Since I'm making a lifestyle change, I have a few days out the week when I incorporate "bad" food I just make sure I'm tracking my calories and see where I have room. I'm not going to deprive myself completely from my cravings to avoid a binge. Tracking and moderation is key
My general take is it's OK on special occasions to eat suboptimally.
The question is what warrants a special occasion?
If special occasions are very frequent, you definitely need to find ways to keep on plan. If they are very rare, it's not a big deal.
Fitness Minutes: (3,187)
5/30/13 9:25 A
I have one day off every week that I can use whichever way I want to. If I've been longing for pizza, I'll have that pizza and I don't feel guilty about it. One bad dish wont make me fat, just as one good dish wont make me skinny. I took this advice from my personal trainer a few years ago, this way I don't have a reason to fall off the wagon so to speak, if I really desire something. I know I have one day off and if I still want it by that day (saturdays) I'll have it then. I'm human, and I also do enjoy my glass of wine or dining out or having a coffee and cookie with a friend somewhere.
If you follow this website there is no bad food since they are so up on "everything in moderation" Personally I do not agree with that thought process as much as they do. Moderation seems to be an excuse.
I look at it differently. Do I slip and have things i shouldn't? Sure I do. i AM only human. But as long as I get back on my wagon and follow my plan, I can do nothing but succeed. I can have chocolate, I can have wine, I can have sweets. Mine just don't come from the SAD diet. Mine come from a plant based diet. i make my own dark chocolate. I make my own ice creams and sorbets. I make my own smoothies and juices. I don't have bad food in the house. I simply don't buy CRAP. It is only me so I don't have to contend with children or SO's.
why would you look at it as a cheat day anyway? You aren't cheating anyone but yourself and if you are ok with it, it simply isn't cheating. It is living.
5/30/13 5:44 A
When eating out, I take 1/2 of my meal home. That way, I can have the other half for the next day. I find that portion control is the most helpful tool.
Fitness Minutes: (36,375)
13,009 5/29/13 10:03 P
I think this is where tracking your food really helps. You know where you are in your calorie count and what you have left to play with when you go out. I always try and see the menu selections before I go so I can make wise decisions . If I know I am going out I try and plan to have a dessert!!
Eating out is a real challenge for me. The thing that works best for me is if I can manage a snack before we go so that I am not tempted by everything on the menu. It's easier to be picky when I am not really, really hungry.
Fitness Minutes: (23,601)
843 5/29/13 4:50 A
I don't like the term "bad food", because food isn't moral; it's food. I think food is awesome and should be enjoyed. But it is also just part of a social event, not the main focus. When I go out, I try to track ahead of time, or at least look at the menu for the restaurant so that I can make choices before I get there and am tempted. If you want to eat wings, figure out how to eat the wings. I also am much more concerned with my calorie intake for the week than for each day. If you eat at the low end of your range for a week, you have about 1000 extra calories to play with for a special occasion. I don't think you should do it all the time, but once in a while I think it is actually beneficial to do, because then your body knows it isn't starving.
Fitness Minutes: (19,135)
528 5/28/13 9:52 P
I like to plan ahead because I know I can get carried away. If I make smarter decisions earlier on and track them ahead of time, then I tend to fare better. I'll skip part of the appetizers, have smaller portions, skip bread, smaller beer or sub vodka and soda or wine...
Fitness Minutes: (1,961)
5/28/13 8:39 P
i have noticed that a bad food day doesn't really effect me over all if it is an occassional thing. if i can't have a treat every now and then i won't stick to eating better in the long run, and i would guess that is true of most people. you just can't GIVE UP everything you love. decreasing frequency and portion size is the key. having said that i am planning a trip back home to NM next month and will be having a bad food WEEK! i don't care, i will get back on track once vacation is over, but since i only get to go home every other year or so there is no way i am willing to miss out on all the yummy new mexican food i love even though i know i'll be back up a few pounds. good luck to everyone on their weight loss/fitness journey!
Fitness Minutes: (20,841)
5/28/13 3:44 P
I really like the other post - eat the "bad" foods as a rare and special treat. Perfect!
The best advise I've heard is don't make any changes in your weight-loss journey that you wouldn't be willing to stick to for the rest of your life. So unless you plan on giving up wings and beer and popcorn for the rest of your life, then it's not cheating. What you've chosen to do is make those things a rare and special treat. No doubt they will taste better that way!
