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Old 05-31-2009, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default It is ok for a cheat meal?

My weight loss journey will be just that; a journey. Should i treat myself once a week for a little bit of something to keep me going? I try to think of the pros and cons. The girls from my job tell me that if im doing good all week long then I should have a cheat meal. But what if it turns into binging and then throws me completly of the band wagon. What should I do?? Helpp
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:37 PM   #2
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Yikes! I see a bunch of things in your post! Hope you don't mind if I address them...
Just terming it a "cheat meal" means to me that you might want to think of your eating plan as a lifestyle change instead of a "diet" that you are other ON or OFF (i.e. cheating).
So, it IS ok to plan in treats, within your eating guidelines. But if you are on a restrictive regimen that you can't maintain over the long term, you may have difficulties in maintenance, when your "cheats" revert to an eating pattern.
Check out the maintainers' thread. Most, if not all, are where they are because they changed their thoughts about food and the choices that they made. They planned in some of their faves, but found over time that what they USED to like was no longer WHAT they liked to eat.
Just some thoughts, IMHO...
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:40 PM   #3
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"I think there are several problems with a "cheat" meal. For one, it can lead to more unplanned "cheats" later. But I think the bigger problem is thinking of it as a "cheat." That is, it seems counterintuitive to reward yourself for staying on plan by going off plan. I'm not saying there aren't times you won't splurge and eat more than you normally do -- but if you do that, then you aren't cheating, are you?

I think you're the only person who can figure out what to do, but if you're just getting started with this, then planning to go off plan might not be the best move.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:45 PM   #4
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This has been a topic of concern for me also in the year that I have started my new way of eating and being active. In the begining I would "cheat" once a week. I called it a cheat because it was high calorie "junk, or fast" food. ice cream or sweets. things that I dont normally eat on my plan. so i did call it a cheat. I whole heartedly intend on maintaining my goal weight the rest of my life, so this is a life style for me. I think you do need to account for treats or cheats (whatever you want to call them) into your plan because we all need to induldge once in a while, imo. since I have been losing slower lately I started giving myself a "cheat" only twice a month now, because I think my weight loss has slowed because of it. If you can go w/o a cheat meal, then Im sure the weight will come off quicker, however I personally dont know how long I could last eating on my plan w/o a treat every now and then. good luck to you. you just have to do what works for you and what you will be able to do for the rest of your life.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #5
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I think everyone needs to find what works for them. But I try and save those times for when I REALLY want something.

I don't want to have to eat crap Saturday because it's a special day -- and I don't want to look forward to bad food on the weekend after doing so much to treat my body better.

So for me, it's not a specific day or time, it's when you really crave it. And then you have to have the extra and stop. I find THAT to be the tough part, which is why it doesn't seem worth it just because it's a designated time to eat a treat.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:55 PM   #6
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Rewarding yourself with food just seems like a bad idea to me. SO much of weight loss is mental, and like everybody else has said, you shouldn't think of it as a "cheat meal." Now, there's no reason not to have your favorites now and again or to eat a little more than you normally do - but you can plan these things out, and if you plan them, it's still staying on plan. If you're new to this and worried about binging, it may not be the best of ideas.

For me, personally, previous diets were torture. I dropped 20 lbs one summer by calorie restricting to the point of starving myself. It was a terrible time for me, as I was also influenced by some pretty unhealthy thoughts. Eating became this forbidden pleasure, and because I was doing so well, I began to "cheat." Cheating quickly turned into binging followed by bouts of self-hate. I stopped dieting and just binged all the time. Needless to say, I gained all the weight back, then some!

This time around it's different. Now I eat more than I used to, but I eat more good stuff. I'm much more careful about what goes into my body. But I enjoy my diet, I enjoy my food - and therefore there's no reason to go off plan! Doesn't mean that I deny myself the things I love (which I used to) -the other night I had ice cream and sherry, tonight I had lobster - I just plan for them. I make sure to eat well if I know I'm going to have these things. And I'm losing weight. Granted, not as much as I'd like and not as fast as I used to, but the difference is that I'm actually happy this time around, and in my long history of dieting, I have never been happy.

