Okay, I have a bit of a decision to make...yet I can't come up with an answer! Everyday I stay under my calorie limits, and I don't have "treat food" because I'd go over my calorie budget probably...so, my question is this: Should I have a day (like twice a month on paydays) that I am allowed to go over my calorie limit - if it happens - to have some treat food? The reasons I'm stuck are this: If I don't do it I might start feeling deprived and that leads to me eating everything in sight and scraping my weight loss plans....but, if I do let myself do that then it's technically "failing" in my eyes because I gave myself a set calorie goal to stay under, and as soon as I "slip" once (such as going over my limit) I'd end up making excuses to do it more than twice a week (or however much) and start back in old patterns (eating junk daily) THAT way. I know I must sound C-R-A-Z-Y :lol: but I'd love some input/advice. :listen: Thanks everyone. :)
12-03-2005, 05:14 PM
The way I look at it is if you don't allow an occasional indulgence then you are going to go fail because your going to eventually get tired of depriving yourself of something you want. I think as long as you can keep it in check and know that it's the only day or two that you can go over then you'll be ok. Just make sure your not doing it all the time. Make sure to get right back on program. Last night was my off program day. I did really well all day but when I wanted ice cream after dinner I allowed myself to eat it, and then I had a late snack which I hadn't planned on but I was hungry so I ate it. But in the long run I still stayed under 2000 for the day so I felt good, 500 over normal but still under 2000.
I'd suggest setting a max calorie intake for everyday and then a seperate max calorie intake for your off program days. If you have it in your schedule to eat 2000 calories on a certain day then your not going to feel like your off program. Actually from what I've read this actually helps you by keeping your body from becoming too accustomed to a certain intake level.
12-03-2005, 05:45 PM
Actually it can help with fat loss to vary your calories a little bit. It keeps your body guessing when you throw a cheat day in there every once in a while. I have to be really careful with this though because if I eat certain foods (such as sweets) it will turn into a major binge and within one day I can counteract 2 weeks of hard work. Maybe just have 1 meal every 2 weeks where you eat whatever you want but keep the rest of the calories the same. Like ambabs said, make that day app. 500 calories more than normal. After it's over, if you can't get back on track easily, you might want to rethink your "cheat day". Everyone's different. You've got to find what works for you.
12-03-2005, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the input! :) I'm going to try allowing myself an extra 500 for sweets or something on paydays. :D
12-03-2005, 07:46 PM
My husband and I both have different strategies for this. He allows himself a day "off" every now and then. His rule so far is that he can't go and eat more than he woudl have before he started this new lifestyle.
I approach it from trying to get an AVERAGE of a certain number of calories/day, across a whole week. That automatically makes some days higher and some lower. So I might have a day every week or two I eat more, but that's balanced by very sensible eating most of the time.
I think both approaches allow for flexibility and indulgence. But I'm like you-- worried that indulgence could lead to binge, so I still write everything down every day, no matter what. Helps keep me accountable.
And, I think there are lots of ways to achieve that flexibility... Good luck!
12-05-2005, 08:13 AM
Melissa, You will find that everyone has their own way of not feeling deprived. For myself, I set aside one meal a week where I may have some chocolate (my greatest weakness). That way I do not feel deprived and I find I have something to look forward to every week.
12-05-2005, 08:20 AM
I also vary calories...when I first started, I was more strict and NEVER ate treat foods. Now I work them into my calories and find that I can lose AND eat the foods I love (in controlled portions).
For instance, on weigh-in day, my meeting is in the morning and so I make that my highest calorie day and I allow myself to have a lunch or dinner that is a treat meal. I recently had oven fries with veggies chili and it was so satisfying and still within my calorie/fat range! I am learning to enjoy the food I eat more and am needing less of it to feel satisfied.
You'll find what works for you ;)
12-05-2005, 08:29 AM
I am learning to enjoy the food I eat more and am needing less of it to feel satisfied.
Oh, absolutely, me too!!
