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4/25/09 7:14 P

I agree with you Apple, but I also feel that people also sometimes underestimate just how much their body is going to do what it wants/needs regardless of their best intentions. I guess thats why SP recommends weighing in on a monthly basis if possible... lets the ups and downs even out more.

I remember the last time I lost a considerable amount of weight I would weigh myself every day... never again will I do that! Even if I told myself the scale was lying it would still ruin my mood for the day. I think I am going to go for the monthly weigh in (and body fat analysis) this time around.

APPLEPIEDREAMS SparkPoints: (214,263)
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4/25/09 7:07 P

Depends what your goals are. 1 pound equals 3500 calories, so if I'm losing a pound a week and eat roughly 3000-3500 calories in one day, then it does. But it's not really an exact science. There were weeks I totally went over calories and lost weight and weeks where I was at the low end of the calorie range and didn't lose anything.

I just think people tend to underestimate the amount of damage they can do in one day. If someone is going to have a cheat day, I hope they track it.

I wish people would try and incorporate the occassional treat or splurge into their healthy diet rather than thinking those foods are "bad" or that they're "cheating". I have a hard time with trying to think this way too, but I'm happier and eat healthier when I do think that way.

Edited by: APPLEPIEDREAMS at: 4/25/2009 (19:09)
MISSCNJ SparkPoints: (58,063)
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4/25/09 7:07 P

I've gotten several opinions on this, and I say you can probably allow yourself one cheat MEAL per week. Not a cheat day, a cheat meal. So plan ahead and plan accordingly. Make sure you track the meal so you can look at how much you cheated and realize how long you have to work out now that you have cheated. It's so not worth a whole day of cheating, but maybe just maybe one meal a week.

4/25/09 7:00 P

I'm still not convinced that having a 3000 calorie day blows a whole week of weight loss. But then again I'm still fat.

APPLEPIEDREAMS SparkPoints: (214,263)
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4/25/09 6:54 P

I think if you overeat you need to move on.

But, I think the idea of a planned cheat day isn't particularly healthy. Part of a healthy diet is having small treats every now and then. It's NOT cheating to have dessert a couple times a week or to have a portion of alfredo for a special occassion. A glass of wine here and there IS NOT CHEATING!

Where we run into trouble is when we tell ourselves that we can only have these "bad" foods on certain days. When I've tried doing that I can end up eating in excess of 3000+ calories in a day pretty easily which totally blows any weight loss progress I've made during the week.

A small treat when you want one is not a problem. A larger splurge every now and then is not a problem either.

4/25/09 6:26 P

Considering the OP's worry I think it all boils down to 'track it and move on.' The rest is semantics.

HROWINGS Posts: 12
4/25/09 6:20 P

It's all about how your frame it in your mind I don't like "reward meal" because it makes my everyday diet feel punitive. instead I try to log everything I eat and to start out with a general plan for my days so that if I make alternative choices I can make them with full awareness of the consequences. But occassionally going over is not going to kill you just don't let one meal of overeating become the pattern and you are ok

4/25/09 6:19 P

I like your signature quote Elaine. I might have to swipe that one!

ELAINEVDW Posts: 1,221
4/25/09 6:15 P

A whole DAY throws me completely off track, leads to more cheating than I meant to over the next week or month, and usually makes me feel like crap. But two or three cheat meals a week don't seem to have the same effect. Especially if I keep serving sizes moderate.

So if you went a couple hundred over for dinner -- that's not a big deal. Call it a cheat MEAL, keep your other meals on track, and wait a couple days before you do it again. :)

Edited by: ELAINEVDW at: 4/25/2009 (18:18)
CALIMAN1 Posts: 2,538
4/25/09 6:07 P

While I have days where I will pile some fries into my mouth, or a piece of cake, etc...I still try to make everything fit my calorie intake. Until I get to goal, I don't want to stray too far from my path....besides, knowing me, one "cheat day" will just lead me to another so why accept this into my new lifestyle?! A reward is fine, and we need them, but a full - fledged cheat day is something I am not ready for and probably won't be for some time.

DIVE32 Posts: 101
4/25/09 5:33 P

I find that when I have a cheat day, I'll gain all the weight back that's I'd lost that week. So I'm starting over.