5/28/13 3:15 P
I would assume that going over a little once in a while isn't bad. Just watch what you put in your mouth. My Husband has taken me out a few times and I picked a salad bar to eat in. No dressing, just vinegar. But this is a great topic. I am just starting out, so my word doesn't count.
Edited by: CHERYLERBE1 at: 5/28/2013 (15:16)
Fitness Minutes: (20,841)
5/28/13 3:08 P
When I'm going out, I look for alternatives to the really "bad" (high calorie/low nutrition) foods. I feel I can have treats that are at least moderately healthy. You can't always do much when you are eating at someone's house, but nowadays restaurants almost all have websites and most of them will provide you with the nutrition information. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I plan ahead that way. I don't eat movie popcorn either - I always have a healthy snack before I go so I'm not tempted. Saves a lot of money too! If you do stop paying attention for one day, I don't think you can do that much damage. You'd have to eat an additional 3500 calories to gain a pound. Don't worry about it if it is an occasional thing.
Fitness Minutes: (4,280)
206 5/28/13 12:49 P
I do this any time I know i'll be going to a restaurant or my MIL house. She cooks with so much oil and butter it's crazy. I've started asking her to set some of the food aside for me without any oils, so that's helped, but dinner at a restaurant is always hard. Wine, appetizers, main course, dessert... It only happens once a month if I'm lucky, and the thought of eating something bland just makes none of this feel worth it. Why loose weight and not enjoy food? You'll gain it back, plus. So I'll plan the day before and after to be very low cal (still in the range, but the bottom end, like some other members suggested) and I'll also plan out the morning and evening meals to be as minimal as possible. Then I'll go through the online menu and nutrition facts and try to see how much I should be eating before I get there. Let's be real, if you ate a whole appetizer, dinner, and dessert with coffee and wine you'll probably be at 2000 calories for one meal. But if I can figure out some calorie cheap sides, maybe decide to share an appetizer and only eat a few bites then go for a salad, I can usually make it out of there without going more than 200 calories over. My sodium is totally trashed, and sometimes the fat content is over too, but not as much as you'd think.
Fitness Minutes: (3,097)
5/28/13 11:41 A
I think it's great that you planned ahead so well and are keeping yourself accountable with your tracker. It is perfectly fine to have a day that you go over your calories every once in a while. I would suggest just eating at the lower ranges for a few days around that day though. Great job for planning a light and healthy breakfast and lunch for the day. I don't think anyone should ever stress a lot about having a "cheat" meal every once in a while. You have found the perfect way to do it: tracking those foods, budgeting/overestimating calories just in case, finding healthy foods to eat the rest of the day, and exercising that day. Now just let yourself enjoy your day knowing that you tracked responsibly!
Fitness Minutes: (71,997)
5/28/13 11:00 A
Thanks for the clarification. It's so hard to get meaning when typing things out!
Fitness Minutes: (203,882)
4,388 5/28/13 10:39 A
I NEVER allow a bad food DAY - when I have a bad meal, I cut back the rest of the day (or two). I will NEVER go back to where I HATED to even see myself!
I preplan when I know we are going out. I do just about the same thing you do/did. This works for me. On the journey I have not deprived myself of any food just use portion control. Again this works for me most of the time.
When you are craving something, its usually for the taste. And really, there is no problem tasting any type of food because that usually implies a smaller portion. Don't deny yourself, if you are going to have a cheat day where you eat things you normally wouldn't just keep everything in stride and go for a taste test here and there :-)
Like many have stated, no matter how or what you eat be sure to track it. You'll find that if you go WAY over your calories that you'll be able to identify how your body feels and what you attitude is about it. I think it's dangerous to not track your food.
5/28/13 8:49 A
I stopped having "Bad Food Days" on March 1, 2013. However, I must say that I have tried the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Ranch taco made fresco style. Still not a bad food, but I have to watch my sodium.
Whatever you choose to call those days, I feel it's important to track so that you can evaluate the effect.
I, however, am on a three month travel trip visiting family and friends and for the most part are at their mercy. Saturday was a graduation party where cake and pizza were the menu. I bought all the food for a huge tossed salad and made the dressing and everyone enjoyed it. I just have to take those small victories. btw....have not always tracked, but should.
Fitness Minutes: (9,031)
147 5/28/13 1:23 A
I understood you weren't going to eat poorly all day!
However, I don't know what maintenance days are... I'll start a new message post with that so I don't hijack this thread LOL
Enjoy your movie day!