12-05-2005, 09:52 AM
I started to incorporate splurge days several years ago when I had been successful with the WW program. I was doing so great so why deprive myself every day, day in and day out? So I added a splurge day here and there. I stayed successful for a while. That led me to believe that I could add more and more splurge days until I went completely off track.
This time around, I decided to build more of the things I wanted into my daily caloric allowance. This way I don’t feel deprived and I’m not counting down the days until I can pig out. I need to do it this way to keep my focus. I still let the thought creep in every now and then but I have to remember that if I add days like this now it may throw me off track again. I don’t want that.
I’m not saying that having higher calorie days is a bad thing. I often vary the amount of calories I have in any given day or week. I know that a lot of people have been successful by allowing themselves a treat day (Howie and Kimberly immediately come to mind). I think that you need to become very aware of how you will respond to these treat days. Will it trigger more eating? Will you be able to get right back on track the next day?
I don’t mean to be a downer, I just wanted to share my experience with you. Keep us posted.
12-05-2005, 10:03 AM
Since I don't have access to a computer easily on weekends and I can't log my food, I let one of the days be a 'free day' where I eat pretty much what I want. The other day I can't log, but I keep in mind how many calories/etc. I've had for the day and keep it low.
A trick to this, I think, is that I don't tend to be a binger anyway... and I've found that even on my 'free' day when I can eat 'whatever I want!!' I don't eat much off plan.
I also will have one bite (literally! and a small one!) off of my boyfriend's treats when he has them. For me, just one bite of a piece of bread with -real butter- or a bite of pumpkin roll leftover from thanksgiving is enough to keep me happy. And I don't log that.
I think that adding 500 cals every pay day is a WONDERFUL way to add in a treat, and to keep it regular.
12-05-2005, 10:55 AM
I also shoot for a weekly average of calories rather than a strict allotment each day. Although I usually fill out my higher calorie days with more of the healthier foods I normally eat, it does help when I want to build in a more indulgent treat (maybe a meal out, or a more decadent dessert, etc.).
In my opinion "free" days are counterproductive because it keeps the fat mentality alive - that underlying desire to eat whatever and whenever we want. But, if you are just talking about making room in your plan for the treats you really enjoy that is a whole different ballgame. Food should be savored and eating it should be a pleasurable experience. Food certainly should not be associated with guilt, pain, or failure. So, build room for the things you really love - just eat smaller portions of them less frequently. And ENJOY them when you do have them. Feeling guilty while you eat your treat (or after you've eaten it) just means you've wasted those calories because you aren't going to be any more satisfied than when you took the first bite.
12-05-2005, 11:00 AM
In my opinion "free" days are counterproductive because it keeps the fat mentality alive - that underlying desire to eat whatever and whenever we want.
jawsmom -- I think there's some truth to this... although that is what my husband is doing. I will note, however, that while he gives himself 1 day/week, in the past month, he has only had one of them! I think this is mostly because he is seeing that he ISN'T deprived "on-plan" -- he's eating a LOT less, but has retained the foods he liked before (plus including some new healthy foods he likes too!). We'll see what happens as times goes by...
12-05-2005, 12:34 PM
I'm with Jawsmom. My goal in this was to change the way I think about and use food. I had to discard my "fat" mentality rather than figure out how to satisfy it and still lose weight. I could write a book about this, but here's the jist:
I had a deeply ingrained, life-long problem with compulsive overeating and obesity. I had come to realize that the entire way I approached the world lead to my attitude about food. In order to lose weight and KEEP it off, I had to face that reality.
That reality meant that I had to treat my condition like a disease which I would manage (not cure) through a healthier lifestyle.
I hoped that one day I could have "treat" foods occasionally, and not have them trigger an overeating episode. Over time (in the months leading up to starting my program) I made peace with the idea that there were certain foods I might never have again. So be it.