4/25/09 5:21 P

If it is planned I wouldn't call it a cheat day/meal... I would call it a reward. One of the reasons I think a lot of people work so hard is so that when they do want to indulge a 'want' over a 'need' it's okay.

I have read in several books that having a day (or meal) where you eat differently than you eat all of the other times during the week is actually good for your metabolism because it keeps it guessing.

Just my thoughts... I plan on having a reward meal in my program so that I can still enjoy the foods I truly love to eat and I won't feel bad about it at all because if I get to have it I EARNED it!

Edited by: 3LITTLEBIRDS at: 4/25/2009 (17:23)
SHINAKO SparkPoints: (54,612)
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4/25/09 5:21 P

Going over on your calories by a couple hundred shouldn't make you feel too bad, as someone said, it's to be expected! Your body's not going to suddenly balloon from going over a little bit.

Also, look at what you ate, and see if there were any "empty" calories in there- what did the daily nutrition tracker tell you? Sometimes those extra calories are some fiber or protein that can help you stave off hunger as the night wears on.

If going over on your caloric intake a bit (key words!) is what you consider cheating, then no.. Having a cheat day now and then isn't going to severely hurt your died.

Going over your caloric intake a LOT won't necessarily severely hurt your diet either, as long as you don't make it into a habit.

MISSYLYNN20071 Posts: 101
4/25/09 5:20 P

I do a Friday dinner cheat because I just can't give up mac and cheese, I used to get the large size, now I get a small serving with a side of broccoli. I do better throught the week monitoring and controling if I give myself this.

KBEARS69 Posts: 504
4/25/09 5:18 P

Yea Kariann,

Thats the way to think. Because 30 mins more excuses to compensate that extra large fry is all worth it, to becoming more healthier ppl.

KBEARS69 Posts: 504
4/25/09 5:11 P

I can't have a entire cheat day either. I'd make myself sick. Gorging on every type of foods I love.

I can't even have 6 potato chips or I'll have eaten half the bag, before I know it.

My problem isn't the foods I eat but, lack of excuse or lack of time to excuse.

I saw your weight & only wish to be that thin. Just don't over do it, to where you are thinner than what is health

Karrie C.

KARIANN0613 Posts: 23
4/25/09 5:03 P

I really try to avoid calling it a "cheat" day. It's more of a lifestyle change rather than a diet so you really can't "cheat." If I'm craving something I will try to eat really healthy and let myself have a little of it. For example. If I want a cheeseburger I will eat low cal for breakfast and low cal for lunch, then I have enough calories left to have the cheeseburger with dinner. Every once in a while I go over, which is normal and expected. I just try to work out even more during the week to compensate for it.

KEELY128 SparkPoints: (380,294)
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4/25/09 5:02 P

No, I just start over the next day

CCBANKS SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 1,322
4/25/09 4:59 P

I personally caan't have an entire "cheat day", meaning 3 meals plus snacks - that would mentally put me in a state do do it again, or something similar, the next day. but i do allow myself a "cheat treat" everyday, maybe a snack size snickers or 6 potatoe chips, not the whole bag. I don't even call it cheating, sounds negative. It is a tidbit treat which I deserve and it helps me stay balanced and on track.

KBEARS69 Posts: 504
4/25/09 4:54 P

I feel everyone is in entitled to cheat on their diet.
It is only when you are consuming over 1 Doughnut every week vs A Whole Box of Little Doughnut holes are you out of control.

Now, if you want too, you can have the Normal Amount of food you have everyday & Excuse your self to death ( Based on 500 Cals = 30 Mins. of excuse, you can have 5,000 cal intake diet & work out 8 hours a day, everyday of your life. Or follow this program, getting fewer Cals & less work outs & still lose weight.

In reality, this ain't a Diet but, A Life Time Commitment to never " Be the way we are now."

Even after we all reach our goals, we still have to keep to this program or we are right back where we started.

Bear Huggs & Bear Luck to us all,

Karrie C.

4/25/09 4:53 P

I can't do a cheat day cause I'm afraid it would continue so..... on our shopping day I buy a chocolate bar and share it with my husband (who really doen't like sweet stuff but eats it to help me stay on track) on the way home. That way I get my chocolate fix and don't have snacks in the house. I've lost 51 pounds in a year.

