General Diet Plans and Questions - Cheat days?

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Quirky Chick
03-19-2013, 03:52 PM
I started dieting again about 6 weeks ago. I have my set calorie intake per day at 1,000, giving my weight loss needs, and my weight not budging at calorie intakes that are higher than that. I eat 3 meals and one snack: multigrain cereal with sliced strawberries at breakfast, grilled fish fillet at lunch, yogurt or fruit for a snack, then a small, lean grilled steak, or grilled chicken breast and veggies for dinner.

My sister-in-law started dieting around the same time, though a different diet. She eats a few chicken breasts a day, 3 shakes (super whey protein powder, fruit, and egg whites), and 5 cups of spinich a day. She is only looking to lose a few lbs. But she reccomended that I do one cheat day a week, as long as I don't get into weight-gaining territory, calorie-wise.

I am a bit leery, as I feel I have more to lose, if I mess up my diet. I am trying to get off at least 60 lbs, when she's trying to get off no more than 10, and get toned.

Is a cheat day a good idea?

03-19-2013, 03:59 PM
I'd be cheating without asking if I was only eating 1000 calories a day! Aren't you starving? :?:

I am not a pro but I believe eating less than the proverbial 1200 said all over the place online is a bit dangerous due to the lack of nutrition and calories your body needs. I'm not even sure about the 1200 but 1000 is much too low unless you are medically supervised.

Based on your weight, you could and should eat much more and you will definitely lose weight.

Good luck!!

03-19-2013, 04:03 PM
I think that with only eating 1000 per day you're headed towards full blown binge rather than a cheat day. Anything below 1200 is really considered starvation or a yoyo diet, it's deceptive weight loss. You might lose some weight now but chances are it will come back and then some. Changing how you look and feel requires a lifetime committment, not a temporary restriction that will cause more weight gain later when you go back to your old ways.

Anyway, eating healthy foods will do wonders for your health in the long run though it might be a slower process.

Sometimes I eat really well and sometimes I make poor choices. I don't consider it cheating, this is just my life. I have good days and I have bad days. But as long as I have more good days then bad and less and less bad days as I go along I'm pretty pleased. Cheating is when you sleep with another person's husband. Food is not cheating.

Quirky Chick
03-19-2013, 04:10 PM
I just joined yesterday, and started posting today, so I imagine not too many people have seen my intro post. But I in the past lost over 100 lbs, and always had trouble losing on calorie intakes that I should lose on. Back then, my old rheumatologist (granted not a fitness specialist) said 1,000 was ok, as long as it was working, but not to go much under that. He said to take supplements and eat healthy. But over the last few winters, I gained some back (about 40 lbs). I honestly don't get very hungry on this diet, but if I see a commercial/ad/or sweets posting on Facebook for sweets, I crave it a little, but I think it's more of a comfort food craving, than it really is a hungry craving.

03-19-2013, 04:18 PM
I think if you WANT them, then try them and see how you do. If you don't, then don't.

03-19-2013, 09:38 PM
My advice is to avoid instigating cheat days from the beginning as this will undermine your efforts. Better to say that there will be cheat days when I just had no choice such as if you are at a party, out with friends, at a wedding etc. But if you actively plan to cheat one day every week, then that might not be an effective strategy to keep the weight off.

Quirky Chick
03-22-2013, 01:23 PM
My advice is to avoid instigating cheat days from the beginning as this will undermine your efforts. Better to say that there will be cheat days when I just had no choice such as if you are at a party, out with friends, at a wedding etc. But if you actively plan to cheat one day every week, then that might not be an effective strategy to keep the weight off.

Yeah, that's what I was wondering. My sister-in-law got her diet and workout regimen from her brother that is a personal trainer that gives meal and exercise plans on the side; he's an amateur that competes in body building. She said when not preparing for his contests, he does take cheat days once a week, but she said he never reccomends them in his plans. So that made me wonder if it was a good idea to have "planned" cheat days. I have been trying to use the thinking process that food is to fuel my body, not comfort me. And comfort food is the only thing I ever crave. I don't feel hungry for more food. I guess I will save it for little splurges on birthdays or vacations. I suppose that would be more logical.

03-22-2013, 02:38 PM
Honestly, I think whether or not to have a cheat day depends on YOU. What do YOU need to keep it healthy the rest of the time? Will having a day that lets you give in to a few cravings keep you motivated? Or will it be the first day that you go back to bad habits?

I kind of have a cheat meal or two every weekend. I eat the exact same thing Monday - Friday (it works for me). On Saturday, I eat similar, but I let myself have a glass or two of wine if I want. On Sunday, if I happen to be out and about and it's around, I have some chocolate. These are not planned, but those are the times I've given myself to enjoy a craving. It works well for me. When I crave those things during the week, I can remind myself that I can wait till the weekend. But, it's not enough to derail my progress OR make me slide back into bad habits.

I know this wasn't your question, so I hope you don't mind some input :) On the 1000 calorie thing, everything I've read and studied has said that 1000 calories is the absolute minimum your body needs to function. I'm not a doctor, but I personally disagree with taking a lot of supplements to get nutrients. I think we can get all we need from fresh and healthy foods. I think your overall meal choices are good, it just scares me that you may not be eating enough.

03-22-2013, 04:32 PM
I think a cheat day is a good idea. I remember reading in a magazine that a craving lasts 10 minutes. And people that never cheated were more apt to cheat and cheat more and get into weight gaining territory. I allow myself one cheat day a week. Which is usually on the weekends because I have more time haha. I don't cheat the whole entire day but if I eat a candy bar, I don't get upset about it. I look at it as a little treat for getting through the week and that's it.

