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*Cheat Days*

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Old 02-02-2014, 10:17 PM   #1
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I count calories, I've lost 28 pounds.

I am very dedicated and have not slipped even a little since I started, but I told myself not to say I'd "never" eat something again, and that one day a month I'd go out and eat a meal I was missing.

Last month I suffered little to no guilt about my cheat day -

Tonight I went out, got italian. Ate an appetizer of cheesy breadsticks and 3 slices of pizza. Also drank a pepsi for the first time in two months.

I did add my calories into my counter.. just to have a running tally of it all, and seeing the numbers.. just seeing them, and feeling all the bread heavy in my stomach after.. I feel awful.

I spend all month planning out my cheat day, and now I'm in a huge regret spiral and I know logically its not THAT BAD its just ONE MEAL but my mind is busy worrying if one night of bad food choices is going to shake my willpower.

Anyone go through this feeling.. or have a better way of dealing with it or rationalizing it. I want to be able to say that one day out of a month I can go to a favorite restaurant and not overthink my calories, thats not asking too much right?
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:49 PM   #2
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I think that one day of the month you CAN have a cheat day, unless you find that it repeatedly causes you to backslide into days or weeks of off-plan eating.

Now that I'm on maintenance, I myself two "celebration meals" a week. If it's one meal, I'm fine. If I let it turn into a half day of bingeing, I gain. What I consider a Celebration meal is one appetizer, one main dish with sides, a drink, and a dessert.

I did not do these meals until I reached my goal weight. It would have been ok to do one a month before goal, but it would have taken a bit longer to get to goal.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:56 AM   #3
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I think it's completely normal to feel as you do. I find that often people who have had to struggle with weight (like me) do not trust themselves. I've been on maintenance since Nov. 2011, and it took me more than a year into it to begin to trust myself. That first year, each time I would overeat, I would feel like, "Oh no! I'm going to regain all my weight!" But as time went on and I didn't, I realized that I really do have control of what I eat. Now, I trust myself 95% (there is still that 5% that panics occasionally). For example, the past month or so, I've been really bad about BLNs (bites, licks, nibbles). I mean, I could not go into the kitchen without picking on something. This week, I've vowed that NO MATTER WHAT, I will not pick. I've given myself permission to eat another meal if I'm hungry, but I will not pick. So far, so good.

The point is that you gave yourself permission to eat that meal. You did it. What's wrong with that? Enjoy it and move on. In the scheme of things, you've done well by planning out that meal. Think of how much you might have eaten before your started calorie counting.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
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Everyone's weight loss journey is different. It is not a simple as A to B, its a long and winding road with many obstacles along the way. As long as you get to your destination it doesn't matter the route you take.

If you have chosen to have a cheat day once a month then have it - guilt free. Don't count or criticise.

Enjoy it and then back on track till your next one. If that is how you cope then there is nothing wrong with that. It takes a lot of will power to be able to do that and get straight back on the next day.....I know I couldn't do that.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:28 PM   #5
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On one of the blogs I visit the blogger refers to them as "treat" meals rather than cheat meals. I like that better. Cheat implies you have done something wrong. I think that you can sometimes eat just about anything. I do think that some foods need to be limited and some maybe rethought entirely (I don't drink sugary drinks since they have no nutritional benefits at all). But, even so, one can lose weight and be healthy and occasionally eat foods that one can't really eat on a daily basis to lose weight. So I like the idea of "treat meals" rather than cheat meals. If I think I am "cheating" by eating something, I am far more likely to go off track than if I just consider the meal an occasional treat.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:56 PM   #6
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I look at it as a lifestyle change.

Most of the time, I don't eat those kinds of foods.

But it's ok to do it, once in a while, keeping the overall plan in mind.

Normally, Sunday morning big breakfast is my thing. But, if I have a weekend wedding or graduation or birthday party, I plan accordingly, to fit in the occasion.
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Old 02-14-2014, 03:45 AM   #7
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When doing the "cheat day" its best not to call it a cheat day. Call it something like a YOLO day or YOLO meal because of "you only live once" Its a lot better than saying you're cheating to me. It may also help with the guilt. Having one YOLO meal each month is okay. A lot of the reasons as to why people stop dieting is because they miss those foods so much. So its good to not deprive yourself of that food as long as you have it in moderation. What you are doing is perfectly fine and you shouldn't feel guilty about it.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharityMarie View Post

I am very dedicated and have not slipped even a little since I started,


I did add my calories into my counter.. just to have a running tally of it all, and seeing the numbers.. just seeing them, and feeling all the bread heavy in my stomach after.. I feel awful.

I spend all month planning out my cheat day, and now I'm in a huge regret spiral ....busy worrying if one night of bad food choices is going to shake my willpower.

Anyone go through this feeling.. or have a better way of dealing with it or rationalizing it. I want to be able to say that one day out of a month I can go to a favorite restaurant and not overthink my calories, thats not asking too much right?
Wow, I read so much of my old self in your post that I'm stunned that I can't relate to this anymore in my day to day eating. Dieting is like walking a tight rope and it's so easy to stumble and fall off. I couldn't live on that tight rope anymore. I hate the idea that I was restricting myself and then felt like a total failure whenever I ate a piece of food. That's no way to live and keep living.