I knew -- finally -- that a key to my success was going to be setting myself up for success. In other words, I would not throw needless temptation into my own face. That meant, in part, that I had to put myself through essentially a detox period. I needed to let the part of me that loved large quantities of calorie-dense food atrophy. Feeding it only kept it alive. Even watching food commercials on TV -- not to mention reading recipes, etc. -- feed the beast, as well. So, I cut myself off from my primary hobby -- cooking and reading about food -- in order to dry up those wants.
I had to change my attitude about those treats I wasn't having, too. The more time and energy I spent mourning them, wishing I could have them, etc., the more I wanted them. I needed to apply my energy to POSITIVE thoughts. For example, rather than telling myself I was "deprived," I reminded myself that I was never going to be like other people who either didn't care what they ate or could eat what they wanted without gaining. I was no longer a person who WANTED to eat without limits. I told myself this constantly even when I didn't feel it. Eventually I came to feel it.
Now, here I am 4 years later and here's my reality: Over the years I gradually incorporated richer foods. If I really really want something I'll have it, but I am much more selective about heeding that call. Having a treat isn't about a schedule or an initial impulse or external cues (i.e., movies = popcorn) -- it's about making thoughtful choices each day, each meal, each bite. I still have a problem with triggering, so when I'm feeling vulnerable I will protect myself by not having any rather than risk going overboard. Even when I do, I do not feel deprived, ever, even if I go weeks or months completely on plan. That's not because I'm different from any of you. It's because I finally recognize the difference between "fat" behaviors and attitudes, and healthy ones. Think about it: How many "naturally" slim people have a "cheat day?" Sure, they'll indulge in treats every now and then, and they may be health-conscious and watch what they eat, and cut back one day if they overdo it the day before. But they don't go around whining about all the food they can't have and figuring out ways to have it, and going through rituals of rationalization to let themselves off the hook.
One last thing ... I've said this many times before, but the language we use to talk to ourselves and each other is very powerful. It shapes our attitudes and the way we look at the world. Because of this, there are certain words I refuse to use in this context because they are so loaded and negative. One of them is "cheat." Dieters cheat. People who still want to live in their old fat food world cheat. Using the word cheat implies that you are being "bad" rather than making a conscious, well-considered choice. If you are reshaping your relationship with food, and putting richer foods in a different context, then there is no such thing as cheating.
12-05-2005, 12:44 PM
12-05-2005, 01:03 PM
I've always had a treat day once a week. However more recently we have been doing just 600 extra calories on that day and we still Journal what we eat. It keeps it in check that way and we don't go on a binge.
12-05-2005, 02:36 PM
Howie!! You are two pounds away from a new decade!!!! And six pounds from your original goal!! AWESOME!
12-05-2005, 08:11 PM
I always log everything I have, I will do that even on treat days, I'm trying to find ways to treat while staying under my calorie budget so I dont have to have a certain day alloted to being allowed to have junk :) Like 2 days ago I had one serving of Cheetos *blush* BUT, I at the end of the day I was still 200 cals under my budget, so it shouldn't matter that I had a serving of "junk" as a treat, right? :)
12-05-2005, 09:01 PM
Yes Jen I'm getting close. It's exciting to think of finally being at goal and being able to start a maintenance plan.
12-05-2005, 10:05 PM
Funniegrrl, once again, you've nailed it. :yes: I have nothing to add, except my own experience with successfully negotiating a regular "loosening" of my guidelines.