Fitness Minutes: (25,512)
115 5/28/13 12:19 A
Great discussion, but I wanted to clarify just a bit... I never meant that I was going to eat poorly ALL DAY long, I just meant I would be out of my calorie range for the day. Also, I used words like bad food and cheat in quotations because I didn't really have the words to convey what I meant to majority of the readers although they are very negative words. I don't associate food as good or bad; however, I used the word guilt because if I don't know how many calories I am consuming, I *feel* like I must be consuming 3,000 calories...
After tracking and over estimating my calories for the day - think of it like budgeting money - it looks like I am going to consume 2,100 calories. If I go for a run in the morning, the differential brings me closer to maintenance. So if I do save 1/2 the wings to bring home (preferred) or don't drink that 2nd or 3rd beer, then I am under budget for the day which turns into - unintentionally - a huge win for me and my self control.
And to all the posters who used the words "maintenance day," thank you! It gives me a much less negative point of view!
I am in agreement with everyone else, just go with it and have fun! It is a must that you do not completely deny yourself of those little celebrations and indulgences in life!! I will provide you with this perspective however, after one or two of those "cheat" days, you may very well change your opinion of them altogether. By this I mean, when I did this the first time, it wasn't something that I particularly planned, but I was at the ball park and a beer sounded REALLY good, so I had a couple. And some BBQ to go along with it. While the calories were not completely out of this world for that day, the sodium and grease made me feel so yucky that I haven't done that again since! LoL But all that being said, if you want some wings and beer, by all means, have some wings and beer. Its all about balance after all! Enjoy!
Fitness Minutes: (71,997)
5/27/13 7:09 P
I have decided against the term "bad food." I use the term "smaller portion foods" because there's nothing bad about food... as long as it sustains you.
I went to the movies over the weekend, and I found that I naturally hit a point where I just didn't want any more popcorn. It's taken me quite a while to figure out when I've had enough versus when no more will fit in me.
I hope you can enjoy your food without guilt. Our food choices should never affect how we feel about ourselves.
Fitness Minutes: (85,382)
5/27/13 6:25 P
Every other Saturday we go to my inlaws and I take a break from dieting (ie: weight loss mode). I still eat pretty healthy, my MIL usually serves a fruit/veg platter and a wrap for lunch and a healthy dinner with lean protein and plenty of veg. We always have a cake/pie for dessert though and I usually indulge and have two servings.
She's also very intune with everyone's food preferences and dietary needs. Although I think lately she must think I'm growing too thin because she's suddenly sending leftover cake, chocolate and baked goods home with me. :/
I take the day off tracking but I try to mind my portions for the most part. When you're creating a calorie deficit all week, one day at maintenance or even slightly above is not going to destroy your weight loss efforts. If anything it gives your metabolism a kick start. Eating at maintenance 1-2 days a week has always helped me to lose weight more quickly than eating consistently on a calorie deficit.
Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 5/27/2013 (18:33)
5/27/13 5:24 P
You've gotten a lot of good advice, I try to plan for a higher than normal calorie day but eating at the bottom of range for the week before and may even add in an extra workout session if I can swing it. I still manage the portion of the high calorie food that I eat and will usually have calories to spare because of the careful planning I did leading up to it.
Fitness Minutes: (45,297)
1,317 5/27/13 5:23 P
I dont have cheat days and I dont eat bad food. I CHOOSE to eat calorific food on occasion, and thoroughly enjoy it! I do try to limit the quantity of calorific food, use a doggy bag, etc. this morning my friend set some fun doughnuts cum pastry in front of me. I ate some and said I would take the rest home. She tried to press more on me and I declined firmly. I shall enjoy what I took home later this week. I reached my goal months ahead of plan, and have been two kilos below original goal for the last two months, including Orthodox Easter, my birthday, and a visit from my sister, which included a couple of meals out and extra chocolate, plus being ill for a month, tummy bug, flu, then dizzy bug, which prevented nearly all exercise. My this months eating aim is to eat five veg every day, as well as fruit. I think that limits the amount of room I have left for other food!
Fitness Minutes: (1,366)
5/27/13 2:42 P
i think its ok to have a cheat day i have one once a month but i dont go over board and i still workout after depriving yourself of the all the things u like only sets u up for failure.
I think having a bad meal is less troubling than planning it out, along with a movie. It seems like you are doing what you want for a night, which makes me wonder if you think you are depriving yourself in some way.
