It would definitely be possible to eat back whatever calorie deficit you'd accumulated during the week if you threw caution to the wind and ate whatever you wanted in whatever quantity you wanted. Honestly, I think it's better to just incorporate the foods you want and enjoy into your daily meal plans and eat them in moderation. To me, "cheat days" seem to be a way to go back to the old ways of eating for one day per week. I feel like it's a form of holding on to the old, bad, habits which caused us to gain weight in the first place.
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
2/25/13 1:55 P
BUNNYKICKS: great advice- "A pre planned "cheat" can have its place"
as you said...much better than throwing caution to the wind.
Fitness Minutes: (1,751)
2/25/13 1:54 P
I haven't found any need for a cheat day yet. But then I eat based off what I am in the mood for generally so I can't say as I've really had any cravings since starting here a month and a half ago. If I were to have a "cheat" day, Im not even sure what I would even want that was different than normal.
Fitness Minutes: (209,889)
71,285 2/25/13 1:49 P
Not a cheat day as such but a day where you can go out and eat the same as others. Let's face it nobody keep day in day out on track.
2/25/13 1:43 P
I think that a pre-planned "cheat" can have its place (i.e. "I know I'm going out to dinner this weekend, I know it will put me over my range for that day, I accept this fact, and will journal it."
But that is different than "throwing caution to the wind" - which I would suggest is not a helpful idea.
Now you say "let yourself eat those foods that you couldn't during the week" - why couldn't you eat certain foods during the week? Eat what you want! But then adjust portion size accordingly.
Fitness Minutes: (15,322)
449 2/25/13 1:26 P
I was with my in-laws and they served fried chicken. I ate it and the green beans. But after I ate it, I started craving bad food. I usually don't do cheat days or meals. I'll have a piece of candy or a few chips, but that is it.
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
2/25/13 1:10 P
MISSRUTH: good points!
for me, if i felt like i had a day to eat whatever, i could easily take in a lot of extra calories that day. if i didn't track it, i wouldn't know how my intake was overall for the week. in one day, i could easily eat as many extra calories as i burned exercising all week.
i had an out of town friend visit this week. i ordered pizza for our kids. i ate it too. i tracked it. i just didn't eat 4 pieces like i could have in the past.
maybe ask yourself why do you want a "cheat day" and can you work small treats into your meals so you don't feel deprived?
2/25/13 1:07 P
The Body for Life program has "free days" where once a week you can eat anything you like. It some cases it can also help your body get out of starvation mode - at least according to that book.
I do have some days where I totally blow through my recommended nutrition threshold - but the trick is to limit those days and times so that for me I am eating healthy pretty much most of the time.
2/25/13 1:06 P
Everyone is different, and most days I limit myself to the same things each day...that works best for me...I only have those things on hand, and that's what I eat every day. Too many choices and my willpower is shot.
Then, about once every two weeks, I'll take a day on the weekend and just have whatever I want. We will go out to ea, I'll have steak or whatevert, go to a movie, I'll have the popcorn...
I have not found this to be detrimental. I know that on every other day I'm sticking to my planned menus, which are very limited.
There has even been research on calorie cycling being beneficial in helping to avoid plateaus.
So not a bad idea, at least for me, and others who think like me, to stick to the course every day, then take a day off a couple times a month.
2/25/13 12:41 P
I never deprive myself of anything, but I do restrict myself to how much and/or how often I eat something less than ideal. I try to never allow myself to throw away my hard work by pigging out on junk a for a whole day. I feel crappy for at least a day afterwards if I do anyway.
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
2/25/13 11:54 A
For me, no cheat days. Just make the best choices day after day. These choices may include some items that I would not eat on a regular basis, but I will eat them and fit them into my tracker Once in a while I am over my range, but that keeps me attentive to my choices.
2/25/13 7:48 A
I view what I'm doing here as a way of life, and not a "diet". So there have been no "cheat" days for me. There have, indeed, been days where I overate, and/or did not pick the healthiest choice available to me. Because gosh darn it, some of that stuff (while not the healthiest choice) just tastes soooo good.
I agree that calling them "cheat" days implies that you're doing something wrong. Or that all the other days where you didn't cheat, have something wrong with them to where you need to bust free and go out of bounds. Ideally, we can juggle around the calories, carbs etc and fit portions of the foods we love, that we normally wouldn't eat, into our daily allowance.
