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Old 05-16-2009, 04:43 AM   #1
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Default Cheat Day is depressing?

Well I decided to have a 3000 calorie "cheat day" about once every 2 weeks or so, because I've heard that suddenly eating more just one day in a blue moon can shock your metabolism into high gear.

So today I ate... well... bad foods. At the end of the day I ended at about 2800 calories, but I've never been so depressed in my life. I kept thinking to myself, "God! I used to eat like this... every day." It's just so hard for me... I never realized how much of a pig I was ACTUALLY being. Like it never even realized.. I was so freaking gluttonous. Like I used to think having a cheeseburger AND a few slices of pizza for lunch and a pop and cake at night every day was OKAY!! Good god. I deserve this extra weight the way I was eating. I DESERVE the 16 stretch marks on my stomach, which I tried to deny was from weight gain for so long and it only kept getting worse.

I gained 35 pounds in just a few months. That's like 12 pounds a month! If I had continued eating like that it could have easily gotten REALLY bad, like to the point where I was a whale. Thank god. In some ways I don't feel bad about having been 212 pounds when I started losing anymore. It makes me feel thankful. So so so so thankful that I caught this earlier on rather than later. 12 pounds a month means.. I was practically gaining a pound every 2 days! That is just.. unbelievable. I was such a PIG. There's not even another word for it. I'm ashamed of myself. I felt it a little when I went home to my family over winter break. I felt the compulsion to grab at every piece of food I could find. I'd easily go through 2 bags of chips and then MORE snacks and then have a huge dinner. I felt kind of piggy but I was doing it anyway. Now I just feel so ashamed of myself that I let myself get that fat. That it never even occurred to me what I was putting in my body.. and almost all of it was junk food.

This just all kind of welled up on my cheat day today, because I ate kind of like how I used to eat every day. Actually, I still ate LESS than I used to eat every day in the past, which makes it even worse. This cheat day just... it brought up a lot of emotions... negative negative emotions. They all just hit me at once while I was having a cheeseburger and pizza for lunch... and lots of sugary drinks.. and lots of frozen yogurt. While I was dieting I was just looking forward and not thinking about the past. I don't feel like I am depriving myself now and this cheat day is letting me be undeprived for a day... it actually makes me feel like I'm finally eating the RIGHT amount of food for once that I should have been eating all along. I don't feel deprived. I want ice cream? I allow myself some ice cream... if I've mostly had good foods that day. And I have a small scoop... and savor it. I can have anything I want.. once in a while, and not too much of it. I don't feel DEPRIVED. I feel like this is how I should (and can) be eating for the rest of my life. But this cheat day seems to make me reflect on the past and all these negative emotions start welling up. Does anyone else have this problem?

Even though I know the cheat day helps, I still feel bad about it, so I've decided to have a 1500 calorie day once a week, and a 3000 calorie day once every 2 weeks (I eat about 2000 calories a day so this would make it average out to 2000), but I'm still afraid every cheat day is going to make me feel like this... =/ Is there any other way to "shock" my system without making myself feel like a complete pig and getting depressed about it? I have no interest in a cheat day for the sake of not feeling deprived, because I don't feel deprived. I just want the benefit of shocking my system every few weeks to help keep losing, not all these negative feelings.
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Last edited by megwini; 05-16-2009 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:06 AM   #2
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cheat days are very tricky! I have one once a week and i feel the same way as you-very depressed and i think sometimes that i am stopping my progress..I have 1500cal in my cheat day,because if i eat more-i will feel very guilty!Good luck with your success-i'm sure you will find the best possible way to deal with it...
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:56 AM   #3
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I think the jury's out on how helpful a shock day is, especially if it's a regular one.

First - congratulations on your realization!!!! I'm sorry you got bitten by such negative feelings but absolutely wow, well done, amazing! that you've got this msg loud and clear now!

These are only my personal thoughts but:

1. I think calling a high calorie day a 'cheat day' is reinforcing a negative feeling that being on a weightloss programme is a bad thing; it's not! The excess weight is bad, your dealing with it is not. Your dealing with it will be a lifelong issue for you: sorry but there it is ~ look what happened when you didn't concentrate - +12lbs every month! (No criticism from me, I could do that in 2 weeks, meh) To call a day a 'cheat day' has (for me) the long-term implication that at the end of the weightl Loss part of the programme it can be abandoned, because it's done. Unfortunately, successful maintainers tell us that the only way to maintain successfully is to keep doing what we did while we were losing.

2. I have one higher calorie and one lower calorie day in the week, the rest fairly static. I'm losing weight on 1450ish Tuesday to Saturday, 1600 Sunday and 1200 Monday, the day before weighday. TBH, some Sundays I have to struggle to make the 1600, because I don't eat processed any more, not much fatty meat either (my big previous delight) but I do make myself do it, because there is a real temptation to go too low. I've lost 37lbs in 108 days so it seems to work but I'm not able to say if having a shock day would have made any difference but it works out at a healthy 2.4lbs a week.