4/25/09 4:19 P

I feel a little different about this subject than some of the posters. I have gone into this not with the mentality that this is a "diet" but rather a total life style change. I have in trained in my mind that this is the way I will eat for the rest of my life. Yes, I know I will be able to eat more calories, but it will be healthy. Now, that being said, yes of course I occasionally eat something "bad" but I log it and make sure it fits into my calories. I have to remember everything in moderation. In the past when I have done "diets" I kept the mind set that "this is only temporary" and when I lost the weight I went back to my old ways and gained it all back. Spark People has been a pledge for me to be a healthier person and I love the way it makes me feel!

ANGIEKAY84 Posts: 235
4/25/09 4:08 P

I really like the idea of one previous poster because I relate to this. If I allow myself a "cheat" day, I start to feel gross, unhealthy, unmotivated to go to the gym. A couple hundred calories once in awhile is no big deal, you shouldn't feel bad at all! The problem for me is when I allow myself a free for all meal. Not even a whole day, just one meal, but it never works out right. I end up feeling gross, heartburn, the whole 9 yards. Even worse, sometimes this meal turns into a week before I can get back on track. It's like there are two of me and the evil side is winning and their like, "whats ONE more day? Look how great you've done, you can't possibly gain it all back with ONE more day..." So bad!

What am I going to do about this? Not plan for cheat meals at all, but treat myself everyday to something little and of course it has to fit into my calories for the day. If I want to fit in WW ice cream bar, great! Then I dont' feel so deprived that I NEED a cheat meal, get it? I mean, if you go to a party and accidentally overeat...that happens (happened to me last weekend), its when we are constantly making excuses why we should get to eat something when it becomes a problem.

Edited by: ANGIEKAY84 at: 4/25/2009 (16:09)
JESSICA2623 Posts: 64
4/25/09 4:04 P

I allow myself to go over in calories twice a month or so. I don't beat myself up about either. So far I've been loosing. We have to remember that when the "diet" is over, there is real life. You may eat an unhealthy meal from time to time. Just make sure that you don't make it a habit, and please don't feel guilty!

TWOFIN Posts: 587
4/25/09 4:00 P

Cheating will happen even when I don't plan it. I think planning it would only make things worse.

GYMAHOLIC1 Posts: 55
4/25/09 3:27 P

I think a cheat day is fine within reason. I have a cheat day every Saturday, and I find this is what keeps me on track. Since I give in once a week, it's not hard to remain focused on good nutrition during the week, and I'm never tempted to binge on junk. It gives me something to look forward to as a reward for all my hard work. This doesn't mean I pig out all day long and eat whatever I want, I usually pick a couple things I like and eat them in moderation. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty certain I go over my daily caloric limit for the day, but I don't sweat it because I'm still losing weight and staying on the program. This is what works for me, and the bottom line is you have to find something that works for you and stick with it!!

Edited by: GYMAHOLIC1 at: 4/25/2009 (15:28)
4/25/09 3:00 P

If you are going to have a cheat day, you have to be careful. I used to severely limit my calories during the week, to 1000 or less sometimes, and then on weekends eat 2100 or more. My body didn't know what was going on, and I think it was in starvation mode all the time, meaning those cheat days were twice as bad.

It's all about balance - if you are eating well during the week, making good food that is delicious and satisfying (and this gets easier over time) and not allowing yourself to get into starvation, you shouldn't need to cheat quite so "hard". Once I was up to eating 1350-1550 a day on regular days, my cheat days of 1700 felt like I was spoiling my self beyond belief!

4/25/09 2:55 P

Honestly! Go ahead and cheat! Seriously! Just keep track of cal, and add extra cardio to work it off-then it's guilt free!

MEGLIZZY Posts: 169
4/25/09 2:35 P

I feel when I look at eating as being on track or being good or eating as being off track and or cheating then food becomes something more than the nutritional supplement that it is supposed to be. I don't like to put food choices into categories where the food becomes forbidden. I do think that we all need to make wise choices 80% of the time and then have a treat once and awhile. I like the 80 / 20 principle and it helps me to keep a positive attitude towards eating instead of negative.

ADRIENNE502002 Posts: 637
4/25/09 2:05 P

No. It helps a great deal.

I too use Augustagloop's method. I find that I have to have a cheat day or meal at least once a week, so planning in extra exercise and/or fewer calories on some days is a natural thing for me. I want to set myself up for success, knowing that I'm human and will slip. The key is not to go so far out of balance that I start yo-yoing in calories on a regular basis.

