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SCGAALMOM Posts: 232
12/10/12 2:30 P

I will out myself as a big yes to this question. I have a minimum of one "cheat" meal every weekend, but usually 2 or 3. Yes, every week. I don't say hold the butter or take away the bread basket or sauce on the side or no thanks to dessert. The rest of the week I very faithfully track my calories and exercise 260 minutes each week. I've just declared myself down a third pants size since March; can't say how many pounds are down because I don't weigh, at all. I freely admit I could be much further down the road to weight loss progress if I did things differently, but I can VERY HAPPILY say that I haven't spent even one day of the last 9 months fighting the urge to throw in the towel. I'm happy with my diet, joyful over the smaller clothes I'm having to buy each month, and I know I can keep this up forever. Obviously this would never work for lots of folks, but it's just my 2 pennies.

ANNABELLAM SparkPoints: (2,800)
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Posts: 12
12/9/12 2:54 P

Yes, but don't think of it as 'cheating' - thats a negative word and you'll feel guilty. you're also more likely to keep doing it. Don't plan a cheat day or meal either - I find that so often an unexpected treat will come up - someone will bring you a baked treat, or you go out for a meal that these become my tasty treats. (I find that otherwise I will eat my cheat food plus the extras that pop up!) But I do eat what I really like when I go out for a meal - I still want to enjoy life and tasty foods are part of that for me. (Just dont binge.) I find that I'll only crave the foods anyway, which leads to binging for me. Basically, the key is moderation.

PIPERJ4A SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 150
12/9/12 2:44 P

maybe once a month I'll allow myself to cheat on a meal. I don't want to get into bad eating habits again.

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (75,979)
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Posts: 2,170
12/9/12 12:42 P

If you lift heavy, you will find out that a cheat day is actually necessary if you stay at a caloric deficiency all week. Alternatively, you can eat more everyday. Challenging strength training really increases the caloric needs of the body considerably and can help break a plateau.

AM_MORRIS87 Posts: 1,665
12/9/12 11:32 A

No, absolutely not. I think cheat meals are pointless and counter productive to weight loss. One cheat meal can literally be thousands of calories depending on what you choose to indulge in.

If there is a food I really want, I find a way to work it into my meal plan. Like let's say I really want a seafood pasta dish from an italian restaurant. I'll look up the nutritional info, and let's say it has 1100 calories. I'll plan on eating only half the dish, and giving the other half to my boyfriend to take to work the next day. Now I get to enjoy that dish for only 550 calories, plus I can have 1 or 2 breadsticks and still be in my calorie range for the day.

It's really all about planning and deciding what high calorie foods are worth it to you. I use to LOVE the chocolate chip cookies from McDonalds, and at one point during my weight loss, I had been craving them for days and days. So finally I decided, okay, I'll get them and just make it work. Well 3 cookies is 480 calories. I'm sure you can imagine how hungry I was for the rest of the day having dedicated that many cals to 3 small cookies. I learned that the cookies were not worth it.

I know that I CAN have whatever I want, whenever I want. I just have to plan for it, and make it work in my day. But 99% of the time, I'd rather enjoy an entire pound of broccoli rather than one stupid cookie. I have substitutes for when I get awful cravings that won't go away, but truthfully, I enjoy the satisfaction of saying no to crappy food.

And last but not least, the reason that I don't do cheat meals, is because when I eat something super indulgent like cheesy mexican food, or creamy pasta, or salty fries with a juicy burger, or sinful japanese steak house, I know that it's not just a one time deal. It's not like I'm going to eat that food, and be super excited for greek yogurt tomorrow. I am going to crave that food (plus other crappy foods) for about a week. It throws me off track horribly, and the days following are miserable. That's why I do everything in my power to avoid foods that are going to trigger this kind of reaction with my body/mind.

INAFFIT319 SparkPoints: (12,340)
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Posts: 264
12/9/12 10:42 A

Yes...cheat is definitely the WRONG word. I guess I'm more so talking about having a day free of the mental grind of tracking everything...because it is hard work, but for me, it is necessary for weight loss.

nausikaa - I think you are on to something with your idea of not doing it weekly, but timing it with "life events" when you might just want to have a little more freedom.

I totally understand what people mean about derailing the hard work you've done throughout the week, and I am so guilty of doing that! You've all given me a lot to think about :)

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
12/9/12 5:10 A

I do -- but NOT every week. Every week can indeed completely undo your progress all week. I do it once or twice per month, and try to time it so I do during PMS when I'm craving stuff anyway. Unlike most people on this thread, I am very restricted in my eating and do not eat many foods that I do like, so it's a nice break once in a while - and I don't eat a lot of food, since once you get used to eating less, suddenly eating more can make you quite ill. And I only eat the things I've been craving but don't eat usually. And like I said, once/month is a good frequency for this. By the way, eating at a restaurant counts as this cheat meal for me because I live in a country where there is no restaurant nutrition labeling and it's pretty impossible to eat reasonably at a restaurant. I eat at restaurants only every 3 months or so.

