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7/3/14 12:47 P

I have several times followed the "Game On" plan -- a competitive diet/fitness/get your life on track program. They allow a day off from the rules once a week. My first time through the game, I used that day off to go nuts -- I felt like I needed to completely inhale every forbidden food in that one day. As a result, although over the month-long period of the game I gained a lot of fitness, I lost no weight at all. The next two times I figured out what a day off really meant -- I could relax the rules, e.g., not worry if every carb is completely whole-grain/complex, not worry if the balance of carbs-fat-protein is perfect all day, etc., but not give up on trying to take care of myself entirely. I still track my eating when I take a day off, but it's OK if the nutrition is imperfect or if I go over by 100-200 calories (but by 1000-2000 calories is still not a good idea!). This makes restaurant eating easier. I don't have to scrutinize every ingredient, but it's still a good idea to order a smaller portion (I'll still feel completely satisfied) or to leave food on my plate. I don't do "Game On" anymore, as I found it tends to overwhelm me and ends up backfiring, but I've taken away a lot of good lessons from it.

BETHLAKE88 Posts: 51
7/3/14 11:04 A

I have found a lot of restaurants have their menus available with nutritional information online. With a little research and planning, you can have your dinner out, stay on track and even squeeze in a shared dessert. I pick my favorite couple of main dishes (once we went and they were out of the salmon dish I had chosen!! Took me forever to decide and they didn't have nutritional information where they could find it until after I had finally chosen again!!) and what sides I want. If you are a salad person ask for dressing and cheeses on the side and only add what you need on it. Also, if you want to indulge in that steak and fries, ask for a to go box first thing and put half of your meal in the to go box!!! They might question you if you are leaving already but explain that you can't eat it all so you are preventing over eating or tell them no and leave it at that. I used to work at a group home and took a resident out on a "good behavior dinner" to Garfield's. We sat down and looked at the menu because she was on a 1400 cal doctor prescribed diet. We figured out what she wanted and what I wanted and both would have been way over! We asked for to go boxes right away after ordering and the server politely asked if everything was okay. We explained why we did it and she said she was going to suggest it to her mother next time they were out as they always over ate and were miserable! Also think about simple substitutions that the restaurant offers. Baked sweet potato over baked potato. Fish or Chicken over steak or ribs. Eating out does not have to stop because you change your eating habits! Avoid heavy sauces and look for broth based rather than cream based soups. Eat slow and enjoy and stop when your body says it is full!

CHARITYAK SparkPoints: (21,976)
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7/2/14 8:05 P

Different things work for different people but for me, cheating does NOT work. It just makes my brain think those foods are now options in general. I do better if I have a very black or white approach. So I have to decide that I can NEVER have pie again or that I do NOT eat cream soups. Or whatever. I just do better giving things up for life. If it's off the radar, it just ceases to exist for me after awhile.

For other people that would induce feelings of deprivation that could trigger binges.

7/2/14 6:20 P

I realyl don't have cheat days I find this more defeating and everyone knows having this "day" tends to make you "cheat" even more. I know my path to a healthier lifestyle will be a long one compared to those people who "eliminate this and that and stick to a strict regimen" but I know I will be better off to do this my way. Everyone is different but for me moderation is key, instead of pop every day at my desk I now have it on weekends only and drink water all week, those chocolate bars that I used every afternoon now I am down to 2 a week....for me it is not about denying but learning there is more variety in food life than the quick fixes I have turned to for so many years.

BENE38464 SparkPoints: (11,303)
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7/2/14 2:45 P

I was in complete sympathy with your remarks on blowing it and knowing that it would probably happen again. For me, it's "Let him who thinks he stands take care lest he fall." I always laughingly refer to myself as a "recovering eat-a-holic," just as 12-steppers are "recovering alcoholics." There's always the danger that I could relapse. I hope not, but I don't want to get over-confident! There's a sign in my gym that says: P.U.S.H! (Pray until something happens!) That's what I do...pray a lot!

OBXWAMI SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 25
7/2/14 2:16 P

I didn't track my food at all yesterday. I couldn't figure out how! I went to the doctor early without eating breakfast first and when I got home my husband was making our granddaughter's birthday cake. My first bite of the day was a mouthful of homemade buttercream frosting. I had several more "tastes" before going to her lunchtime party where I had cake and potato chips.