I didn't usually plan a regular treat; instead, I waited until I started to hanker for something in particular, and then I made sure to reduce my calories and/or increase my exercise as part of an advance-planned treat meal. I planned and tracked my calories and other nutritional goals with an overall weekly goal in mind, so as long as my planned meal didn't compromise my weekly goal I enjoyed it freely and without guilt. The vast majority of my food was totally healthy, and that's how I grew to like it. If I wanted something just totally outrageous, like french fries or fettucine alfredo, I'd wait until I was sure it wasn't a passing fancy (brought on by some suggestive commercial or something,) and then if, after a few days, I was still jonesing for something in particular, I'd plan for it a couple of days out. And then I'd just have a little bit -- it was bigtime portion control. I didn't want to slip into a mentality of "unhealthy food = legitimate reward," you know? Nor did I want to make it a habit, since I was looking for a permanent change in my tastes and cravings. It really did work, too.....as I progressed in my plan, my cravings reduced in number and severity, and really changed in nature -- rarely did I feel like I just had to have some fettucine alfredo or french fries; I'd find myself really ravenous for a big huge salad instead. Or if I wanted something from that never-ending free donut/sandwich/bagel/cake/pastry/chips buffet that exists in my office lunchroom, it grew easier and easier to pass it by and snack instead on 2 oz. of chicken breast and 1/4 cup brown rice.....or a little cottage cheese and an apple.....or some veggie slices and a protein drink. One thing about my plan that I think is very important is that I make sure to spread my calories out over at least 4 meals a day -- usually 5 -- so I didn't let myself ever get very hungry.
So I'm blathering on -- sorry! -- but I hope there was something in my experience that was helpful. My approach to "splurges" worked for me, and I'm going to use the same approach again this time around to get off the steroid/chemo inactivity weight.
Just remember, it really is true: nothing tastes as good as losing weight feels! :yes: Vilandra, you've only been on plan since 11/22, right? Give yourself time to adjust to your new healthy eating habits -- it takes 21 days to create a habit, so you're at the beginning of your journey! I don't mean to tell you what or what not to do, I just want to suggest that you be careful about rewarding a feeling of "deprivation" with unhealthy, off plan foods. Unhealthy food isn't a right, nor is it a privilege. It's just a really bad habit.....one that got us all into the situations from which we're trying so hard to remove ourselves. It IS reversable, though! Best to you, girl -- and good job coming here with the question!
12-06-2005, 12:52 PM
Unhealthy food isn't a right, nor is it a privilege.
Amen, Sister :high:
That's one of the best aphorisms on the topic I've ever seen. :cp:
12-06-2005, 02:08 PM
Unhealthy food isn't a right, nor is it a privilege.
:bravo: I agree with Funniegrrl, awesome statement! Where is it written that we should get to indulge ourselves like insolent little children just because it's not fair that we can't eat like the rest of the skinny chicks who were blessed with amazing genes and supercharged metabolisms? Sure, we can spend our time being resentful of the situation and trying to stick it to 'em by eating whatever the **** we want, while remaining miserable and unhealthy for the rest of our lives. Or we say enough's enough, get over ourselves already, and do something about it!
12-06-2005, 02:30 PM
Well said beverly.
12-07-2005, 12:48 PM
Well, thanks, funniegrrl and Beverly! If you two agree with me, then I KNOW I'm on the right track! :D
Beverly, I really like your "get over ourselves" reference, too! It's really true, what you say about it being a childish behavior. :bb: There really is something petulant about it, isn't there? It's a "waaaaah" thing! :tantrum:
12-07-2005, 01:09 PM
I agree about the childishness thing, too. It's applicable not only regarding the overeating and the eating of unhealthy food, but also regarding healthy food. How many people here talk about being picky eaters, hating vegetables, hating fruit, etc. etc.? We all have tastes and preferences, but a lot of times it's not a statement of "here's where I am now" with the idea of improving, but "here's the line in the sand I have drawn and will not cross." To me, that's definitely petulant and immature. I think maturity is when you look at what you need and just deal with it. You HOPE you'll learn to like -- or at least not mind -- the things that are good for you, but if you don't even think about changing that line-in-the-sand mentality, it'll never happen.
12-07-2005, 01:23 PM
One of my biggest victories was when I realised that trying new fruit and veg wouldn't kill me. I might not like them, but at least I'd know not to eat them in future, and it wouldn't be the end of the world.
I'm still trying to force myself to listen to that message and eat new stuff, although I'm getting better. In fact tonight I tried something I've never tried before, and while I didn't necessarily like it as much as I like other healthy stuff, I can eat it without throwing up or feeling ill so it's worth trying just in case it's the best thing ever!