Ultimately only you can know what's right for you. But if you have a plan that's reasonable that you can stay committed to, I think that's the most important.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:59 PM   #7
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I have a cheat day (which I prefer to call a refeed, not a cheat) once a week where I eat at, or a little above, maintenance level. If you can handle a cheat meal or cheat day without using it as an excuse to abandon the rest of your plan, then go ahead. It works wonders for keeping your metabolism from crashing as you maintain an overall calorie deficit. However, if you find that the rest of your week gets derailed by your "cheat," it's probably better that you skip it and stick to a modest calorie deficit consistently.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:09 PM   #8
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From my point of view, it seems like folks are against having a planned calorie increase because of how it's labeled (i.e., cheat meal) as it suggests abandoning your eating plan and doing something wrong. But if you plan your cheat meal, you're not actually cheating --this is part of your plan. And this can be incorporated successfully into weight loss and maintenance plans if it's done right. In fact, I've found it to be incredibly beneficial with my own weight loss. So in the interest of promoting critical analysis of the actual method rather than getting tripped up by semantics, can we please call it something else?
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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Thats the thing, im not sure if i should. I know there will be the times where i want to eat a little chicken parmesan or something I stay away from because its my weakness. But i dont think the once a week cheat is right for me. It might make me stray "TOO" far. Thanks for all the input. I think i will do what you suggested and just plan for the "treat" Like this coming sunday is my sisters baby shower and I know there is going to be my favorites so I will eat healthy for breakfast and eat the goodies in moderation. Plus my stomach is smaller now so eating like I use to isnt possible.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:20 PM   #10
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Ms Drina, I see what you are saying, but I think the terminology reflects where your mindset is.
I guess I think of it this way. I am on WW. I can eat what I want as long as I account for it. I`ve decided to eat out once or twice a week. I plan for the meal and adjust my points accordingly. This is not a "cheat meal". This is part of my long term plans.
I used to be on Medifast. This was a highly restrictive diet with severely restricted carbs. Nothing wrong with it if this is your choice. However, a dinner of Fettucine Alfredo is COMPLETELY out of the question if you want to be "on plan". One meal like this, or say at the DQ, or of perogies, is definitely a "cheat meal". And on Medifast, it is really, really hard to recover from such a meal even if it is once a week due to the metabolic structure of the diet (going into and out of ketosis regularly).
So, I think sematics ARE important, because it seems that the original post indicates a weekly intention to go significantly outside of the range of her chosen eating plan. And this is hard to do. However, as most have said, if this kind of caloric variation is PART of the plan, then it isn't a "cheat meal".
Ms. Breannaj must be wrestling with this too, or this wouldn't be an issue as the intended "cheat" would, by definition, NOT be a cheat if it was part of her regular plan...

Ms Breannaj, I'm glad you've decided on a course of action! Including treats as part of your plan really works, but at the end, it is completely up to you as to what you can or can't handle.

Kira

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Old 05-31-2009, 11:25 PM   #11
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I guess i should have worded it differently. Sorry guys
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:27 PM   #12
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Nothing to apologize for! It just brings up lots of discussion, which is FAB! If not for the discussion, why would anyone log on????

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Old 05-31-2009, 11:29 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone. I think that what you said Kiramira is right. That i need to figure out what I can handle and what I can't. I dont want to be miserable eating things that will make me go completely off track. I want to enjoy food in moderation and I think I will do what was suggested and just incorporate it into my meal plan.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:30 PM   #14
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Im new and still learning. I do have a lot to learn about weight loss. Its exahusting. Sheesh!
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:31 PM   #15
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I agree with Drina:

I don't mentally refer to mine as a "cheat" but rather a re-feed. If you are cheating just because, I don't recommend that at all. But if you are doing it due to calorie restriction and you feel you can handle eating at maintenance for a day or two and then GOING RIGHT BACK to the plan, there is nothing wrong with that.

But only you know if you can handle that. If not, and your calories are in fact seriously restricted, you may want to do what another poster suggested and only modestly restrict your calories, allowing a LITTLE more of the things you have banned. Either way, it is going to take some discipline.
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