I figured that since I had already blown it for the day I would enjoy a dinner out and we went to an Italian restaurant and I had Fettuccine Alfredo. I did only watch while my husband had dessert, though (Yea, me)

Hey, I'm human and prone to messing up. Not the first time, won't be the last. I didn't gain all this weight overnight and I'm not going to lose it overnight.

I'm back on track right now, but I can't guarantee tonight or tomorrow. I'm trying!

emoticon Michelle

ENO1986 Posts: 20
7/2/14 2:06 P

I agree with BENE I have a really bad sweet tooth not for soda, but for things like candy pies etc .. they put crap in their so you get addicted to it so I rather not eat like that anymore.

If I would say which would I do I would defiantly go with the meal not a whole day because with a cheat day it's way to easy to slip back into old habits and should be only done once a month which is extremely hard to do as to a cheat day you can do once a week as long as you stay in your calorie range.

EMBRYO22 SparkPoints: (3,735)
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7/2/14 1:47 P

I hate the term "cheat". I've learned the hard way that depriving myself of things I love just backfires so they're worked into my plan. For instance, I'm a salty snacker. Love chips and pretzels. So I work them in because if I don't have 12 potato chips for a snack after lunch (150 cals) then I'm going to eat a whole bag at 3. I love a glass of wine so the two nights a week that my husband is home for dinner, we have a glass of red wine with dinner. I track them and I move on.

BENE38464 SparkPoints: (11,303)
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7/2/14 1:03 P

I think for me it's better not to! I am afraid to tempt myself into a binge! I sometimes eat something rich and gooey, but I always record it and make an effort to account for it in my daily plan! I really wanted a donut as I came by the bakery this morning after going to the gym, but I resisted and went home and filled up on two scrambled egg whites, a slice of whole wheat toast, and a cup of Greek yogurt. (This was my second breakfast as I had Cheerios, 1% milk, and a banana at 5:30 am)

MOOMSHINE Posts: 6,122
7/1/14 11:15 P

I wouldn't want to have a cheat anything - it's such a negative term. I track everything that goes into my mouth, with the goal of tracking before I eat it. SP gives us a range of calories, so when a special occasion comes up, I eat the low range before the occasion, track everything, then eat the low range for a few more days, then back to the middle!

MAUNIEP42 Posts: 174
7/1/14 10:39 P

I only give in to cheat meals on occasion and smaller portions of them. I think you can overdo it if you completely deprive yourself!

KONRAD695 SparkPoints: (140,200)
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7/1/14 10:22 P

I can't handle a planed cheat day or meal, but I do have them "not planed". Usually I can feel one coming on (like lately). I then try to hold my calorie ground and push really hard with the exercise. That way when it does happen, usually a bad snack every two weeks, I have a calorie bank waiting to balance it out.

CAROLJ35 Posts: 16,268
7/1/14 10:11 P

I can't handle a "cheat day"! I do enough damage in one day to undo my progress in the last two weeks or more. A treat now and then is better for me.
Sweets are my weakness and the 100 Days Team has been great for me. With their encouragement I have now completed 33 days of my 100 with NO Sweets! (and I have lost 6 lbs.)

BIGDOG18 Posts: 15,504
7/1/14 5:28 P


BIGDOG18 Posts: 15,504
7/1/14 5:28 P


GARYNANN SparkPoints: (59,898)
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7/1/14 2:51 P

I find when I try to fight my craves....I eat a lot of diff. foods and then.........end up giving into my crave...

So I believe have a smaller amt. of what you crave and get it out of your system....

Healthier choices .... emoticon

KATEREUTER84 SparkPoints: (6,181)
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7/1/14 2:49 P

I don't necessarily build in "cheat days," but I notice that my lifestyle change goes to pot on the weekends. I stick to my plan during the week, when I have a routine, but once there is not schedule to follow, I slip. Any suggestions? My weekends are ruining everything!

MCHAPPY31 SparkPoints: (5,625)
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7/1/14 2:30 P

I try to not deprive myself but I get some kind of satisfaction when I eat something I know I shouldn't. Maybe that's my addiction. I read some good tips on here and will try them.

GARYNANN SparkPoints: (59,898)
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7/1/14 10:20 A


Healthy Life Changes is our Motto People!

