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General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

One cheat day a week, is it a really bad idea?

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default One cheat day a week, is it a really bad idea?

For two weeks straight I have broken down and cheated on Wednesdays. Both times I started by eating some thing bad but small like a cookie or a table spoon of ice cream. I keeping thinking I can control it but then I just end up losing motivation and spent the rest of the day semi-bingeing till I feel sick.

I am thinking that instead I should just give myself one day each week to eat whatever I want that way I may not go over board like I did today. I am worried however that I will get uninspired and fall back on old habits.

Any thoughts or advice?

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Old 08-04-2011, 01:02 AM   #2
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Personally, eating whatever I want all the time but limiting the portion size works better for me than having some food "off limits" all the time except "cheat" meals. I don't like to look at food as good or bad, plus I want to develop a relationship with food I can maintain for the rest of my life. For me, eating a cookie or a tbs of ice cream should be a very normal part of a balanced diet
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:08 AM   #3
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There are a number of things you could do, but I can only really say what works for me.

1) I don't have off-limits foods. If I want something, I'm welcome to schedule/budget into my plans. No guilt, no regret. It just is what it is.

2) No "cheat" days. No days "off plan". There is somewhat two separate issues. I hate the word cheat. I think it sounds sneaky, and it includes a implication that I should feel guilty for having "cheated". No "off plan" days. I reached this weight, because I wasn't vigilant. Returning to number 1 briefly, if I want to schedule something in, I can. Regardless of what the food is, or how much it is (even when I do happen to go overboard -- no one is perfect) it MUST be counted. I must be accountable for what goes in my mouth.

Again, this is just what works best mentally for me. I can budget. I can plan. No more feeling guilty for "cheating".
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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Ditto what indiblue said, especially about developing a healthy relationship with food. I don't want food to control me -- either by overeating OR by uber-dieting. I indulge occasionally and find small portions really are satisfying. That said, there are some foods I avoid because I've found that it's difficult to eat a small portion. But I've come to realize that and I don't feel deprived, I just don't really want them anymore because I know they're gonna screw me up. And I don't have "cheat" days because I'm not on a "diet". I simply eat proper portions of healthy whole foods 95% of the time. And I will do it for the rest of my life. There's room there for a bit of ice cream now and then.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:07 AM   #5
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I think it really all depends on you. Some people do well with a cheat meal or cheat day, others don't.

For many years I would be strictly on plan most of the month, but would undo every bit of progress during the three to five days of the month around my period.

I think all you can really do is experiment and see how it works out for you.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:28 AM   #6
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Wednesdays? Lol. All great ideas above! I'm like you, one spoon/bite of a 'bad food' and i'm in a feeding frenzy But personally i've taken the focus off weight loss and 'good' and 'bad' foods, and cheat days for me are a no-no, there's no stopping me lol. I just try to eat as healthy as possible each day, and a little ice cream or cookie won't sabotage your efforts, cos I believe that's the general feeling that prompts non-stop eating. Allow yourself a treat every now and then within your calorie budget, and if you go overboard on one food item, it won't destroy your plan provided you stay on track. And even if you gain a few pounds, just get back up and keep going- it's part of the learning process. I like the balance trick: If I eat something high calorie, I balance it out at my next meal or even a meal prior to the treat (pre-planning) eg with a bowl of steamed greens or a salad or a green smoothie (not compensating, it's not punishment) in order to stay within range. So don't fret, find what works for you, and the less you view this as a diet, the easier it will be not to feel guilty after eating something. That said, I never eat potatoe chips Cheers!
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovely View Post
There are a number of things you could do, but I can only really say what works for me.

1) I don't have off-limits foods. If I want something, I'm welcome to schedule/budget into my plans. No guilt, no regret. It just is what it is.

2) No "cheat" days. No days "off plan". There is somewhat two separate issues. I hate the word cheat. I think it sounds sneaky, and it includes a implication that I should feel guilty for having "cheated". No "off plan" days. I reached this weight, because I wasn't vigilant. Returning to number 1 briefly, if I want to schedule something in, I can. Regardless of what the food is, or how much it is (even when I do happen to go overboard -- no one is perfect) it MUST be counted. I must be accountable for what goes in my mouth.

Again, this is just what works best mentally for me. I can budget. I can plan. No more feeling guilty for "cheating".
Ditto to all of this! This is a lifestyle change, so if you feel you have to cheat, it may be really hard to stick with longterm. I love the concept of "budgeting in" treats or fave foods. It's makes you accountable, but if you REALLY want it, go for it and have a smaller portion.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:44 AM   #8
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I think it's a personal thing. Some people are able to eat something 'unhealthy' in small portions and keep eating normal the rest of the day. I am not one of those people. It's not like I am dieting super strict.. but once carbs/sugar go in my mouth my brain works really hard to convince me I am eating bad foods, and so the day is wasted already. So, I give into cravings if I have anything near because.. tomorrow I'll start anew. Now - this is not a healthy mindset. But for now, thats how it works for me.

