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Cheat day....is it allowed?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I have struggled with this cheat day. I am making a lifestyle change so I cannot say I will never eat chocolate again. There is no way I could make that stick! (Hence the name).

So what to do? Yesterday I was craving Popeyes', I usually weigh in on Wednesdays so thought why not? After the weigh in of course. But how do you stay on track? Go over the calories for the day? Compensate by doing extra workouts? Starve the days following the binge and hope it compensates? Well I chose what made the most sense. Last cheat day I went over my calories by about 1300. Not good. This time I planned my cheat meal at lunch, had a light breakfast. Checked out the Popeyes website and chose the best meal possible- letting me enjoy it without overkilling my calories for the day!! Ha ha...the best laid plans...they were out of green beans and once I was there found myself saying 3 pieces instead of 2. So off I went. Had it all. The biscuit. The fried chicken. Cajun fries. Diet coke--like it made a difference at this point right? Well...once I got home only at 2 pieces:) Yay me emoticon

I gave up the guilt and enjoyed my food. Got on Sparkpeople and tracked my calories. Calculated my dinner calories too (lunch at 1pm and NO food afterwards? My body would resent me even more!!)... and then hit the gym to burn off 310 calories on my off day. Also got on the weight machines. All in all a pretty good day:)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I posted this on the message board the other day..

    Here are the reasons a weekly "cheat" is a good thing to do (according to a number of sources):

    1) You are human and you need to enjoy the things you love on occasion.

    2) If you take one cheat ( i.e. I usually do a cheat "evening" on a weekend, where I eat healthfully for breakfast and lunch and then have whatever I want for one evening) where you are eating an amount of food and several items that are not normally in your diet, it gives your metabolism a little shake-up, and keeps it from becoming stagnant from eating the same things all the time.

    3) If you are truly disciplined for the rest of the week and only allow yourself the one cheat day per week over a long period of time, it will not negatively impact your weight loss long term.

    4) You won't feel deprived if you reward yourself once per week with with the foods you have kept away from during the rest of the week.

    5) Being able to indulge the "bad" things only on occasion, teaches you that they only have a very negative effect in consistent mass quantities. You don't have to avoid them forever to be healthy.

    6) to Chiquita13 - Yes, if you over-indulge it can make you feel like garbage the next day, which can be a motivator for a more balanced approach to having a cheat.

    My two cents.. :)

    3724 days ago
    Yeah, I am not going to say never, cuz never doesn't work for me. Unfortunately, neither did the cheat day...it just turned into a cheat week...or month.

    What I do, is what you did. I try to plan the thing that I want into my day by eating lower calorie foods for my other meals...and planning an extra work out that week.

    My issue is sodium tho. Eating out always creates water gain for me, because of all the salt that is in restaurant food. I am actually in the process of figuring out how to make some of the stuff I crave on my own, without as much salt. So far, dill pickles...tomato, basil pasta...personal pizzas. Those help a lot.

    Good job figuring out how to handle the cravings your way.

    3724 days ago
    I haven't decided yet if I'm going to allow myself cheat days; I'm pretty sure I would go way overboard if I did, knowing me. I think you're doing it right with planning your other meals around the calories you expect to eat and going to the gym for a bit after. I know I will never be able to give up some things, so I will probably be doing like you and making them work.

    Good job!
    3724 days ago
    Fitness/fat loss expert Joel Marion talks a lot about cheat days in his Cheat Your Way Thin program. You are allowed cheat days but there a couple of rules, like sticking to your program 100% during the week and you must stop eating when you're full on your cheat day. No eating yourself sick or eating all day long. He advocates planning your cheat day - when you have a craving, write it down and have a little bit of your craving food on your cheat day.

    I've been using cheat days and they work well for me. I don't want to have to plan out refeeding meals or bother with carb cycling, which are the other two alternatives if you don't do a cheat day. I find I need the psychological break from my program, knowing I don't have to weigh and measure and count my food for one whole day.
    3724 days ago
    I agree that cheat days are critical to success. However, I try to build them into my healthy lifestyle as much as possible.

    For example.
    Right now I'm craving Cold Stone ice cream. I know I'm going to give in eventually. So first, I'm waiting a little bit to make sure I'm committed to my new exercise plan. Once I do that, I'll eat on the lower end of my calorie range for the week. This builds in a little more wiggle room. I'll probably do my best to add an exercise - that's another 350 calories of wiggle room right there. Then, on the day I decide to go to Cold Stone, I'll probably eat yogurt for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a chicken breast with some brown rice for dinner. Given my calorie needs, this leaves me around (or even over) 1000 calories for the rest of the day. Hopefully the ice cream will fit within that range! - voila, I've cheated without cheating. If it doesn't, then I know that I've done well the rest of the week, so going over once won't kill me.

    The key is to not cheat completely, I think. For example, getting the diet soda *does* make a difference. People like to make fun of people who walk into McDonald's and get a cheeseburger and a diet coke - but here's the thing. I'm getting the diet coke so that I *can* afford to have the cheeseburger. Every choice you make matters :)
    3724 days ago
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