Better choices is the answer...and yes we can have things we want and crave but the key is......"moderation"

BROOKLYN_BORN Posts: 7,556
7/1/14 9:22 A

I don't call it "cheating" because I don't call it "dieting." I've just changed to a healthy lifestyle and that includes desserts. I just choose more carefully.

DOVE52 SparkPoints: (105,993)
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7/1/14 8:09 A

so hard to stay on track if dont allow some variation. Important not to make it a treat and keep it in moderation

RMC2551 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 4
6/30/14 8:06 P

I was trying not to "cheat" at all, but my husband and I like to go out to eat one to two times per week and I was getting very tired of a meat and vegetable for dinner when other people were having some very tempting food. I am doing a Paleo diet, so it can be very limiting,.so the last two times I went out, I had a couple of items that I really wanted, without going overboard. I think it is really helping me not feel deprived. I also lost two more pounds this week. I continued to track everything I ate, and overall for the week I was fine. I think this will help me stick with this new way of eating.

JACKSMOM1114 SparkPoints: (10,590)
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6/30/14 5:25 P

My husband and I usually have a cheat meal but we usually have it after our longest and hardest run of the week. So we don't feel bad about it. We eat well during the week and exercise all week too. No ones perfect but we don't go off the deep end in sweets every week. Everything in moderation!


6/30/14 1:00 P

To meal "cheat meal" means I am doing something wrong. If this is a lifestyle change, there will be an occasional cookie or cheeseburger. To say otherwise is crazy lol.

I try to plan ahead and if I know there is a cookout on Saturday I will plan the rest of my day accordingly so I can have that cheeseburger or whatever and it isn't a big deal. If my calorie are over for a day, balance it out with extra cardio if possible. If it's not possible-like the previous poster said-drop the perfectionism and realize tomorrow is another day!

GRACED777 Posts: 4,118
6/30/14 12:29 P

I just try to get everything to balance out by the week also. Sometimes I'm good about keeping treats in their proper proportions and sometimes not. If I do have a bad day, I work hard to balance it with a good day, eating wise and exercise wise. One thing that helps me is finding low cal substitutes. Another is dropping the perfectionism and realizing that tomorrow is another day.

SPINNER86 Posts: 166
6/30/14 10:36 A

My husband & I eat out every Fri and Sat. There is no cheating. There are no BAD foods. I try and make healthy choices at every meal. If I have a beer with dinner then I don't have a snack at night. During the week when I can control more closely what I'm eating and don't have alcohol I have a planned snack at night. Usually 1 cookie or Kashi bar with tea or a small serving of ice cream. This time around I'm not thinking about eating as a DIET but more as a way of life. Choosing good,healthy food to live and age well (I'm soon to be 56). I've lost 8 lbs in 7 wks with this new outlook and so far it is working for me.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,084
6/30/14 7:02 A

piaqua - what i think trim180 is trying to say is that the next time there is a day where they realize that they are going overboard, that they are going to use hot sauce as a tool to help them stop the mindless shoveling. kind of like how some people will dump salt on the food left on their plate so that they don't pick at it. so it's not really a punishment, it's a tool to stop the behavior they don't want to be engaging in and give them some time and space to work out a new plan of attack.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 6/30/2014 (07:13)
PIAQUA Posts: 753
6/30/14 4:45 A


"Next day I decide to "let go" I will add hot sauce until my lips burn and tears run down my face."

I could be reading this wrong, but to me it seems like you plan on punishing yourself should you happen to have a really bad food day. I would encourage you not to do this. Food (and exercise) shouldn't be a punishment, you don't want to end up resenting either of them. Just say to yourself that tomorrow is another day and keep up with the normal healthy routine you have going. When we put on the weight, it wasn't magically stopped or reversed by one good day of healthy eating, and in the same vein, one bad day of eating won't ruin an otherwise healthy lifestyle.

As to the original question - I don't really have an issue unless I am going out to eat, in which case I'll order what I want and savor/enjoy it. It actually usually ends up having an effect on my eating for two days because I end up with leftovers, but it's very much worth it to me, especially since I've significantly cut out how often I eat at restaurants anyway.