12-07-2005, 01:33 PM
That's a good point funniegrrl. I've not had to deal with that myself because I like most fruits and vegetables but for those who don't that would be tough. You should try them so you can get the nutrients you need. I never liked them as a kid but my taste have changed. I find that if you start eating healthy and drinking water instead of pop that you do get a taste for the good things. So by all means if you hate your veggies make an effort to try and get them in you might be surprised and find you start to like them.
12-07-2005, 02:49 PM
I think a treat once in awhile is ok. Notice I said a treat, not a binge. But sometimes it's unavoidable, and it does happen that way.
Once you get to your goal, are you never going to have another treat again for the rest of your life? No that's crazy. So a little treat here & there is fine, I think, as long as you know yourself well enough to know your limits & triggers. I for instance, cannot have Skippy peanut butter, white bread, and marshmallow fluff in my house. I just can't. Maybe someday. Not today. :) And knowing that...is half the battle.
12-07-2005, 03:34 PM
Aimee, NO! Of course not! I totally get what you're saying, and I agree with you in great part, but I do want to make a couple of points that I think are important:
The timing of said "treats" is relevant. I know that at 97 pounds from goal, having off-plan food on a regular basis -- even weekly -- is just not the most productive course of action for me. Once in a great while, and in small quantities, fine, as you say -- but I'm just personally of the opinion that it's not really the best idea to "reward" my good behavior with off-plan food, or to give myself freedom to eat unhealthy stuff just because I "deserve" it. If we've still got a long road before us, what the heck do we need unhealthy food for? I'm not trying to come off as a hardass, because I TRULY understand "slipping up" :^: -- I just don't see doing a lot of planning to do it when you have a lot of weight to lose as a very good idea. Not saying "never," just saying it's not a good regular practice.
I think part of this whole process is to change your relationship with food and it's relevancy in your life, so once the weight is lost, you don't go on to regain it because you never fixed the "broken" relationship. I think the goal is to make permanent behavioral changes and to effectively change how we reward and comfort ourselves. There are plenty of other ways in this world that are not edible!! Obviously, everyone has to find what works for them, so I'm truly not trying to get all preachy on your butt! :lol: -- but I do see around 3FC plenty of people stumbling with their food and then rewarding themselves for having been good after a week on plan, and then soon afterwards wondering why they're struggling to resist temptation again. Ya' know what I'm saying?
That said, I love that there are so many roads to a shared destination. What works for one won't for another, so I'm never going to speak in absolutes. I just caution against off plan rewards and not developing/evolving/improving your dietary/nutritional practices to a healthier level. It's not just about the weight, as you know all too well. :) I think some folks could really surprise themselves with the healthy changes they are capable of if they give themselves half a chance and hold themselves to a higher standard.
12-07-2005, 05:24 PM
Aimee, NO! Of course not! I totally get what you're saying, and I agree with you in great part, but I do want to make a couple of points that I think are important:Oh No, Sarah!!!! :hug: Maybe I should read the entire thread first before commenting??? :lol: I only have so much time at work, so sometimes I just skim. My post was in no way an attack on your post--it COULDN'T be, since I did not fully read your post! :(
I completely agree w/what you're saying. A "reward" for losing x amount of pounds should ultimately be something non-caloric, like a CD, manicure (guys get them too now!), concert tickets, etc. To reward with food reminds me of when I hit 280, a 50 pound loss, and my mother said, "Oh that's fantastic! 50 pounds! I just made some brownies, would you like the corner piece?" :lol: :rofl:
I think a great example of this right here in our own midst is Howie & the cheeseburgers. He used to plan them out, schedule them in, and has found he is better off, calorically, physically, mentally, w/o them. Something for us all to think about. ;)
I agree, everyone's path is different. If you can resist peanut butter, then more power to ya! :cheers:
12-07-2005, 06:34 PM
I think the only healthy way to "reward" yourself with food is to donate your lost poundage in food to the local food bank.
I'm looking at doing that in a week or so when I hit 50 pounds gone.
