Cheat Days - Do you or Don't you?
I've heard from countless people who are in fantastic shape that they will treat themselves to a treat day. The only thing that seems to vary is how much and how often.
For example, one of my male friends who is in extremely good shape, says chocolate tastes better if he only has it once a month. He has maintained his physique for approximately 6 years and is still going strong.
But one of my female friends, who is also in very good shape and has maintained her weight loss for years, has a cheat day every Sunday and eats whatever she fancies. She says it is easier for her to resist the 6 days of the week when she knows on the 7th she can indulge.
I figured if I'm going to have a cheat day, it should be Sunday. I'm always off on a Sunday, which means I can choose what I buy and what is in front of me. (I work in a call centre, so if my cheat day was mid-week in a place where there is always temptation, I would eat more than I wanted to). I tried it yesterday and I decided on a cheat meal instead (bananas with low fat custard, not exactly crazy, but it was tasty!)
So what do you do?
Do you have a cheat day? When is it? How much do you allow yourself?
Or do you avoid it?
I don't think I have any one "cheat day". I never liked the term "cheat day". It makes it sound like you are doing something bad. Instead, I firmly believe in the idea of "all things in moderation". If I want it, I have it. But I have a single serving, don't binge and log everything. I am accountable for every calorie that goes into my mouth. This way I am never really craving anything too badly. Once in a while I get a huge craving. I did just the other day and got myself a chocolate milkshake. I drank it slowly, enjoyed every sip, experienced how it felt in my mouth, all of it. Now I won't have that craving for a very long time.
"moderation" is key though. It is easy to let things get away from you. I find that most days I don't even feel like having a treat, but if I do I have a small bit of it and then the craving goes away. I know some won't agree with my point of view. But it works for me. I have steadily lost an average of 2lbs/week and I never feel deprived.
I think if I held off on all my cravings until 1 day a week that I would really go off the handle and binge the whole day.
Saturday is my cheat day. soo bad... but still I can burn it :)
We're not learning to Diet.. We're learning to Live it
People who are generally good at maintaining weight, and just have less than half a stone variance to occasionally 'get tough on' should probably bump their exercise and cut the crap.... but the rest of us...
We have a long haul before we are anywhere near where we need to be healthwise...and a tough problem, when we (if we) get there, we most likely won't be able to sustain the loss..
We have to be able to enjoy the weight loss process because we might need a few years to arrive anywhere near our goal... And we have to learn all about eating... including eating balanced meals and balancing in a few treats too.
I don't think about it as specific days when i'll 'eat everything and anything'.. rather I think at all times.. i'm going to really try and eat as healthily as I can, so that if at any time I want a treat, i won't feel too bad about it.. sure I would have reached my goal a few days quicker if I DONT eat that TREAT.. .but then I know that all the treats delay 'that day'... and all the exercise or healthy food choices get me a bit nearer where I want to be.
That's the essence of balance.
The scales tell me whether I'm getting my balance right for weight loss, and overall its going to be easily transferrable to that golden 'afterwards' when I hope I'll have learnt enough to be able to maintain my achievement.
Also.. I believe that inclusion of treats, or of non-diet days can work to avoid that horrible plateau situation.. if the body thinks food is getting scarce, it reacts by doing less, and when we give it bursts of junk food, or at least times when calories are abundant.. it never decides to go to starvation mode, and weight loss overall benefits.
I'm something of a yo-yo weight wise.... I tend to get very huge, then I tend to lose most of it but inevitably get bored or experience a situation which causes me to pile the weight back on.. its sometimes one year up up up.. one year down down down.. I'm quite the expert on losing weight :)
Those times when I was patient and prepared to lose just a couple of pounds a week were the times when I enjoyed it more and kept the weight off longer.
Good luck everyone... and good eating.
PS: I've used the word 'treat' since that was in use here... but really TREATS are healthy delicious foods. All the unhealthy foods are not TREATS... they are just foods we want to eat even though we know they are not doing us any good.
According to some articles online, these 'cheat days' are good for your metabolism. I don't go crazy at a buffet or eat a bucket of fried chicken. I treat myself to ONE ITEM only. So, either one slice of cake, one scoop of ice cream, or one small portion of french fries. I don't make it an entire meal. I only make it one item.
Then, I have to burn it off later in the day. :P
All days... :p
Cooking is my passion, but meanwhile, Usually Sunday is mine Cheat day to cook better than of all other week days.
I find that a cheat/treat day usually throws me off. Like others, I may have a treat ITEM (A scoop of ice cream, or a slice of cake) but not for an entire day. Things may change once I'm at an ideal weight, exercising regularly, etc., but until then, I simply feel like both my metabolism and willpower can't handle more than that.
I will do this once every 2-3 weeks.
I'm with Terri and Jenai and Avivabah. "Cheat" days throw me off. I feel that Jenai's and Avivabah's approach is a healthier one for me. If I really want something, have it and move on. Or for me, small treats work. I can't eat too much sugar for health reasons. So I get some lower sugar cookies and have one or two. If I allow myself these kinds of things, making it NO BIG DEAL, then these things can be in my house for weeks or even months. If I deprive myself, then cheat day becomes uncontrollable binge day. That's me.
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