Edited by: PIAQUA at: 6/30/2014 (07:12)
JANETL1 Posts: 384
6/30/14 1:13 A

I don't so much have a cheat meal as I allow myself one "treat" per week even though it might put me beyond my SP nutritional ranges for that day. Some weeks I don't do it at all.

6/29/14 6:48 P

It is about finding what works for you! Congrats!

VENDIETA Posts: 117
6/29/14 6:05 P

I dont have so called cheat meals or days but I allow myself for example on weekend to not count my calories because breakfast, lunch, snack are about the same as normally just dinner and other snack are different. I only do that when I spend weekends visiting parents. This hasn't been ever a problem for my progress because I normally choose foods that are quite alike to what I eat at home and it's only one day so I don't lose my control or anything else like that. It's simply rude and hard to start calculating there all my intake. It's not like I miss eating something else.

AURA18 Posts: 7,633
6/29/14 4:27 P

Great topic it was on my mind that if I "let go" one day I may rev up my metabolism. Not going to happen again...I drank too much at the free cocktails party. Next day hangover not enough sleep and over ate***Triple Threat. I have spent the past 3 months learning how to cook and eat healthy. I am enjoying my new meal plan and losing weight is just a benefit along with more energy and a better outlook on life. My latest addition is a spice rack and hot sauce. I can cook the same meal, like fish and vegs, and it tastes different every time with new flavors. Next day I decide to "let go" I will add hot sauce until my lips burn and tears run down my face.

"Thanks everyone" Sound reasoning to feel "everyday I eat what I want" and appreciate my new found culinary skills.

Edited by: AURA18 at: 6/29/2014 (16:28)
MOTHERBOARDER SparkPoints: (248,675)
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Posts: 12,457
6/29/14 11:14 A


UKNOWITNOW SparkPoints: (64,539)
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Posts: 2,615
6/28/14 11:52 P

Knowing that I can eat whatever I want motivates me. I am in control even when I eat my favorites. Granted, I may not eat as much of those things as I did in the past, but I eat them to keep myself satisfied so I do not feel deprived.

PJB149 Posts: 1,130
6/28/14 10:50 P

When I started 6 months ago I had a 'diet' mentality that thought along the lines of "cheat" days. A month in I realized that is why my weight loss has always failed in the past; because I always thought of my program as having an "end" and not as a change in my lifestyle.

I don't need that day anymore. I have embraced a change, not only in the way I eat but in my attitude as well. I don't need to have a 'special' day because every day is what I make it. I can have everything in moderation (including my favorites - ribs and ice cream) as long as I plan for it within my weekly nutrition guidelines. It is very freeing to know I can eat anything. The best thing that happened to me is, because I CAN eat everything. I don't crave my favorites as much because I know,if I want it, I can eat it.

I say whatever works for you that keeps you on track is what you should do. Continued success on your WL journey.

Edited by: PJB149 at: 6/28/2014 (22:52)
ROBBIEY SparkPoints: (353,190)
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Posts: 10,179
6/28/14 5:02 P

yes once a week

KASTRA Posts: 369
6/28/14 2:01 P

I call those meals or treats indulging. I'm not being exceptionally picky about portion sizing or content, but do try to make my choices with health in mind.

allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of.
"we indulged in some hot fudge sundaes"

allow oneself to enjoy a particular pleasure, especially that of alcohol.
"I only indulge on special occasions"
synonyms: treat oneself, give oneself a treat

Maybe it's just me, but making this change to a healthy lifestyle is really and truly all about the meaning of things That's why I get hung up on the symantics. If I give too much meaning to a thing - ice cream, a trip to a favorite restaurant - it preoccupies my attention and focus from things I should be more invested in. If, however, I make that just a part of my lifestyle - albeit not a daily or weekly event - it's no big deal. I work it into the life I want to live, it's got no hold on my focus, and everything else falls in line around it. Just like cleaning my house. I like to have a clean house but don't like to clean. If I focus on my annoyance of cleaning, I'd never do it. If I connect it to the result - a clean house - I do it because it needs to be done to achieve my desired outcome. No big deal, so I get up and do dishes when there are a few, vacuum and mop the floors periodically so we do not get a dust buildup, etc. That same philosophy applies to eating right (and adding in the treats I sometimes like) as well as exercise. I want a fit and lean body, so I need to eat right and exercise to achieve that outcome.