03-22-2013, 04:35 PM
I think it really depends on the person. I plan to give myself a weekend off at the end of every month. Not to eat all junk food necessarily, but to not obsess over it. It helps me personally because when I have a craving I just think "you can eat what you want in x amount of days!" and it helps me immensely. Others not so much. I say trial and error. See if it works for you.

03-22-2013, 04:36 PM
I think a cheat day is such a personal decision, I have been thinking about this thread since the other day when I replied on it.

I can be so food obsessed that I really think I could undo a week's worth of healthy eating and exercise in 1 day! And I am so afraid I'd fantasize about the cheat day all week long, which could make it more dangerous.

I am envious of all of you that can do the cheat day and then get back on the straight and narrow for the other 6 days!

03-22-2013, 04:40 PM
Also as this isn't my first rodeo, or my tenth with weight loss, I always found that I plateaued less when I allowed a monthly or biweekly cheat day. I would be 2-3 lbs heavier for a couple of days from it then WOOSH it was like the first week of weight loss all over again.

03-22-2013, 05:13 PM
Honestly, I think whether or not to have a cheat day depends on YOU. What do YOU need to keep it healthy the rest of the time? Will having a day that lets you give in to a few cravings keep you motivated? Or will it be the first day that you go back to bad habits?

This. I think this is perfect. I know so many people that have successful cheats. And here on 3fc alot of peeps swear by their ability to keep them on track.

I however in the past have fallen in the second group. It pretty much always leads me back to bad habits. I do have to say though, I have never really stuck with an eating plan that avoids junky foods for long enough to know if I could have a cheat once in awhile AFTER having thoroughly established better eating habits. I would like to think that after months and months and years of eating like I am now, making very nutrient dense choices for food, that I could then have a "cheat meal" and not have it lead to a dark and steep rabbit hole where I spend days or weeks having "one last bad meal" before I get back on the weight loss wagon.

Since this last run at weight loss I have learned some valuble things about myself though. A few weeks ago we did lunch out with family in town and went to a pizza place. Since they had pizza by the slice I ordered one slice of veggie pizza and only ate that one slice and no more. I actually felt satisfyed. And really proud that I didn't use the circumstances around me to be an excuse to throw caution to the wind and down 4 or 5 pieces of pizza. I showed that I had been able to participate, and while any pizza isn't as nutritous as a salad or homemade veggie soup, I wouldn't consider that even a "cheat meal". It was less volume of food but comparible calories to my "on plan" lunches. It wasn't until a few days later when I was shopping after working out, and while quite hungry, that I saw a display of new sirracha flavored chips that I really "cheated" and then spent the next 5 days (until yesterday) totally off plan. I planned to eat one serving of chips but ate 1/2 the bag. And rabbit hole was found.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I have learned that I don't have to always eat food that gets and "A" for nutrition. I just have to be sure I make it fit into the "on plan" day. And so far, I cant let myself eat junk food with a "no holds barred" mentality for a day or even a meal without derailing my hard work and falling back to bad habits.

03-22-2013, 05:42 PM
I've tried cheat days and cheat meals and even alternate day fasting (about 600 calories one day and approx 2000 the next.) For me, all of those ok. But, the one I like-that works best for me-is a cheat meal philosophy. For dinner only, on Saturday and Sunday nights, I typically eat whatever it is I have been craving hard all week. Holidays are the same I try to limit the indulgence to one meal and not an all day carbfest.

03-23-2013, 06:35 AM
I took away my cheat days, and I'm actually losing slower without them because I end up "cheating" unexpectedly, instead of it being one good planned meal or maybe a bit of ice cream once a week. It was easier for me to avoid all cravings and temptations during the week when I knew I could have it on my cheat day if I wanted to. Often times, I ended up not even eating the stuff I craved all week. I've actually been considering adding them back, because I think I go off plan less often with them.

Ideally, we should try to work anything we like into our calorie budget. I fail at doing that sometimes! I agree that it's a personal decision and depends on how crazy you would let loose on a cheat day.

Quirky Chick
03-23-2013, 08:37 AM
Thanks for all of the insight, opinions, and personal experiences. This is exactly why I posted. A lot of insight can come from various opinions, experiences, and people with varying experiences with different strengths and weaknesses.

I get torn, about this whole thing. And I imagine everyone has a variation when it comes to how you define a cheat day. I tried one, just to test the waters, just under a week ago. I had P.K. Chang's pepper beef (frozen variety), and 4 mini shrimp spring rolls (which was one serving, at 160 cals), and then I had 4 sliced strawberries (with just a tiny sprinkle of sugar) and one clementine (small mandarin). So that was dinner and dessert.

I really have a taste for fruit and veggies; even as a kid I was more apt to eat fruit and veggies from my grandparents' garden, than I would meat. I've always been picky about meat. And even when not on a diet, I do eat healthy (though I tend to just eat once or twice a day when hungry. So that's bad ... but ... yeah), my main problem is I tend to lose appetite, so I would eat once or twice a day and pick at food, but the only things that sounded good were things not so good ... like Ben & Jerry's. Ideally, I should be able to fit in a tiny bit of it, but if all I can have is a small scoop or less, it's more of torture than a little indulgance. Certain things, I'd rather have none of, than just a couple spoonfuls or a couple little bites.

So I don't know ....

03-23-2013, 08:46 AM
Since starting on this weight loss journey, I have found that on Sundays (my day off) I have a really hard time staying at my calorie limit, which is 1470. The rest of the week I am fine, but I was driving myself crazy every Sunday going over, beating myself up and still being hungry.

I made the decision to eat at maintainence for my goal weight on Sundays, which gives me an extra 400 calories that day. I am still losing at the same rate, but I no longer stress myself out or fight hunger all day on Sunday.