If "cheat" days make you binge, I wouldn't do them.
You can try calorie cycling instead, in 5 day increments. Say your range is 1200-1500 calories a day. For 4 days you eat 1250 calories, then on the fifth day you eat 1,900.
In those 5 days, you are eating the same amount of calories - you are just dispersing them differently. But on that day of higher intake, you mentally feel as though you "cheated", even you really haven't.
The best exercise in the world is to bend down and help someone up.
current weight: 111.0
Fitness Minutes: (66,714)
1/14/14 2:37 P
I don't cheat. I just make more healthier choices and enjoy treats in smaller amounts. I don't have off limit foods so there's nothing to cheat about. If I really, really want a cheeseburger... I'll have one but I'd just much prefer a homemade chicken, cashew, cabbage, spinach, dried cranberry salad with feta cheese because I know it'll do my body better. I also find healthier alternatives to store-bought treats like homemade pumpkin brownies over store bought ones. Instead of a whole chocolate bar, I'll sprinkle some chocolate chips on my oatmeal or yogurt parfait. Instead of ice cream after dinner I make a killer yogurt parfait with Greek yogurt, pudding powder, almond milk, fruit, natural crunchy peanut butter and Kashi cereal for dessert.
I save things like alcohol, cake, pie, donuts, restaurant meals, etc. for special occasions as they should be but I still enjoy them once in awhile and don't consider myself cheating on anything. Indulgences are a part of life, imo. I just don't have these things every day or every week.
"Toning" is marketing muscles to women who are afraid if they pick up a barbell, they'll leave the gym looking like She-Hulk. It doesn't happen, what does happen is you get results. Lifting Barbie weights does nothing but waste time.
When I first started I use to have a high calorie day each week, the longer I kept at it the less I needed the day. Now if I have a high calorie meal, I just compensate for it with my other meals/snacks that day.
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch! Source: unknown
current weight: 196.6
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
1/14/14 1:02 P
I dislike the mindset I associate with "cheat days" (weeks, whatever), as if you are supposed to be "good" six days a week, then on the seventh go hog wild with all the foods you've forbidden yourself the rest of the time. It doesn't seem sustainable or mentally healthy for me.
I have a self-definition now that is that of a person who eats healthy portions of mostly healthy foods almost all the time, and who does not overindulge. That means if we're out and I want pizza, I have pizza -- one slice usually, two if they're small. It means I choose small and/or lower-calorie restaurant meals most of the time. It means if I want a slice of birthday cake, I have a slice of birthday cake -- but usually I don't want it. It also means I strive for home-cooked food wherever possible, that I don't snack mindlessly, and that I generally avoid sweets, chips, and fast food.
And that's about it. It's natural, and it doesn't require me playing elaborate mental games with myself.
Height 5'8 1/2" SW: 190+ CW: 139.0 (trying to regain back to low/mid 140s after IBS problems)
I agree the connotation of the word is bad. I have a nutritional plan. I adopted a new lifestyle. If I fail to eat from some preordained list - is that "cheating"? It's definitely off-plan... but it's a choice. I don't *have* to go there. I can choose to do so, but it's not something I've abandoned my resolve (however briefly) to do.
Of course I occasionally eat something I've decided isn't in my best health interests. I don't make a meal of it! I don't do it often. But if I've had some kind of craving for which I can't identify the source ... and that means it's not just an appetite or a "taste" ... then I translate that as something, somehow, that my body needs or at least feels a need for. Naturally, I know my weaknesses and my triggers, and if it's one of those, I just say, "NO!".
@ KKKaren... I had to laugh at your description of a craving being "gravy on [your] mashed potatoes"! LOL For me, the gravy would've been fine! cups of it! The potatoes underneath would've been my downfall! hehehe
...the problem with people these days is they've forgotten we're really just animals ... (attributation forgotten)
We did not create the web of life; we are but a strand in it. ~attributed to Chief Seattle
We don't have souls. We ARE souls. We have bodies. ~C.S. Lewis
current weight: 249.0
Fitness Minutes: (87,526)
1/14/14 9:32 A
Call it what you want but I never have a cheat day. I do have cheat meals which are really just giving into a long craving. Like having gravy on my mashed potatoes, a piece of pizza or piece of cake. When I have these so called cheat meals I plan for them by scrimping on my other meals that day. A cheat meal might make my day a 1400 calorie day instead of a 1200.