Edited by: KASTRA at: 6/28/2014 (14:01)
KCLAIRE1992 SparkPoints: (916)
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6/28/14 1:45 P

Thanks for the advice everyone; it's really helpful to hear what others are doing. I understand the issues with using the word "cheat", but I simply thought it was the easier phrase to use that everyone would understand. I like the idea of the weekly average. What I did yesterday though was to say dinner was my "free" (is that a better word?) meal. I was on track all day but just ate slightly more then I would when I went out. But I'm still tracking the calories. Let's see if that works for me. :)

SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 25,943
6/28/14 4:17 A

I have always given myself permission (not 'cheat') to eat whatever I want one day per every two weeks. To start with I used that one day, but as time went on, I often went 3 or 4 weeks and sometimes more. I think that it is because I KNOW I am not depriving myself and that I CAN eat those treats if I want.

Of course, it works for some, but not others. It obviously worked for me, because I not only lost a considerable amount of weight practicing that, but have been maintaining for 3 years, STILL practicing that.

I guess it depends on how wow controlled you are the rest of the time if you allow that 'one day'.


6/28/14 2:45 A

I eat within a reasonable range most days but a little indulgence keeps me sane. I don't think of it as cheating though, just days when I allow myself to enjoy items that a bit less nutritious. It doesn't usually take much to satisfy and I only choose items that I really enjoy.

JUDYAMK SparkPoints: (28,122)
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Posts: 1,914
6/27/14 11:41 P

I use to use my weekend days as my cheat days, I cannot do that any longer as I over indulge way more than during the week

CSROBERTSON621 SparkPoints: (154,711)
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Posts: 1,606
6/27/14 10:32 P

I don't think of it as a "cheat day" but I usually stick to the low end of my calorie range the whole week, and then don't worry (too much) about one of my weekend dinners. That way I get to enjoy regular evenings out without worrying about blowing my calorie budget for the week.

SARILA SparkPoints: (14,354)
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Posts: 76
6/27/14 8:52 P

I am very like you, KCLAIRE1992. Either I am in it completely, or I'm off the rails. I'm trying to work out a balance, though, and stop hanging so much on each success or failure. So what if I go over on my calories a bit one day? If I'm doing well overall, that is what is important. One unhealthy splurge didn't get me where I am now, many of them did. As long as it is just one, once in a while, I try to give myself a break.

But I have to be careful. It's very easy to slip. It starts with, "Okay, it's my birthday, I'm going to splurge!" Then it's Valentine's. Then the wedding anniversary. A potluck at work. It's been a long week and it's Friday, I'm going to enjoy myself . . . and at some point, the splurging becomes a habit. Instead of a splurge, it's just how I'm living again.

I think planning it ahead of time is a good idea. If you know you are going out, you can research where and plan what meal. Then you can try to eat lightly the rest of the day and try to work in some more exercise.

There is some really good advice here from the other posters, and I'd like to thank them for it. It can be really hard when you have that all-or-nothing mentality, that perfectionist attitude -- if I'm not hitting all the goals, what's the point? I'm trying hard to shake that. It really is about finding a new lifestyle, which is going to include sometimes having a big, juicy steak or cheesy pizza or fudge sundae. Just not all the time. Good luck to everyone!


NIRERIN Posts: 14,084
6/27/14 4:06 P

think of an all or nothing mentality this way: if you were to get a flat tire, then you would have to go out and slash the other three good tires. that's what you do when start thinking along the lines of "since i already went over." you take something that's manageable that you can balance out and blow it up to the point where you can't.