But I track every calorie (to the extent possible - with restaurants I do have to estimate).

Edited by: NAUSIKAA at: 12/9/2012 (05:14)
KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,984
12/8/12 10:53 P

I don't think of it as cheating, but I basically eat what I want on Saturdays, but I don't binge or gorge, and on Sundays, it's looser than my eating guidelines during the week, but not as loose as on Saturday. Since I strength train, the higher calorie day seems to help my body recover and build muscle, so I think that it helps, and doesn't hurt my progress. I still try to keep my macronutrients more or less in balance though - I don't just start slamming the carbs down or anything.

Also, having a free day on the weekend helps me say no to small cheats that add up during the week. If I'm craving something during the week, I write it down on a Post-It, then look at it on Saturday and decide if I still really want that or if it was just a passing craving, and I end up narrowing down the treats to the 1 or 2 things I really want.

BLYNQI SparkPoints: (7,097)
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Posts: 39
12/8/12 10:03 P

no cheating. even if i know i'm gonna go over my calories and/or fat. i'd rather know the damage than almost pretend it didn't happen. i've had 2 (i think) days when i've gone over my calories since i started tracking here. it was nice to see that, and still see myself make progress. it helps remind me that one day of going over my cals by 200 or so isn't going to ruin everything. gives me hope that i will learn how to maintain my weight and still be able to indulge every once in a while after i've reached my goal.

12/8/12 9:41 P

Not particularly. I try to fit my meals into my calorie allotment. It worked for me going from 150 to 137. I also upped my calories, and I've found myself much more satisfied. I was initially doing the whole "1200 calories and slaving away at the gym" with minimal results. I bumped it up to 20% below TDEE, and I've had much more success

The exceptions, however, are on holidays. They come only a few times a year, and my grams makes a mean pumpkin pie!

Also, my tasting for my wedding that is next month is a day I will not be skimping on calories. When there is good food and wedding cake, I will not say no! :)

Edited by: BIOLOGYBRIDE at: 12/8/2012 (21:43)
KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (80,067)
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Posts: 5,092
12/8/12 8:33 P

There are some days where I feel like indulging a little and don't track whatever I eat, but I don't consider them cheat meals.

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,162
12/8/12 8:19 P

There are never cheat days for me...I have changed my lifestyle for good!

Cheat days are only for people who cheat themselves out of a healthy lifestyle.

12/8/12 7:25 P

If you have regular cheat days, you are strongly reinforcing the concept that there are bad foods and good foods.

But even worse, it sets you up to be blind to your cheating and all those extra calories.

A single cheat meal can turn into HUNDREDS of extra calories, and you've allowed it, because it's "free" that meal.

It can easily, and very quickly, totally ruin all of the work you've done on every other day during the week.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 23,762
12/8/12 7:18 P

I am not doing anything so restrictive that I feel a need to 'cheat' to get by....

INAFFIT319 SparkPoints: (12,340)
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Posts: 264
12/8/12 7:03 P

Thanks for posting the article, Becky. It was helpful!

Back in 2006 I lost about 130 pounds through diet and exercise. I managed to pretty much keep the weight off until this past February when I developed pretty servere plantar fasciitis, and had to give up my favorite forms of exercise (Zumba, running, step-aerobics). With that, I lost motivation...and gained back about 20 pounds. Even though I have less weight to seems harder than before! Then, I incorporated a "cheat meal" with no problem at all. Maybe it's because I'm not doing the same high-intensity cardio that I did before, or maybe it's because I'm older.

The article definitely gave me something to think about. Perhaps now I will do a "no tracking" day where I don't track my calories, but make healthy choices...just for a mental break.

JAMINURSE Posts: 3,836
12/8/12 6:47 P

No that would set me up for a binge. On the other hand, I am trying to embrace all things in moderation. Except KFC.

12/8/12 4:11 P

I think you may find this SP article helpful:

SP Registered Dietitian Becky

12/8/12 2:38 P

I don't take a cheat day, because I don't want to be set that much further back from my goal. But like YOJULEZ, I allow myself a little indulgence on holidays or special occasions. I know for some people a cheat day gives them a psychological break and keeps them from feeling deprived, but I would prefer to stick with my plan except on special occasions.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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Posts: 2,171
12/8/12 2:04 P

No. I just work good foods into my eating plan throughout the week.

The only exception is on holidays or if I'm having people over, I don't track.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 12/8/2012 (14:04)
INAFFIT319 SparkPoints: (12,340)
Fitness Minutes: (4,533)
Posts: 264
12/8/12 2:03 P

For those of you tracking calories...
Do you allow yourself a weekly "cheat meal" or "cheat day" where you allow yourself to slurge?

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