Weight Loss Support - How do you work cheat days?

View Full Version : How do you work cheat days?

04-13-2013, 12:22 AM
Do you allow yourself to eat MORE total of healthy foods that you would already eat? Or do you allow yourself to eat something unhealthy? Today I'm doing the first one, I'm eating more calories but it is all healthy.

04-13-2013, 12:35 AM
I go to the popcorn specialty shop almost every weekend and get the smallest bag they offer. This week's pick will be a mix of s'mores and white chocolate Oreo. I can't wait to get my Hands on it:devil:. Other than that small bag of popcorn I typically stay on track, unless something special is going on.

04-13-2013, 01:09 AM
I cycle my calories and on my one highest day ( about 1600-1700) I usually allow a bit more junk...maybe an extra bit of chocolate, usually a couple hundred more at dinner out. It depends. On my medium days (1400-1500) its typically higher meat portions... Steak. My lower days (1100-1300) are very strict and limit portions over all and no snacks.

Arctic Mama
04-13-2013, 01:12 AM
I don't.

Seriously, I've been on this journey long enough to know myself - cheat days don't help me, they hurt. Sometimes a LOT. Most of the folks who fall off the wagon and regain their lost weight (plus some!) began with justifying one cheat meal or day, and then it became three, and then they couldn't find the motivation to get back on plan and stick with it.

So I don't do cheat days. I may have a restaurant meal, but I work it into my calories and it is still composed of allowed foods in sensible quantities. Or I have dark chocolate once or twice per day, but only 6-10 gram servings, depending on the bar.

I even ate off plan once, recently. After staying perfectly on plan for every major holiday I decided that I would celebrate my daughter's birth with a delicious cake and some Japanese (which I'd been missing and wouldn't normally work with my plan). But that wasn't a cheat, either. I intentionally allowed myself a period of no counting. I planned exactly what to eat, when it would end, and strategized how to get back on plan as quickly and painlessly as possible, all before a single bite entered my mouth. And I have done it once. Not every time a major bank holiday rolls around, or every weekend. Once every year or two - whenever a baby is born. That frequency is comfortable for me, and not beyond my ability to handle.

Now, your mileage may vary. Some plans are much more flexible than others (I'd argue mine is quite flexible every day, which is why I feel so little need to eat off plan - I always enjoy my food and am happy with what I eat :) ). Some more easily adjust for meals that won't contribute to weight loss. That may be what you mean, rather than cheat? Food isn't moral. It isn't good or bad. But the quantities we consume and the choices we make regarding how often and how much to eat something; those have a real effect on our bodies and it may not be what we want.

It's okay to eat something that doesn't get you closer to your goal every once in awhile, sure. But that's a choice you must make, and I caution that for the season of weight loss, in particular, infrequently veering off course is a better solution than planning in regular 'extras', which only serve to slow the process and may frustrate you more than just abstaining. Know thyself, we all have different tolerances in this area.

That's my best advice :)

04-13-2013, 02:46 AM
I don't have cheat days.

04-13-2013, 04:36 AM
Do you allow yourself to eat MORE total of healthy foods that you would already eat? Or do you allow yourself to eat something unhealthy? Today I'm doing the first one, I'm eating more calories but it is all healthy.

What are these unhealthy foods you're talking about? How do you decide which foods are healthy and which ones are not?

Also, I think if you're dieting and need a break you should take a break. As in a week or more. Otherwise, I'd advise to stick with a free meal, as opposed to a whole day. It's very easy to slip back into the patterns that got us fat in the first place.

Regardless, I think the important thing is to have a plan. One day without a plan can undo a week or more of dieting.

04-13-2013, 05:09 AM
I don't really have cheat days. What I'll do is if I've been super good and OP for like a week and my husband decides he wants pizza or to go out to eat I will go out with him and eat what I want. i will still limit the quantity of it and try and fit it in with my calories, but I won't go all out on purpose. Also I will be exta vigilant the rest of the day to make sure it doesn't slip me up.

04-13-2013, 06:54 AM
I don't have cheat days, but I will regularly have some chocolate or a glass of wine as long as it fits into my calorie allotment.

Having said that there have been days where I've gone over. I had a longer day, or was still hungry for some reason. In those cases I'd prefer to eat something healthier and stop my craving then try and hold off and eventually binge.

Both cases, I don't see as a 'cheat' day. It's just life and sometimes it's a bit harder to stick to the plan but I don't want to think I went off track.

04-13-2013, 08:24 AM
No cheat days for me, either. There's plenty of food that I'm very happy with and that satisfy me day to day. And I can and do have what everyone else is having, but I'm carefully watching my portion size and filling most of my plate on some occasions with green salad.

I don't even use the word "cheat," because this is not a diet, but instead this is my lifestyle now. And if there's birthday cake, of course I'm having some. But in exchange I'll have less of something else and probably spend extra time on my treadmill.

But looking forward to a day of cheating with food? Never again. That's how I got here in the first place.

04-13-2013, 09:54 AM
I don't have cheat days. Some days I'll eat at the higher end of my calorie range. But it looks like you are only trying to lose 4.5 pounds in total, so you will probably have different experiences than most people here.

04-13-2013, 10:04 AM
You only have a few pounds to lose and that's harder than losing say 30+ lbs. If I were you in your shoes I think I would try not to cheat until I reached my goal.

For me I don't have cheat days, but I have a planned cheat meal every week. It has helped me tremendously throughout my journey and it hasn't hinder my progress one bit. I think planning and staying in control has been the key - I never binge during my meals. Other then that I stay mostly on plan all week. I really don't desire chocolate, candy and junk anymore.