as far as what you do, that depends on what you want. you can call it a cheat, with all the negative connotation that comes along with it, working in indulgences, whatever you want to call it it depends on what it is. working in a half ounce square of dark chocolate is something that you're going to be able to do a lot more frequently than having a 4000 cal dinner at outback. and those are both going to be different than a 600 cal starbucks drink or a burger and fries.
the people who succeed with whatever you want to call it are the people that find ways to satisfy their cravings for the smallest number of calories. so if they love alfredo sauce the most, they might have that on broccoli instead of pasta and they might be able to do that a few times a week. the people that have issues are the people who "cheat" with a 600 cal starbucks drink and a 600 cal starbucks pastry, then head to mcdonald's for a supersized meal deal complete with 44 oz of soda, have a family sized bag of chips for an afternoon snack and then head out for a 4000 cal dinner with another 2000 of drinks. that's the point where olympic training with michael phelps is about the only thing that's going to balance out that kind of day. the higher calorie the thing you want, the less frequently you can have it. the lower calorie the item, the more you can work it in. if you wanted to have a 4000 cal dinner above and beyond your body's needs once a year, you'd only need to save up 11 cals a day to balance it out. if you wanted that same 4000 cal above and beyond dinner once a month, that's saving 138 cals a day the rest of the month. 4000 once a week? that's 667 a day and generally beyond the point that you can easily balance out.

6/27/14 3:32 P

I liked weekly average idea. cool emoticon

COLLEENBOB SparkPoints: (25,119)
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6/27/14 3:25 P

KASTRA, I couldn't have said it better. I'm living as I mean to go on.

KASTRA Posts: 369
6/27/14 1:03 P

Like the others, I get itchy about the semantics involved in the word "cheat," but I do eat out periodically.

We have a financial budget that allows us to eat out from a restaurant once or twice a paycheck (so about once every week to two weeks). For those meals, I still try to make responsible choices and stay within my calorie range. Sometimes I go a bit over, but so long as it isn't by 1,000 or more calories, I just try to be a little more diligent about my calories the rest of the week, maybe add 5-10 minutes to my workouts each day, and it has no impact on results. Still, I intentionally aim to lose just 0.5 to 1 pound a week (I eat pretty close to maintenance) so if you have a more aggressive goal, it might be tougher to squeeze in.

On a very rare occasion - like anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner - I'll have meals where I don't care what the calorie count adds up to, because I'm going to have a pleasant holiday or special event with loved ones rather than getting a measuring cup to get picky about my gravy quantity. I tend not to lose any weight those weeks, and in fact, typically see a gain the week after in the form of sodium that will take a few days to even out. But, I have a great time and just keep on keeping on the following weeks.

As to the semantics of the word cheat... Well, I plan on eating like this until the end of my days unless I'm medically required to change. I can't exactly skip those special events unless I want to become a hermit, and it would add unnecessary stress to those special events if I get particularly picky about the contents of my plate and each of their ingredients. Since I don't plan on doing that after I'm at my goal weight, there is zero reason to do that now. Using that logic, I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be doing. So, it's not cheating. It's just living life.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/27/14 12:18 P

lol...I don't call it a "cheat meal" I call it going out to dinner once a week and eating moderately well, which for me means only a couple of drinks (wine, vodka club, etc.) not ordering the most fattening thing on the menu, skipping dessert.

I might have to watch a little more closely what I eat the next day...but oh so worth that little indulgence!

Try thinking of you calorie intake on a weekly basis...not a daily one.

Let me whip out a calculator....

Ok, so say your daily range is 1220-1500. That equals 8,400-10,500. enjoy going out to eat every Friday nite. So - during the week, try to stay around 1300 a day (or so) for 6 days that gives you a total of 7,800. Minus that from your total of 10,500 - that gives you 2,700 calories to play with for the day you eat out.

Does that make sense?

Edited by: EELPIE at: 6/27/2014 (12:54)
ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
6/27/14 11:57 A

While I personally have an issue with the semantics of "cheating" (just who or what is being cheated?!), I totally believe in having room in my life for going out for dinners!

I don't know if this would work for you, but what I have done is pay more attention to my weekly and monthly averages instead of the individual days. For me, this means that I track everything, including those dinners out, and keep an eye on how it works out for the week or the month. If my usual days at home work out lower or mid-range, and my dinners out put me slightly over my range for that day, but the average for each week or month ends up inside my range - then I'm good!

This might be a way of looking at it that works for you, because it lets you be 100% tracking, but still gives you room to have your dinners out.

KCLAIRE1992 SparkPoints: (916)
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Posts: 19
6/27/14 11:45 A

Do people on here who are trying to loose weight give themselves a "cheat" meal or day? I'm thinking about doing it for a meal eaten out once a week, but I'm worried about it thought because I'm the kind of person who is either 100% staying on track and counting really well or I'm binging. Any tips on how to treat yourself occasionally without totally overeating the entire day?

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