Most food can be fit into most meal plans. 10 wings, and a beer is manageable. Why not choose to limit the size of your " cheat ", so it fits into your range, and just enjoy it. Adding it to a movie, with popcorn, turns it into a cheat "day ", which make cheating akin to a reward. So now the other days are punishment. Then you are just waiting for the fun day to come around again, and you cut the time between them, and then have 2 a week, and then your whole diet falls apart.
For this reason I think cheat days are horrible. When you get to a day where you think, I need to have X food, adjust your tracker, and fit it in. Don't schedule your cheats though.
In the end, you'll do what you want, and either way, enjoy your night, and keep going. Overall, I don't think a day matters as much as a way of thinking about food.
Fitness Minutes: (33,710)
5/27/13 1:28 P
I do this too when I know there's an event coming up that I want to spend a lot of calories on. For me, tracking it in advance reminds me that I'm in control of what I choose to eat, and takes away some of the anxiety about not knowing exactly how many calories I'm consuming that I might feel otherwise (I want to relax and enjoy myself!). I also avoid the guilt by eating nutritionally and lightly (toward the bottom of my calorie range) for at least a day before/after (depending on how much I go over).
I'm just coming off of a cheat WEEK. My best friend moved away yesterday so there was a lot of eating out, going away parties, and alcohol, so I did my best where I could but recognized I wasn't going to be able to be that healthy for several days, and gave myself permission to do that. I don't look at it as "falling off the wagon" - weight loss takes a long time and one week of celebrating isn't going to make a huge difference, and today I'm back in to full-effort.
Yes. When my weightloss gets stuck or I start to feel bored or hungry even though I'm eating enough, I usually pick a saturday and sleep late, drink my coffee and cream and leisurely snack on whatever I want. I try and just keep portion control in mind. I go over my caloried but the next few days when water weight is down, I can start losing again and I just feel "revamped". Does that make any sense?
5/27/13 12:52 P
I have days like that - but I do not label them a "cheat" day as that has such negative and diet like connotations. I just track everything I ate and make sure my weekly totals are in check- that usually means making smarter choices on the days surrounding the event.
Fitness Minutes: (62,993)
5/27/13 11:26 A
I like the idea of having a maintenance day once a week. Maybe calling this day a maintenance day will make it more likely that I will choose my food in a calm, health-conscious manner rather than throwing my hands in the air and just chomping on whatever catches my eye.
Fitness Minutes: (42,218)
4,579 5/27/13 10:18 A
Once a week I take a day off from dieting and my regular exercise routine. I do keep calories in mind, but I don't worry about eating three meals and three snacks and vegetables. I have the cake or ice cream I've been craving in place of breakfast or lunch, a hamburger or roast beef sandwich for supper. Most weeks I don't go over my upper calorie limit, but I don't worry about it if I do a little. This is also my day to hike someplace besides around the neighborhood, so I do get exercise, it's just something different. It keeps me from getting too bored and throwing in the towel.
i agree that calling something a "bad food day" can start to introduce emotions into your meals, which isn't something you want to do if you can help it. if you really want to give yourself some room choose to eat in your maintenance ranges for a day. if you're set to lose a pound a week, that's 500 cals above your loss ranges [1000 cals if you're set for a 2lb per week loss, 750 for a 1.5 lb per week loss or 250 for a half a pound per week loss]. figure one day eating at maintenance and the rest in your ranges means you should hit 6/7 of your goal. keep in mind that if you do weigh in on sat, sun or mon that you may still be retaining water from the additional sodium, so if you are up a bit i'd wait til the next week to worry about it. plus, you're giving yourself practice at eating in your maintenance ranges.
5/27/13 8:24 A
I may plan for an indulgence, but it doesn't usually last a day.
I don't ever plan a cheat day. I don't even call eating less than optimal cheating, that's way too negative for me. However that doesn't mean I never eat anything less that optimal, because I do enjoy pizza and hard cider from time to time. I do believe having a big eating day every every so often is something people need, as usually once a week I'll be super hungry and eat a lot more than normal. I don't schedule it though.
As to one of the previous posts - If I were planning a party at my house I would make sure there were plenty of healthy options available for my guests and myself to eat.
The thing is I have been eating so clean for so long now I really notice it when I over indulge in things I don't usually eat. Two Christmases ago I ate my fill of homemade cookies on Christmas Eve, the next morning I had a sugar hangover and felt like crap for most of the morning. At the time I didn't even know the body could have a sugar hangover! So now I just eat one or two treats and I feel great the next day. So for me certain "cheats" just aren't worth it.