Willpower has nothing to do with weightloss. Will power is the most unreliable source of energy in the world lol. It comes and goes with the wind and most people become very depressed trying to hold on to their willpower. Rather, it's a series of habits that you have to instill in your day that will get you to your goal. I mean, imagine if you had to rely on willpower alone to go to work every morning. Or to brush your teeth. Or to take out the garbage. That would suck big time - you just form the habit and stick to it rain or shine right?

I don't diet anymore. I just eat what I want and pay attention to hunger cues and I'm losing weight. And now I don't have to beat myself up every time I "cheat" or "indulge" and I don't count calories or carbs or anything like that anymore. I'm stressed out even by the mere thought of avoiding food.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:26 AM   #9
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For me, treat meals are a psychological necessity. I usually plan them around upcoming events, like a family dinner at a good restaurant. I notice that if I don't have a treat meal for a while, internal tension builds up and can lead me to overeat in an unplanned way.

That's exactly what happened yesterday. I hadn't had a bona fide treat meal in a while and had noticed a sense of lack building up inside me. Yesterday I was sick, so perhaps my defenses were down. I ended up eating about 3,500 cals of random stuff. I felt worse about this than if I'd planned to overeat.

All of which is to say: For those of us who are able to get right back on plan the next meal, I strongly believe in planned treat meals.

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Old 02-14-2014, 09:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lin43 View Post
For example, the past month or so, I've been really bad about BLNs (bites, licks, nibbles). I mean, I could not go into the kitchen without picking on something. This week, I've vowed that NO MATTER WHAT, I will not pick.
Good to see you on the board, Lin43. I'm of two minds about those BLNs. On the one hand they're uncontrolled, which makes them a little dangerous. On the other hand I'm coming to realize they may be the type of eating I enjoy most, precisely because of their "sneaky" aspect. (I can thank Lionel Shriver, whose book A Perfectly Good Family I'm now reading, for this insight.) Life without those serendipitous tastes at the supermarket would be a little duller, IMO.

So, for the time being, I'm not doing anything to rein in the BLNs.

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Old 02-14-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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I just remind myself that cheat days don't have any sort of impact on my weight at the end of the day, and with that reminder, I ask myself "Do I still want to do the cheat day?" In general, I don't. Don't really know why, but I prefer to be 100% clean. I think that everyone is different and we can all do either cheat days or not do them, but I used to do cheat days because I thought that they were the "thing to do" and that otherwise I was depriving myself, when...after really thinking about it, I never feel all that deprived being on plan. I ask myself "what if I died tomorrow and never ate X again?" and hten I think well "X can be any food, including celery lol. Oh well. I won't do a lot of things I want to do if I die all of a sudden tomorrow."

I think that if cheat days do what they are supposed to do - make you feel not deprived, allow you to enjoy all the foods that you want to without guilt, helps you find the way to achieve and maintain your goals in the long run, they are great, but I don't think that they are a necessary.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:54 AM   #12
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Cheat days are great - if you truly love the food and feel more happiness and satisfaction than regret afterward!

Willpower and weight loss are very closely intertwined in my experience, dieting and staying on a deficit for a long period of time is unnatural and our bodies generally want to maintain (or gain!), not lose. The discipline required to count calories and stick to a plan is great, and losing 28 pounds is awesome!
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:02 AM   #13
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1.If this is the result you get when you have a cheat day, i don't think its working for you.
2. The way you are thinking about what you've done is the problem, not what you did. Thinking like this about one planned meal is really irrational.

Try to stand back and get some perspective. You know how many calories it is. If you let your worries go, and just go back to the program and stop thinking about/feeling guilty/worrying about the past, you will move back to the right mental zone much faster.

I think the cheat day idea is not working for you though.

Are you really craving those things all the time or are you just winding yourself up with planning to go out and eat non-diet foods. I think its a program for self-sabotage.

If i were to do something similar in my diet, i know it would be a disaster. I would choose things like chocolate and ice-cream and lollies and it would make me want to eat more and more all over again. So i don't do it.

I think the concept of cheat days is a bad one.

Do you think most smokers can afford to have one day a month of smoking an not see ramifications. Well i know i couldn't.

If the food you are eating on your diet is not satisfying you, then adjust your daily food so that its yummier but still healthy and not high in calories.

Don't give yourself a hard time. You haven't done anything wrong. Just adopt more pleasant strategies.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Do you think most smokers can afford to have one day a month of smoking an not see ramifications. Well i know i couldn't.
I do exactly that -- smoke only on out-of-town business trips, which averages out to about one day per month. I've been doing this for about 10 years now. I do realize I'm the exception, though. Perhaps treat meals work for me for the same reason: I'm able to get back on plan the next meal. (And for me, a treat meal just means eating A LOT as I don't have any forbidden foods.)

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Old 02-15-2014, 01:17 PM   #15
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I do exactly that -- smoke only on out-of-town business trips, which averages out to about one day per month. I've been doing this for about 10 years now. I do realize I'm the exception, though. Perhaps treat meals work for me for the same reason: I'm able to get back on plan the next meal. (And for me, a treat meal just means eating A LOT as I don't have any forbidden foods.)

F.
Me too. I was a smoker for years and quit 3yrs ago. I've been able to enjoy the occassional cigarette, about 4-5cigs a month on average and have been doing so for several months without feeling the ramifications or feeling the need to smoke more.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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