I am however able to not -want- carbs/sugar every day (and thus spent less energy on denying myself) if I know that once a week, or every 2 weeks I allow myself chips and cookies. Those are both things I can't eat in moderation. When it's in my house, it's in my tummy. Period. People have told me that two months or so of abstinence will make the craving go away and self control come back. But so far (one month) it's not gotten any easier.

For me a 'cheat day' works. However - I am 'easily' satisfied. I just get some chips, cookies and one can of soda and that's it. I am done for a week or more again. I eat veggies/fruits the rest of the day so I don't really go over maintenance calories on such a day. I hope to get to a point where I can incorperate snacks into my food intake any given day without going overboard. But for now that doesn't work for me. Except when I am in a place where there is only 1 snack, and I'd have to go somewhere or ask some one in order to get more of it. It's really basically just a problem of an open pack of something and not being able to resist it.


Edit: I think I do the same as some advice, but still call it a cheat day whereas others wouldn't. I budget the calories in one day a week and allow myself to go on maintenance calories that day. I call it a cheal day because it involves foods that are really in no way clean/healthy and so don't really belong in my longterm plan of living healthy and clean. It really to me IS an overboard thing. I hope to get to a point where I can enjoy fruits just as much as a bag of cookies and eliminate them from my intake completely. Might not be realistic - but I think it's nuts that stuff that's so full of e-numbers and fat is a thing we like more than healthy stuff.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:13 AM   #9
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A while back I did Body for Life, which encourages a cheat day. Hubby and I found ourselves binging like MAD on those days. Obviously, not the way to go.

On the other hand, I find that consistently eating clean without any treats also sets me up for binges. What can I say? I love tasty food, and I kinda dislike most clean foods.

So what works for me is scheduling in "treats" or "cheats" or whatever you want to call them, but ONLY in the evenings/nights. So Hubby and I will go out to dinner to a "treat" meal. Or I'll plan for a bowl of buttered popcorn with a movie at night. Or I'll have a cookie or two for a bedtime snack.

What's important about this for me is that it's always scheduled at the end of the day. This helps me avoid a whole day of binging, because my "cheat" is usually the last thing I eat. Then I can start the next day fresh and new and on plan.

I find this works best for my mentality, which is often an "all or nothing" approach to eating healthy. I wish I had more control over it, but I don't.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:14 AM   #10
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I started having a cheat meal on Wednesdays at lunch to raise my leptin levels to boost my metabolism. I could never do a whole cheat day, I'd be seriously sick, lol. I eat so cleanly now that my system would go into sugar shock, I think. It's not necessarily a bad thing especially as you get closer to your goal weight.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:39 AM   #11
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Small treats more often work better for me. I think having a full day where you eat whatever you want would just turn every other a day into a countdown until you can indulge/binge. A treat or cheat day shouldn't be a reward for staying OP - that seems so backwards.

I read a book where the author/doctor recommends avoiding foods that trigger overeating until you have managed your eating habits to a point where you could safely reintegrate them. If you find that a spoonful of ice cream leads to the whole tub, or it leads you to giving up for a day, don't buy ice cream until you are more confident that you can stand up to it. I don't buy chips because one leads to half the bag... and I don't even like them very much! They're just so easy to eat. If you can show restraint at the grocery store, it'll help you a lot once you get home.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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Because I'm short, middle-aged, and don't do intense exercise, I have to be very careful about what I eat. For me to lose, I need to stay within my calorie range pretty consistently. So, no, I cannot have an entire "cheat day." If I did, it would ruin an entire week's progress for me.

However, during the summer, my husband and I go out to a fine dining restaurant once a week. During that one meal, I allow myself to eat more than I normally do. Even though I watch it, that meal still comes to 1000 - 1300 calories----and that is with me watching it!! So, that day's calories are usually 1700 - 1800 (with a light breakfast and lunch). Since my target calorie range is 1400 per day, I try to shave off 100 calories per day over the next few days to offset the calories from that meal. This works out well because I want to calorie cycle anyway.

So, having to do all that for just one cheat meal is hard enough; I would not be able to repair the damage from an entire cheat day.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:13 PM   #13
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Well now that I'm in maintenance, I don't really do "cheat meal", but when my entire 60 pound weight loss journey, I DID eat one cheat MEAL weekly. IMHO, I think an entire cheat DAY may set you up for binges...and may sabotogue your weight loss for that week.

Now...I just eat whatever I want all the time, but watch my portion sizes. I eat cookies, pie, cakes, etc everyday. There is NO FOOD (takeout even) that is off limits to me...the key...portion control. When I was trying to lose, the excess sodium and fat of some of these foods would sabotogue my weight loss efforts if I ate them everyday. However, in moderation, I can eat them everyday and it is easy for me to maintain my weight while doing so. I never feel deprived and I never LONG for any food...if I want it...I eat it...simple.

That said...it should be noted that I do exercise regularly (whether it be running or swimming). Obviously...the more I exercise, the more cookies I can eat and maintain!
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:58 PM   #14
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I'm a fan of "cheating" in moderation. Not going crazy, just giving your soul a reward for doing well. I have like one herseys kiss as an example.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:48 PM   #15
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This sounds like a full-on binge waiting to happen. If I had a cheat day, I could see myself eating 5,000 cals, every time. But that's me. Only you know what works for you.
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