One key thing for me is to avoid a lot of unplanned cheating. If I know I'm going to allow myself a pancake breakfast on Saturday as a treat for instance, I can look forward to it and be less tempted to eat outside of my planned meals during the week. This is particularly true of late evening cravings - it just seems less worth it to blow a pancake date for that reason. There is nothing better than sitting down to your favorite cheat meal, knowing you are actually supporting your plan for the week!

Edited by: ADRIENNE502002 at: 4/25/2009 (14:08)
4/25/09 1:57 P

One night a week I have a "treat dinner" where I let myself get something I really want to eat (watching the portions). I've done this throughout my diet and have lost about 2 to 1 pounds every week.

I am starting to look at healthier options for the meal, I think because I eating so much better during the week that I want to eat healthier overall.

But I have trouble with a "once in awhile" type of treat because that I can't track. Then I think I could wind up doing it 2x a week or just about anytime - and that would affect weight loss. Keeping it scheduled to a particular time for me works well and I look forward to it. :)

JENNYR84 Posts: 150
4/25/09 1:53 P

I used to have massive binge days as well, one per week, but it did hurt my progress and so now I'm trying something new. I make sure my calorie differential is about 500 each day, and then on Sunday, I eat to maintain, so the number of calories in my BMR. This allows me a cheat meal, or maybe a few treats throughout the day, but I know it won't hurt my progress. Also, I think after awhile, you're body needs a little extra calories sometimes to convince it that it's not starving.

GGMOM06 Posts: 9,221
4/25/09 1:39 P


4/25/09 1:27 P

OP: I am learning to deal with days when I go over. What I do is take the amount of calories I went over, divide it by the next few days (or seven!) and take that much off of the top number of calories, making a new top number.

For example. Say you went over 500 calories one day. The maximum amount of calories you can have in a day is 1600.

To make up for it, you would divide 500 calories by, say, 5, giving you 100. You then take 100 calories from 1600, and for the next 5 days, eat only up to 1500 calories per day. Do water, exercise, everything else as usual. Be sure that the number you end up with is not lower than your minimum number of calories - you may just have to spread it out over more days.

This is how I got over 2 days of massive Easter binging without guilt. I didn't lose anything the first week after the binge, but the second week lost three pounds. I was quite happy and felt like this really worked for me.

I wrote about it in my blog ("Oh, how I ate!" AND "Recovery Plan: Did it work?") if you want to read more about it.

The point is to not let a minor setback turn into a major one. Good luck! I know you can do it.

2000ADAY Posts: 10
4/25/09 1:21 P

I am actually really glad I read this...I personally needed the same advice. I can go 6-10 days eating really good, but I honestly think with all my Cardio that my calories are too low because I hit a spot in my routine where I raid the grocery store and eat 1/2 a bag of cookies. Yesterday my calorie intake for the day was 4035c....I felt just horrible, but I do deprive myself of a daily treat and usually eat under my alotted calories so that I can go to bed feeling proud of myself. It is truly a vicious cycle. I will definately start doing the daily treat, maybe a cookie everyday with lunch. Thanks for all that responded to this, although this wasn't posted by me, I will definately put the info provide to use in my own meal plan. Cheers All!!!

ANDLIFEGOESON SparkPoints: (0)
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4/25/09 1:15 P

It depends on how much you cheat. I would think having a snack/dessert that you normally wouldn't have would be ok. But having an entire day of bad stuff would set you back.
Reward yourself with little treats here and there.

4/25/09 1:00 P

I ve tried the "cheat days" they can actually hurt all the work youve done all week. So now I do one cheat meal...go to a restaurant or cook my fave meal. its worked out much better and i dont feel deprived which is really important when youre trying to lose weight. Also when I did the "cheat day" I just felt bad about myself for having that horible "full" feeling... it wasnt worth it

ITALYCRAZY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/25/09 12:26 P

I don't really like to think of it as "cheating". I like to think of it more as being on track. I feel like if you call it cheating, then it means that you are failing at something. If you go a little off track, it is not as severe.

I agree with a lot of people so far-I think a whole day will hurt your diet, b/c then I would binge the whole day. If there is something that I really want, then I try to eat healthier that day, and really try to fit that treat into my calories. Otherwise, if I tell myself that I "can't" have it, I am going to want it more, or want something else, and going overboard.

