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Do you ever cheat on purpose?

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Old 03-05-2010, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default Do you ever cheat on purpose?

I'm wondering if anyone ever allows themselves a (rare!) cheat, on purpose? Even if it's just twice a year, or whatever. I mean purposely making a less than healthy choice just because you love it and want it. Something like eating a favourite meal or snack that just doesn't fit into your diet, that you're simply not satisfied with the teeny tiny portion you'd need to make it fit into your daily calorie allowance (say mom's homemade lasagna or that great Chinese takeout)?


I've been making great progress so far, and I really feel like I'm making changes in my eating and exercise habits that are going to equal a real lifestyle change for me. I've been pretty strict with myself in regards to diet, in terms of religiously staying within my calorie allowance each day. I've come to honestly feel ill at the thought of eating some things I used to eat all the time (like fast food burgers & fries. Blech). I've learned to love a lot of healthier substitutes for old favourites, but some things just plain aren't as good unless they're made the old fashioned (read: way higher calorie) way. So there are some things I'm kind of feeling deprived over. Things I know I couldn't reasonably fit into my daily calorie allowance without starving myself the rest of the day, you know?

I don't mean totally binging for an entire day or anything. Not having an entire container of ice cream, but having a bowl of ice cream with some chocolate sauce and peanuts. Or a plate of lasagna loaded with ground beef and pasta and cheese and a slice of homemade garlic bread. Or a (small) bag of popcorn at the movies instead of the plain air popped stuff.

So is it better to just let yourself have that one treat, thoroughly enjoy it, and then move on? Is it possible to do that without messing up the progress you've made?
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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If I allow myself to have a higher calorie meal or treat and plan for it then I don't call it cheating.

But yes, I do. When I was actively losing I would plan for several weeks sometimes to come up with the treat item I wanted.

I count calories, so don't give anything up. Sometimes I work my day so I can have the higher calorie item as part of my regular allotment, sometimes I have a higher calorie day and make it up other days, sometimes I just figure I'm eating my true maintenance level that day. Either way, if I didn't figure in the 'treat' item during weight loss I would have gone nuts.

So yes, I did and still do let myself have an occasional treat without it throwing me off plan.

Some people can't do this though - the one higher calorie item will snowball into many and really cause a setback, or cause binging. So be careful until you know how you will react.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
So is it better to just let yourself have that one treat, thoroughly enjoy it, and then move on? Is it possible to do that without messing up the progress you've made?
For me, yes, absolutely, on both. Opinions on this differ, though, and it's more frequent now in maintenance than it was in loss.

Some people find that indulging a craving/favorite leads to more cravings. This is not the case for me. If I have a real craving that sticks around for a day or two, I find it's useful to get ONE serving of the VERY BEST VERSION of that that I can (so, for example, I am not going to eat a Chips Ahoy cookie...I am going to a good bakery and buying one perfect cookie. I'm not going to eat a Hostess cupcake, I'm going to a good bakery and I am getting one perfect cupcake. And I'm not getting a McDonald's cheeseburger, I am going to make myself a cheeseburger that's higher than normal calories, but still from high-quality ingredients), and I'm going to enjoy that thing.

I don't consider this "cheating" so much as part of my plan. When I was losing one of these indulgences came around probably every 2-3 weeks...now it's slightly more frequent (once a week or so).
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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Posted at the same time as Amanda. What she said.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:05 PM   #5
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Once a year we have blood taken and have to fast before. I always get an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's that morning. That is about the only time I ever get one.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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Twice a year my parents and I have brunch at my dad's club. The food there is the best of anywhere I've ever eaten in my life. The spread put a Vegas buffet to shame and it phenomonal. I eat whatever I feel like. I'm good for weeks before and super strict after but I'm not going to deny myself there. I eat what I want and lots of it. But very rarely do I endulge like that. But it's totally worth it.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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I find that one taste of something "really bad" is often enough. If I go to a restaurant with a friend, and say "hey, can I have a fry?" that one fry is enough to satisfy my curiosity of what I am missing. I think, "I would have eaten that whole plate full" and I happily return to my bowl of chili and salad. I might have a taste of the appetizer, or a pinch of bread (if it's an exceptional baked bread, I'm not into white rolls anyway), and on very special occasions I split a dessert 2 or 3 ways, just enough to get 3 bites.

I have found that an occasional cheat shocks the system. I found myself on a bit of a plateau at 207, and spent a day at a water park with my kids Thanksgiving weekend. On the way home, my son begged to go to Steak and Shake. Thanksgiving had been all Low-Carb/SBD (I made instant mashed for my son). I ate a small burger and small fries, probably about 800 calories, knowing I had had a very small breakfast and had missed lunch and needed to eat). I was shocked when I WI'd 2 days later to find that I had lost 4 pounds, and still wonder if I'd had some sort of carb shock from the burger and fries.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:23 PM   #8
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I pre plan my treats and have only gone off my diet twice since starting. I had no trouble getting right back on plan. I agree with what others have said; you have to ask yourself - is having a treat going to help keep me on track? or Is having a treat going to make me binge?

To me, preplanning is different than giving into a craving, you feel more in control. So, on Valentine's Day we went to dinner and I had lobster, 2 dirty martinis and a roll with butter. The second time I had drinks and 1/2 an order of nachos. For me, it helps me stay on track.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:31 PM   #9
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It seems like planning your indulgences is a really common, and useful technique. It's one that I've been trying to implement, but in baby steps. Like today I let myself take home a tall carmel frappucino light blended coffee from work (Starbucks), which I know to be an under 200 calorie drink. But it had all the flavour and richness of the grande regular frapps I used to get, so I filled my craving without totally blowing things. I think that's the approach I'm going to take, I'll let myself indulge once in a while but I'm still going to try to make it a smarter choice than what I would normally have done in the past.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:55 PM   #10
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Friday or Saturday night is "special dinner night" at our house, because I can't eat just meat and vegetables every single night. On Friday night, I plan something special. Typically, I eat more calories on Friday, too, due to the dinner. This week's dinner is going to be deep-dish pizza, whole-wheat crust made by me. Last week's was a Hawaiian BBQ of chicken and pork grilled by my husband and Thai papaya salad made by me. The week before that was turkey-beef burgers on whole-wheat buns with avocado and pineapple and onions, sweet-potato fries on the side.

