it's full and LISTEN to it instead of ignoring it and eating more just because it's there.