I think the danger with "cheat" days, is that a person might view it as an excuse to go hog wild. And spend the entire day overdoing it, to the point where a lot of their hard work for the week, is undone. The other problem I can see, would be-- say for example you plan to "cheat" on Saturday. But on Tuesday, a situation comes up (party, birthday, out with coworkers, BF brings home pizza) where you want to "cheat" instead. So you do. And then here comes Saturday, and you think, well, I want to "cheat" again because I didn't get to eat everything on Tuesday that I wanted to. And now you've had 2 cheat days.
I think what you decide to do about eating within your calorie range, has to be decided by you, based on what you know about your ability to control your eating and get back on track. When I first started out, I needed to stay within my range, every single day. Overeating-- even a little bit-- caused that "all or nothing" attitude to kick in, and if I went over, I'd go waaaaay over and find it hard to get back on track.
2/25/13 7:47 A
Unident hit the nail on the head. If you regard some items as "cheat" items, it implies that you're not treating your menu as a lifestyle, but as a temporary fix.
Everything in moderation Allow yourself a particular item on occasion, but realize it's not part of your overall healthy options, but you don't have to say you've "cheated" but that you've allowed for its inclusion in your menu.
I'm with the no cheat day needed crowd. This does imply that you are being denied some food that you love other days of the week. Better to just eat what you want but in moderation on whatever day you get the craving. This is something you want to be able to live with for the long haul.
I have cheat days 1-2 times/month. More often is TOO often. I don't have a problem with the term "cheat day" as I don't use the English language in my daily life so whatever you call it, I don't care, the point is the same. My next one is coming up in 2 days - it's my birthday - and I'm planning to eat about 2x my regular calories, high carbs, low fat, and this type of periodic carb refeed helps me take off a little extra weight every so often. It works for some people and it doesn't work for others. You have to find out which category you fit into.
I usually eat very low calorie the next 2-3 days after a cheat day to fix my calorie average (and because I don't even want to look at food).
2/25/13 6:27 A
Friday is my "cheat day". I eat just about everything, fried, sweets, salty then back to healthy eating from Saturday to Thursday. I seldom consume alcohol too. Because of this website, I learned to say NO to unhealthy food. :)
The good thing about this system is that there isn't cheat days. You just have to take control. Want to go to your favorite restaurant? Go! Fill up on the side salad and cut their portion in half. Get water instead of your favorite soda.
Planning on going out with the girls where alcohol is involved? look up "better" choices instead of your favorite so you can still indulge a little.
Here is the thing you don't have to cheat here, you just have to take control and make better every day choices so you can take control on your life long term.
Fitness Minutes: (41,531)
27,154 2/25/13 4:29 A
When I was in weight-loss mode, I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted one day per every TWO WEEKS. To accommodate this I generally ate toward the lower end of my range. (Mind you, I very seldom when hugely overboard.) This worked very well, and I steadily lost weight until I reached my goal. After that, I mostly stayed on the lower calories, but allowed one day per week to eat whatever I wanted. The funny thing is, once you give yourself that permission, you are far less likely to crave it, so it wasn't uncommon for the week or two weeks to come and go without my indulging :-)
I firmly believe that to do this properly, we need to weigh and record all of our food - otherwise we just might end up chowing down a lot more than we think! I keep a daily spreadsheet, too, and that has a column for my weight (on weigh when at my Medical Centre), calories, fibre, exercise (has 2 columns - one for walks and the other for other exercise) and a general comments which has things like if I wasn't able to sleep and was up 1/2 the night; very tired; in pain; out all day; etc. etc. This has been very instrumental in finding out why I might crave certain foods, or get really hungry. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge has given me the power to put appropriate plans in place. My Dietitian loves it - I take a copy to her each time I go!
To have a "cheat day" would imply you were "on a diet".
You're not. You eat healthy now. For the rest of your life. Every single day? No, probably not. So sure, some days you will make some choices that aren't 100% healthful. That is called "life" and that happens.
So there is no cheating. Just make sure you limit the days you make less healthy choices so that it's not "all the time". :)
And it's probably best, if you're going to throw caution to the wind and enjoy a nutrition-free high calorie treat, to do it as a particular treat. Eg have the dessert you love, or have that chocolate bar you like, or have that meal you like. Don't have "everything I want all day". That would lead to catastrophe!
2/25/13 3:43 A
It's not good to deprive yourself of the things you love, just keep the motto 'moderation is key' in mind. I usually eat 80% clean and 20% whatever 'junk' I want everyday but stay within my calorie limits.
Fitness Minutes: (1,214)
2/25/13 1:08 A
I've been told that it's ok to allow yourself one day where you throw caution to the wind and let yourself eat those foods that you couldn't during the week but then hop right back into healthy eating the next day. I don't know if it's a good idea or bad idea...