12-07-2005, 07:11 PM
This thread has really made me think a lot. That said, I'm honestly not sure *what* I'm thinking! I agree with a lot of the points that have been made about not rewarding ourselves with unhealthy food and that being a way to increase struggles with temptation.
For me, changing my relationship with food is very important. Sarah talked about using food as a comfort and reward. I'm in agreement -- I've always thought I used food as a comfort. But as I've started this journey, I'm thinking that this is not my problem. I don't seem tempted to use food as a reward or comfort -- at least not in the way I thought I did. Otherwise, I think I would be having more problems when I find myself angry/sad/stressed, etc.
Instead, I've strated to conceptualize my problem with food as this: Food has had power over me, and over the years, I gained weight because I often did not resist the lure of yummy food. I don't want food to have that kind of power over me any more.
That being said, I wonder how well I can change my relationship with food if I deny myself of it because I think I can't resist it?
There are foods I thought would be problematic that don't seem to be (mostly salty foods). Nearly every day I indulge in one kind of snack or another. There are lots of foods that DO have power over me and I can't keep them in the house (mostly sweet foods, cookies and ice cream specifically).
Now, I may never be able to keep some foods around regularly, and I know that. They may always have power over me. :(
But I'm not sure it's problematic to indulge in foods that I like, provided I plan for it (my control issue). An awful lot of thin people seem to think this way, don't they?
Am I making any sense? Am I deluding myself (a possibility to be sure)?
Finally, while I want to change my relationship with food, I still want to enjoy food. For me, one of the most successful aspects of this new lifestyle is that I love the healthy food I'm eating! I will note that I tend NOT to indulge in what I think are my trigger foods.
12-07-2005, 09:36 PM
For me, changing my relationship with food is very important.......Food has had power over me, and over the years, I gained weight because I often did not resist the lure of yummy food. I don't want food to have that kind of power over me any more.
That said, I wonder how well I can change my relationship with food if I deny myself of it because I think I can't resist it?
In response to this, I'll just say that one of my greatest pleasures is that of standing before our office vending machine and just looking at all the stuff inside -- stuff that I would truly enjoy having in my mouth! -- and thinking of its negative impact on my body and misalignment with my goals. I'm serious! I stand there thinking, "Man I LOVE Cheetos -- but they are so not my friend. They will do nothing but hurt me....and for what? For a couple of minutes' pleasure? PLEASE! Get away from me!" It's a great feeling! But I feel very strongly that if I allowed them into my diet on a regular basis, I'd feel more of a pull. This is not to say that, 2 months down the road, I wouldn't enjoy one of those little single servings and go on to eat a salad and broiled chicken later that day. And then stay away from them for another couple of months.
But, conversely, if I allowed myself my beloved Cheetos every coupla' WEEKS, I'd be in big trouble. I think distance contributes to perspective, rather from reducing it. That's really been the case for me, anyway. I do much better resisting the temptation when its pleasure is less fresh in my mind, you know? ;) For me, staler is better.
In my case, it's not a case of "Absence makes the mouth grow fonder," but "Out of mouth, out of mind." :)
12-07-2005, 10:33 PM
Sarah -- Thanks for your response! When I think about what you've said, I know I've done that for many foods. My "victory basket" is the candy basket on our secretary's desk that I used to chow on nearly every day. I haven't touched it since July. At first it was my nemesis, but now it represents my victory.
There are foods I do have frequently... but they do tend to be things I didn't chow on before (like popcorn and cheez-its... low fat versions). I don't tend to crave them though, but enjoy the crunch.
Then I think about things I've tried to incorporate... as a substitute for other sweet foods -- but I crave them when they're in the house, so I think that's a bad idea. I just don't have control around them. When we had pumpkin pie in the house, I felt the need to have a piece a day (luckily, that was only 2 days). I was relieved in a way when it was gone.
So I think I know exactly what you mean, but haven't really incorporated that thinking into everything I'm doing.
So, in the spirit of "out of mouth, out of mind", let's call it "non-food for thought"! I will be "chewing" over these ideas for a while! :)