3. I have neither the expertise nor the impertinence to criticize what you are doing but I want to suggest that even if a 3000 day is helping your loss, I would seriously consider trading it in for something that didn't make you feel so bad. Food is a joy, eating it should Not make us feel unhappy or guilty.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease, whatever level you go for on a higher day, Don't call it a cheat - cheating is such a negative word and you are Not cheating, you are incorporating a different daily calorie budget into your plan on a regular basis. The very word 'cheat' can make us feel guilty: you're not cheating, you're On Plan!
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:00 AM   #4
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I don't think I'll get into the rest of your post, but the suggestion to not call it a cheat day is a good one. Consider using refeed or maintenance. I do usually eat at maintenance every 12 weeks, for a week. That puts me at ~3000 calories as I still lose weight on 2000 a day. However, I usually plan my 3000 calories at least a day in advance. I'll add something in that I've maybe been in the mood for, but felt was too high calorie to fit in on a daily basis (ie. bacon - 200), an ounce of almonds (164) and maybe just a little bit more of what I usually eat. That will be the week I'm more willing to eat out as well. It's rare that I fill it with junk, as I find it harder then to stop eating it when I'm done.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:10 AM   #5
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I do a refeed day once a week, eating a few hundred calories above maintenance. If you're having psychological blocks (which are completely understandable) you might want to try eating something healthy on your refeed days, not junk. There are plenty of healthy foods with higher calories, so you won't have to consume massive amounts and feel like a pig.

This is what I had yesterday (my refeed day):

Breakfast (500 calories)
Egg burrito (2 scrambled eggs, black beans, peppers, onions, and 1 ounce of aged cheddar, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and topped with a spoonful of spicy black bean dip) - 450 calories
1 cup of strawberries - 50 calories

Snack (300 calories)
1 cup Chobani Greek yogurt - 120 calories
1 Luna bar - 180 calories

Lunch (550 calories)
Grilled chicken panini with baby spinach and avocado on multigrain bread - 400 calories
1 cup roasted broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil - 75 calories
2/3 cup frozen grapes - 75 calories

Snack (200 calories)
2 stalks celery with 2 tablespoons peanut butter - 200 calories

Dinner (750 calories)
6 ounce wild salmon fillet crusted with slivered almonds - 350 calories
1 cup cooked edamame in the pod - 100 calories
2/3 cup of quinoa with asparagus, garlic and scallions - 200 calories
5 ounce glass of red wine - 100 calories

Dessert (200 calories)
2 squares dark chocolate - 100 calories
1/2 ounce raw cashews - 100 calories

I ate 2500 calories and I didn't feel gross or guilty. I mostly stuck to healthy foods that were higher calorie (avocado, olive oil, cashews, peanut butter, dark chocolate, salmon with almond crust, grapes, edamame, etc.) It can be done healthily!
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:22 AM   #6
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I am not an expert, but I think the idea behind eating more once in a while to boost your body into losing weight can be good, but if you use that day to eat in a way that disgusts you, it's going to be bad for you physically and emotionally. I would suggest using the higher calorie day to eat more food - but not necessarily lower quality food. I agree with what was said about using the day to eat something you've been craving, but don't completely throw your healthy diet out the window! Maybe have pizza with a salad or some fruits and veggies, instead of pizza and a cheeseburger and cake. Or have larger portions of a healthy meal, and have a dessert you love. You can boost your metabolism and get a fix of something delicious without going overboard and feeling like you blew it. Good luck!
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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I agree with Rowenna: if your planned indulgent day (whatever anyone chooses to call it) makes you feel down and depressed, I would suggest that you not do it, or at least tweak it so it doesn't upset you.

I had never heard of this concept before, but I wonder if that's why, when I slip and eat a bit more than usual once every week or so, I don't seem to suffer any too terribly bad consequences on the scale. Interesting. Still, if I were to use this method, I think I would limit it to one meal, rather than making myself eat food that, frankly, has begun to repulse me, all day long. Still, everybody's body is different, right?

I'm sorry you spent the day depressed the other day. That stuff sucks
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #8
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your metabolism would get a kick start or "shock" with exercise (or modifying your current exercise routine) and a good diet. sugar and fat don't help.

even if you think going over your usual calorie intake...do it with healthy choices. have some dark chocolate, a glass of wine, a good dessert, some good cheese with whole wheat crackers,...

Last edited by willow68; 05-16-2009 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:45 AM   #9
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I'll add another voice to:

You don't have to do it. It works very well for some people, and not for others.

It's not cheating.

It's a day for more healthy foods, not reverting to junk food.

A treat is OK. Binging is something different.

It doesn't have to be 3000 calories. That's a lot! A few hundred will do!

By making your higher calorie day more reasonable, the rest of your days can be a little higher - and that will make you less likely to binge.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:34 PM   #10
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Would skipping the really high calorie day and just doing calorie cycling all the time be as effective as the one high-calorie day every 2 weeks? I used this calculator http://www.naturalphysiques.com/tools.php?itemid=64 and if I used the weight 182 I can get in the Fat Loss 11x my baseline calories as average (2000 a day) then my high days would be one 2400 calorie day and one 2600 calorie day a week.
But if this method can be just as good at avoiding homeostasis as a shock day, I think this would be better for me. I could have a little more for lunch that day, and a little more for dinner, to get to 2600 calories for one day, and still eat healthy food the rest of that day, and I wouldn't feel like such a pig, I think.
Also, if I were to zig zag, is it best to do it all the time or to do a period of zigzagging and then a period of 2000 calories every day and then back to zigzagging, etc? I can't remember which one is more effective.
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Start Date: 03/23/09 - 212 lbs
Goal Date: 01/01/10 - 152 lbs
Current Weight: 157 lbs
~~60 lbs lost!~~
Getting back to maintenance weight:

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Old 05-16-2009, 09:48 PM   #11
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I've never heard of a "cheat day" either and i read alot of diet and weight loss articles and books.
I don't know what the intent of it is or if it actually 'shocks the metabolism' but it sounds to much like something that people would turn in to an excuse to eat alot.
I don't doubt that treating yourself to something special on occasion is not going to impact your health significantly, but forcing yourself to eat more calories than you feel you need sounds like sketchy diet advise to me.
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