I also have a treat every night after dinner--usually a cup of sugar-free hot cocoa that I make from scratch myself.

On weekend mornings, I make myself a special breakfast that I can't have (due to time restrictions) during the week. (Usually this is poached eggs and whole-wheat toast.)

On Saturdays, I have my one cup of caffeinated coffee for the week, worked into a homemade sugar-free mocha, or in a latte if we're out.

It is absolutely essential to my mental health, whether I am actively dieting or maintaining or whatever, that I have special food--food that I love--worked into my diet on a very regular basis.

Of course, my tastes are not for junk food or fast food or processed food, so my "special food" doesn't look quite like another person's. Generally speaking, it's actually super-healthy stuff and whole foods. But it's special to me, and that's what counts.

I guess based on all that, I would say that having treats and special stuff is not actually "rare" for me at all. It's regular. This is my life, not a "diet," not a period of penance or punishment. I need to be actually living.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:04 PM   #11
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Warmaiden, that's interesting. I have "divorced" myself from the kitchen for two reasons: 1) I am too busy with school right now and 2) I don't trust myself. My husband, who likes to cook, prepares all of our meals (I do get myself something quick if he is not home, and I spend 3 days away every week, with no access to a kitchen, so I get salads/quick foods (I like Trader Joe's) those days), so until Mother's Day, when this semester is over, I am at the mercy of my husband food-wise.

This has been really good for me, because I have gotten really excited about fruit, for example...today I polished off a small container of kumquats for an afternoon snack, and yesterday I ate a bowl of 0% fat greek yogurt and frozen papaya for an evening snack (because those are the things I "allow" myself to access.

This summer I'll get back into the groove of food prep, when my garden is churning out goodies for us (I love to can salsa and yummy things), but it has been nice to have a break to re-program myself that food is just fuel (I haven't cooked much except Thanksgiving since August--I meant to cook over Christmas break but I burned myself badly (cooking, ironically) in early December and was on bed rest for most of break.

Edited: ONE CUP OF CAFFEINATED COFFEE A WEEK???
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:09 PM   #12
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I "cheat" all the time and Ive lost over 40lbs since October. I just make sure to workout that much harder, eat extremely clean before and after, and most importantly I keep moderation in mind. I love food and all the bad unhealthy things, which is obviously how I got to 277, but I like to splurge everyonce in a while because its something I like.
Some people may not be able to do this because it will trigger a binge but for the most part I have that in control.
I also agree with weebles....sometimes with a meal thats not quite ideal and high in all the bad stuff it mixes things up and shocks the system so you still end up losing! Although I dont rely on that unknown mystery everytime I want something unhealthy. lol
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:12 PM   #13
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Honestly, it's a must for me. Every Saturday I allow myself one meal. I try to plan it as best I can into my zig zagging calorie allowance now days, but I usually go over. I don't beat myself up about it (or at least I try not to) and I don't worry about the effects it's going to have on the scale. Usually it's only 1 or 2 lbs of water retention that is quickly lost by Tuesday. This hasn't hindered my weight lost whatsoever and I think it keeps me going and teaches me how to live life and eat healthier long term. It works for me and I've been able to keep in under control. I feel like the lower my weight gets too the more healthy my choices become during these meals. I also think that it's important to learn how to eat "what you want, when you want" for furture maintenance. And as pp's have said this isn't a diet to me, it's how I will be eating for the rest of my life.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:18 PM   #14
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I have a big problem with binge eating, so I end up doing my calorie cycling without really trying or wanting to. I usually binge for two days straight. Then, once I get back on track, I eat and work out like an angel for a week and the weight comes off and then some. I wish I could get rid of this problem but I haven't been able so far. The longest I've gone is 45 days without binging. Giving myself planned treats usually makes it worse. I think you have to try and see what works for you. We're all so different. The point is that eating a bit more on occasion can actually work into your diet if you do it the right way for you.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weebleswobble View Post
Edited: ONE CUP OF CAFFEINATED COFFEE A WEEK???
Hah, yeah. Caffeinated coffee, when I drink it regularly, does bad things to my insulin resistance, my ability to maintain steady blood sugar, and my ability to sleep easily and deeply. Even one cup per day has a significantly bad impact on all this stuff for me. And, if I do drink even one cup per day regularly, it's extremely difficult for me to quit.

So having just the one cup per week (basically two shots of espresso) means that I still get to enjoy the rush/kick of the caffeine, but I'm not habituated/addicted to it, and I avoid the negative cumulative effects of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by weebleswobble View Post
re-program myself that food is just fuel
While I can see the utility of this line of thought, I don't want to go there entirely myself, nor do I feel it's mentally healthful to do so...at least for me. It would be akin to me telling myself, "Sex is just for reproduction," when the truth is that sex is also beneficial to my physical health, it feels awesome, it helps me get to sleep, it's good for my relationship with my husband, it's good for my husband's physical health, etc.

For me, food is not just fuel; it is physically beneficial beyond calories and macronutrients, it feels good to eat it, it binds my family together, it's a way of giving and receiving love, it has cultural significance, it has spiritual aspects, and so on and so forth.
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