I am very mindful of my calories the rest of the day and I make sure to get in some cardio to burn of some of the extra calories.

04-13-2013, 11:09 AM
I don't do cheat days because I don't need them. My primary diet rule is "Moderation not deprivation." I eat whatever I want but in controlled portions.

04-15-2013, 01:01 PM
I guess I'm one of the few that have cheat days. I stay on course all the time so if somebody wants to do sushi or dinner, I consider that a cheat. But I limit myself to how much I eat. It all depends on the day but I don't have a day where I go "that's the day I'm going to eat a chocolate bar/ice cream/ etc etc". If I happen to be out to dinner I'll just order whatever and go from there.

04-15-2013, 01:10 PM
I don't "cheat". I eat what I want... but I record everything. That stops me from eating a lot of things my body does not need. But I wanted a cheeseburger Saturday so I had one, no guilt. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

04-15-2013, 01:29 PM
Everything in moderation, including moderation.


04-15-2013, 01:38 PM
Not everyone can deal with cheat days. I can, so I have one. My cheat day does not turn into a cheat weekend, then a cheat week. I eat the foods I wanted but didn't eat throughout the week. Lately it's been pizza and Starbursts. I'll even drink calories, which is a thing I haven't really done in 2 years.

I have done my diet with and without the cheat days. I do lose more if I do not have a cheat day but the difference is not a huge one so I prefer to have it. I also gain quite a bit of weight afterwards but by Saturday usually register a loss of 1.5+ pounds. In the last 8 weeks I've lost an average of 2.2 a week.

It keeps me sane throughout the week because "I can just have it on Saturday." When things come up on other days of the week I either choose on plan foods or I eat before I go and only eat enough of whatever it is to be polite. If questioned I just say I'm not very hungry.

My "plan" is I only really eat meat, fish, veggies and cheese. No grains. No-very low sugar. And full disclosure, I have fallen off the diet and regained but it was depression related.

04-15-2013, 02:02 PM
I have certain foods worked into my calories everyday that many would consider treats. I haven't had a "cheat" day/meal yet this time around though because honestly I'm not ready to see the weight go up on the scale the next day. (Even if most of it is just water weight.)

The plan is though on special occasions such as birthday or anniversary I'll probably have a cheat meal at my favorite restaurant and I'll eat whatever I want and try to eat sensibly for the rest of the day. I don't have any special occasions coming up util August so I'm hoping that by that point I'll be able to handle one meal off plan without to much of a problem.

04-15-2013, 02:05 PM
I don't do cheat days. I don't care to go "off my feed" because it makes sticking to the plan so much harder. But there are foods built into my plan that are an indulgence. Like an ounce each of dark French chocolate chunks and shaved raw coconut. I find it is lovely on a cup of whole milk Greek yogurt with a cup of strawberries. I have a cocktail once a month. I may have a slice of pizza every other month, or a couple servings of pasta every other week.

If I make sure to have all my veggies, protein and fat each day, I don't usually feel like eating anything else. But if I go short on something, I'll make poor choices.

04-15-2013, 02:16 PM
Some people NEED cheat days. My mom for instance, started off probably mid 300's. She ate healthy all week, then sunday she would GO NUTS. And I kept telling her I didn't think it would work and she disagreed, and proved me wrong.

She wouldn't just have a piece of cake, for example. She would have 2 bacon cheeseburgers, cheesecake, donuts, ice cream, french fries, whatever the heck she wanted - she ate on Sundays. She steadily lost weight until she reached her plateau. She has not had any cheat days for several months. However, she cut out all junk together and has been slipping every couple of days and having a mini binge on junk. So I think she'd be more beneficial to have kept her designated cheat day, but of course not as crazy as she used to do it as it gets harder as you get slimmer.

I just restarted so no "cheat days" for me for awhile. But for me, when I have a cheat day - I eat reasonably for breakfast and lunch and then have whatever I want for dinner and dessert. I also make sure I still get my workout in for that day. If I go over on calories, it's fine with me as long as it's not crazy amounts.

04-15-2013, 02:21 PM
I have all-out no-holds-barred meals (up to 4,000 cals) every month or two, usually at a high-quality all-you-can-eat Asian place and sometimes at my sister-in-law's parties (for which she caters gourmet food). For me it's essential to retain the experience of unpoliced eating in my life, even if infrequently. I don't call those meals cheats, though, because the term would suggest that what I am doing is bad.

As for my everyday eating, I'm much less strict about "healthy foods" than most people here. I eat mostly nutritious foods, but probably have something UNnutritious (sugar, wine, etc.) every single day.


04-15-2013, 02:31 PM
She ate healthy all week, then sunday she would GO NUTS.

This is me. When I say I eat pizza and starbursts I'm not talking one slice and a couple pieces. I'm talking half a pizza (Or more) and half the bag over the course of the day. And that's not the only stuff I eat on cheat days. The longer I eat healthy during the week, however, the less I can physically eat on cheat day.

04-15-2013, 02:40 PM
I don't routinely schedule cheats into my normal routine. Though I will plan incorporate indulgences if I want them (generally on the weekend). I don't think a full-on cheat day would work for me personally as its more of an emotional thing when I overeat than actually craving the food itself, and I'm trying to make it a clean break :)

04-15-2013, 02:55 PM
This is me. When I say I eat pizza and starbursts I'm not talking one slice and a couple pieces. I'm talking half a pizza (Or more) and half the bag over the course of the day. And that's not the only stuff I eat on cheat days. The longer I eat healthy during the week, however, the less I can physically eat on cheat day.

If it works for you, I really don't see a problem. You are preventing yourself from having meltdowns during the week, something my mom is currently experiencing!