MCNKAB Posts: 888
4/25/09 9:53 A

Yes, I find that having a cheat day hurts. I tend to overeat massively on those days, so now I have a daily treat instead. If I go over my calories a little, then it's easier to burn those few calories off instead of trying to burn off a few hundred.

SCARLOVE23 Posts: 232
4/25/09 9:27 A

I would suggest having a 'cheat' meal rather than a whole day. Even still, I don't know if I want to even do that anymore (to an extent). Last night I had a Harvey's mushroom swiss burger and fries for dinner. First of all the thing was massive (but it was soooooo good). But later on during the night while I was trying to sleep, I felt so gross; I had heart burn which kept me up most of the night.
My body is pretty used to me feeding it good foods now, I guess when I had something bad it let me know it didn't like that. I don't think it's worth it to feel 'pain' from eating.

CRUZY8 Posts: 56
4/25/09 8:34 A

It really depends on how healthy you've been eating for the week.

I give myself 1 "treat" day per week and it never hurt my weight loss. It's working for me because i don't like depriving myself. When i deprive, i tend to binge later on and it is not good. So I allow myself to enjoy more of my favorite 'bad' food once/twice (max) a week.

KIMK75 Posts: 1,756
4/24/09 11:50 P

One day here and there of being over isn't going to make or break your success in the long run. It's what you do *most* of the time that matters.

Don't feel guilty about it, you'll be fine!

ANJUNA2 SparkPoints: (25,558)
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Posts: 930
4/24/09 11:47 P

I think it is all about balance. A little cheat here and there is fine. I seem to have got into the habit of cheating a little bit everyday, so now I am just maintaining now losing weight.
To lose weight it is better to refocus and not cheat.

4/24/09 11:11 P

I don't know about an entire day of cheating, but having a treat every once in a while has not made a problem in progress for me. Actually, I feel that if I don't treat myself once in a while, I get really stressed out and feel like I'm on a "diet" rather than trying to develop a healthy lifestyle.

GWALKER76 Posts: 76
4/24/09 10:33 P

I don't have a cheat day, but I do have a treat night - usually Friday - and I treat myself to something I like...popcorn, dark chocolate etc if I am being good, and a small bag of chips if I'm not. This is just enough to treat myself and not too much to push me over the edge back to eating crap all the time!

4/24/09 10:21 P

I know some people have 'cheat meals' instead of entire cheat days, so they don't go hog wild with overeating. When I had gone a 100 or 200 calories over during the day, I used to pretend they didn't exist for that day and would put them on the calorie log for the next day. It worked for a while, but then I started using it as an excuse to overeat.

What I do now when I go over in calories a little bit is just move on. What's done is done and I try to forget about it. Exercising afterward also helps me to get back on track faster with the calories. If I were to say heck with it and give myself a license to overeat for the day, it would NOT be pretty and I'd be tempted to keep overeating the next day.

ANAVLY Posts: 2,426
4/24/09 10:12 P

Being over a few hundred calories from time to time is no big deal, and letting yourself do it from time to time is probably overall a good thing for your sanity and possibly your metabolism.

A completely unrestrained cheat day where you eat 6 of everything is, however, not a good thing.

KRISTA261 Posts: 327
4/24/09 9:28 P

I've had cheat WEEKS that didn't cause me to gain. I may not have lost, but still didn't gain. Don't beat yourself up too much

PRJANE SparkPoints: (45)
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Posts: 1,182
4/24/09 9:15 P

Eating a bit over your calories once in a while wont hurt your weight loss. But calling it a cheat day might. That is just so negative which is probably why you are feeling bad about it. You haven't cheated yourself, you are now living a heatlhier lifestyle and eating a bit more on occasions is OK. It is all about balance. If you are always eating at the upper range of your calories then eat towards the lower end of your calorie range tomorrow. Or a little less calories for the next few days.

SB3872004 SparkPoints: (16,156)
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Posts: 172
4/24/09 8:59 P

I went over a few hundred calories today at dinner and I feel a little bad about it. I thought about just declaring this day as my "cheat day" for this week since I've been good about managing how much I eat and exercise since I started the program. Do you all think that this will severely hurt my diet or is having a small cheat day without being obscene at least once or twice a month max ok?

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