Total SparkPoints: 214,785
SparkPoints Level 22
Fitness Minutes: (120)
1/14/14 9:30 A
"cheating" is only sabotaging your goals if you can't enjoy the "forbidden" chocolate / crisp / cookie etc. in moderation.
those who allow themselves to have a small portion of whatever they're craving are less likely to feel the need to binge after months / weeks of denying themselves everything "bad".
Life is about balance and is meant to be enjoyed. If I were to deprive myself of all the foods I enjoy, I would be skinny - but I'd also be miserable!!!
It's about making healthier choices. If you're craving pasta, make it wholewheat; if it's the chocolate calling your name, go for the dark version and have one or two squares - you get the idea.
The good news is, the cleaner your system gets, the less tolerant it becomes of the foods you used to view as "treats". I used to hanker after Pizza, but if I eat it now, I get an upset stomach and suffer with sinus for days after...
I don't do any cheat meals or cheat snacks or cheat days. I want to be as close to my goal as possible, and I know if I took a day off, I'd eat everything in sight. I'm trying to get away from that idea of excess vs. deprivation. The either/or, good/bad, dieting/cheating point of view is one that I need to get away from.
"I owe everything you see here to spaghetti."
current weight: 173.3
Fitness Minutes: (54,226)
3,507 1/14/14 7:52 A
I'm not cheating on broccoli by eating some chocolate. Some days I eat more calories than others. That doesn't mean I'm cheating on anything at all. It's just life.
The word "cheating" is so negative and awful that I hesitate to use it in regards to any of my behavior. I wouldn't cheat on my husband or on a test. I wouldn't even cheat at a game of cards! I think it's a bad word to use towards eating because it is fraught with guilt and negativity.
You don't have to eat the whole thing.
Fitness Minutes: (32,923)
21,687 1/14/14 1:56 A
Well, first I don't CALL them "cheat meals/days" - this implication can cause a myriad of emotions including guilt, which in turn can cause binging. Instead I "GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION" to eat whatever I want one day every couple of weeks. I have done this all along. It takes care of nearly all my sudden craves etc., and hasn't made one iota of a difference to may weight-loss journey. In fact, I reached my goal 3 years ago after having been considerably overweight for about 30 years. I have been maintaining since.
What I found, and a lot of others have found who practice what I do, is that sometimes that 2 weeks can come and go, and we don't feel the need to have that day. It can get saved for another time. Conversely, if that day comes before the 2 weeks are up, I don't mind because it all balances out. Just make sure that you don't go crazy overboard.
If you are wanting pasta, try stretching them out by adding a lot of veges, and less dressings if it is a high-calorie dressing.
I think that rather than someone telling us to say "NO" to this practice is wrong. It may be a case of "No" for that person because that person doesn't have as much control. We must all find what works best for us.
I will add that the method I practice doesn't cause people to fall off the wagon because they feel deprived. Had I been told "NO" I can guarantee that I would never have reached my goal.
What are your thoughts on this? I'm conflicted. For the most part, I feel like I'm an all or nothing person....meaning if I go down that path of cheating.....it'll just snowball into a binge.
Although, I know that when I've been very restrictive before, I rebel and go on an all out binge. For example, when I tried 'no carb/very low carb'....eventually I had a breaking point where I devoured every ounce of pasta in sight....and then afterwards, it was really hard getting back on track.
This time around I'm doing lower carb....but if I want carbs, I have them. So far, I really haven't had any problems doing that.
I'm just curious what you do.....do you have "Cheat Meals"? Cheat Days? or No Cheating at all?
It's such a slippery slope for me....but will going with none make me fall off a cliff eventually?
I just 'read' (via audiobook) Jillian Michaels "Slim for Life" and she says yes to cheat snacks, but no to cheat meals and cheat days.
I also just 'read' (via audiobook) Tory Johnson's "The Shift" which I found excellent and she said no to all cheating.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.