Fitness Minutes: (9,031)
147 5/27/13 7:08 A
For me, I do the same thing too. My daughter's graduation party is at our house in two weeks. I plan to go over my normal calorie range by several hundred (maybe 1-2 thousand even) calories. We'll have a Swedish sandiwch cake(smörgås tårta) beer, champagne, cake, strawberries and cream cheese, chocolate, soda,chips and even a vegetable tray LOL All kinds of food from nutritious to not-so-nutritious!
I am sure my calories, fat counts, sodium and carbs will be off the chart but I'm okay with it. I will eat less for several days before (still staying at a minimum of 1200 cal) and make sure I get in plenty of exercise before and after.
I am 1.5 kg away from my first goal and a day here or there is not going to cause me to gain back over 50 pounds. I KNOW I will not continue to eat like this so I feel good about my choice.
I will not track at all on that day, and on scheduled "cheat" days, I don't track. I just make sure I am diligent about getting back on track the next day.
Have fun and don't worry about it. Only worry about it if it becomes a weekly thing!
Fitness Minutes: (31,997)
5/27/13 1:49 A
If this is just a once in awhile thing...just go out and have a fun evening!!! Don't worry about the count. I don't think of it as cheating. I don't like the way in makes it seem/feel. If I want to go out and have a fun evening.....and it's not a weekly thing.....then I go for it. I think calling it cheating gives the food too much power. If I know that something is coming up, I will eat at the lower end of my calorie range for a week (few days before, few days after) so that the week averages out. And I will be diligent with my exercise. I want to live my life.
I do something like this occasionally. My main intention is good nutrition. But it's important not to go into compulsive austerity mode. When I do this, I keep the "bad food" to a reasonable amount, and drink plenty of water to absorb the salt and sugar.
Fitness Minutes: (46,189)
3,102 5/27/13 1:48 A
My thought is that you need to re-read what you've written in light of your commitment to yourself.... Your statements indicate sort of a self-rebellious contradictory attitude---If you feel good about it, why are you worried about feeling guilty about it?? Who is making you feel guilty??
"Knowing none of this is healthy, I want to be able to eat exactly what I want but without the guilt." "I'm already over my calorie range for Friday, but I feel good about it because I still feel like I'm still holding myself accountable."
It really doesn't matter what the rest of us have done or think! What matters more are your priorities; where you are in your weight loss journey; and what your philosophy is about this journey. A lot of folks Absolutely Need tostay strictly within guidelines to lose the weight for medical reasons; a lot of folks can relax more and go for a more 80/20% philosophy where some unstructured days and some "not so healthy" foods don't impact them; others I'm sure couldn't stand the mere thought of consuming some of these foods....
and yes just for an FYI, I don't necessarily consider popcorn, beer and wings unhealthy; its in the quantity and quality (light beer is only 5 carb!).... If I knew ** ahead** it was going over my calories, I would certainly cut the quantity ...way back... If I went over a little but had been eating lower calories for a few days , I wouldn't be terribly upset with myself.
BUT WE EACH MUST CHOOSE OUR OWN PATH! Find Peace with your own path.... patti
Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 5/27/2013 (01:48)
Fitness Minutes: (21,094)
5/27/13 1:20 A
If I have a cheat day that I can plan, I tend to eat on the lower end of my calorie range for a day or two before it. If I l go over on my cheat day, I don't feel as bad if I have it planned out ahead as I can make adjustments. I really feel it is important to do that as this is what life is all about. Sometimes it just works out this way and we can find a way to work it into our life. I look at things over several days, not just one at a time. If I eat a bit less than I should one day, it's fine and I can make it up in the next couple days and vice versa.
Fitness Minutes: (25,512)
115 5/27/13 12:58 A
I'm curious to know, has anyone ever planned a "cheat" day? And what are your thoughts?
This Friday, I know my husband and I are going to go out to a movie, eat popcorn, and then go eat wings and drink beer. Knowing none of this is healthy, I want to be able to eat exactly what I want but without the guilt. So, on my nutrition tracker I am adding up all I think I'm going to eat & drink...plus maybe an extra beer. ;) I'm also planing to walk or maybe run that morning and eat a light but filling breakfast and lunch (ie smoothies and salads, yum!).
I'm already over my calorie range for Friday, but I feel good about it because I still feel like I'm still holding myself accountable. I'm happy with myself because I at least know what I'm getting myself into rather than fretting at the dinner table not knowing what I've consumed and possibly never adding the calories up because of the guilt.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about this and what some of you have done. Thanks!
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