Weight Loss
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Is it okay to have a "cheat meal"?


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I give myself one-two cheat meals a week and I let myself eat anything I want even though they may be sweet or full of carbs. But i still stick with my vegetarian diet. I know you guys would say that this is a no no, but this is the only way I can reward myself.

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You aren't "dieting." This is a life-style change. Right? Right.

SO... Cheat meals once (or maybe even twice) a week are perfectly acceptable. In fact, this practice sometimes helps people in the long term because they don't feel like they're depriving themselves of anything, etc.

I say go for it.  

If your purpose is to lose weight why would you eat whatever you wanted once or twice a week?  Aren't those cheat meals foods that you should not be eating or should avoid?  It's a good idea if you're just now starting out on a diet, so that you can get use to the lifestyle change, but once you've switched, why go back to living to eat instead of eating just to live!?  After a couple of weeks to a month of the new shift in diet you should now be able to only eat vegetarian and not even crave anything but fresh fruits & vegetables. YUM!  In order to lose weight one must watch what they eat (if it's not good for you, don't eat it) & exercise regularly.

I must admit at first, I was dieting but now I actually enjoy slicing up fruits and making my salad and I am actually proud of myself. Do YOU have a cheat meal? Please inform me your experience regarding this...Thanks akela9!

Original Post by xlr8r69:

If your purpose is to lose weight why would you eat whatever you wanted once or twice a week?  Aren't those cheat meals foods that you should not be eating or should avoid?  It's a good idea if you're just now starting out on a diet, so that you can get use to the lifestyle change, but once you've switched, why go back to living to eat instead of eating just to live!?  After a couple of weeks to a month of the new shift in diet you should now be able to only eat vegetarian and not even crave anything but fresh fruits & vegetables. YUM!  In order to lose weight one must watch what they eat (if it's not good for you, don't eat it) & exercise regularly.

I definitely agree with what you are saying but it's so hard to not crave for those kind of food when you're around it because my dad always cooks food ( unhealthy :( ), therefore, I give myself a chance to try what he cooks. And yes I am just starting with this, I planning to give up one cheat meal next week, so I'll only have once a week. Based upon your experience, did this prevent you from losing weight?

I lost 163 pounds in 20 months by eating clean 6 days a week and cheating one day a week. I found that cheating once a week kept my metabolism guessing and running and allowed me to avoid a plateau during the entire journey. I also read about this concept on several body building web sites and 26 months later I am maintaining just fine and enjoying my new life. Cheating once a week tricks the metabolism which allows it to continue running and burning calories and fat. It also helps take care of any cravings that might develop during the week.

Thanks for the advice Dave! Just curious, cause I find everybody here who still watch their calorie intake as they cheat, but I just literally grab whatever I want, but I don't do it throughout the whole day, I just do it on Sunday night and for example tonight, is that fine? Do you watch what you eat during cheat days? I am so proud of your success, reminds me of biggest loser, hehe :)

There is nothing wrong with cheat meals. Providing that the amount you eat in your cheat meal does not undo ALL your hard work for the rest of the week. The risk with not counting the calories in your cheat meal, is that you may overdo it. Of course, if you are weighing yourself regularly, you will be able to determine if you are overdoing your cheat, because you won't loose weight that week. And you will know to be more careful the following week.

I outright refuse to cut out any food from my diet that I enjoy. I love food, and I do not plan on taking away something I get so much pleasure from. What I am learning to do, is to limit the amount of higher calorie food I eat. First to loose weight, and then to maintain. And there is no BAD food, everything has something in it your body needs. It really annoys me when people demonise food.

I definitely believe in "cheat" meals, although I don't really think of them as "cheating." I knew going in that although I would have to change my diet, exercise more, and cut back on calorie consumption, I would still eat some foods on occasion that are not considered particularly healthy foods.  Since for many years of my adult life, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as much as I wanted, I don't mind one bit that now once a week or so, I allow myself the liberty of eating something not as healthy as the foods I eat the rest of the week.

Original Post by charinaisabel:

... this is the only way I can reward myself.


Be careful with this thinking.  Try hard to NOT make food a "reward".  A lot of us grew up with being "rewarded" with food and the results are not so good...

That said, an occasional less-healthy meal or two won't affect long-term weight loss.  If possible, log/plan those meals as well.  If nothing else it will keep the logic side of your mind engaged and help reduce the emotional/reward side.

Good luck!

 

I think the bottom line in this whole weight loss thing is that you have to do what you can live with in the long term if you're going to be able to maintain your weight loss.  I think your cheat day is fine.  I think that if you are too restrictive, you won't be able to keep it up and eventually fall back into old habits.  I think you are on the right track. Congratulations!

Well said betterjan!

Original Post by helz15:

I outright refuse to cut out any food from my diet that I enjoy. I love food, and I do not plan on taking away something I get so much pleasure from. What I am learning to do, is to limit the amount of higher calorie food I eat. First to loose weight, and then to maintain. And there is no BAD food, everything has something in it your body needs. It really annoys me when people demonise food.

I feel the same way!  I am not an intuitive eater, but CC is helping me make better choices through pure nutritional science.  I can have any food on any day, but I keep my intake below my burn rate because I want to lose weight.  CC is also motivating me to exercise three days per week to keep my burn rate up.  And, recently I discovered the nutrient analysis tool which was a real eye-opener!  I am now choosing foods which will get me to a better nutrient level. And, I added a multi-vitamin to my day to help with this.   I am gently changing my eating pattern through CC's tools.  But, I am not having that "dieting" or "restricted" feeling.  This website has been great for me.Smile

charinaisabel- Loving and agreeing with most of the replies you're getting. I do want to make a couple quick add-ons...

1. I agree that you MUST be careful. Never (ever) REWARD yourself with food. I know times are tough for a lot of folks, right now, financially, but try to find some non-food ways to reward your progress. Each time I lose a 10-15 lb chunk I get to buy a new book. When I hit some of my bigger milestones I might reward myself with a new outfit. (Chances are I'll need smaller jeans by that point anyway, too... So...) A lot of the folks I know on CC actually map out various points in their weight-loss journey and decide what they're going to treat themselves to. It's fun to crunch numbers and to have (non-food) "presents" to look forward to.

All that being said... 

2. I STILL support once-a-week "splurges"... So long as they aren't undoing your entire weeks worth of progress. Personally, I like to take one day a week to eat at maintenance calories. It feels totally indulgent, but I'm not derailing myself. This is the day I go out and have a couple beers, and maybe even treat myself to a fairly indulgent meal. I do NOT agree with xlr8r69's philosophy . Yes, we are trying to lose weight but we are NOT "on a diet." Diet's fail. We are making LIFE-TIME commitments to CHANGE our diet... In ways that we can keep up for the rest of our lives. It's ridiculous to make promises to ourselves like, "I'm never going to eat chocolate cake, again." NO FOOD IS FORBIDDEN. To be successful at this thing, we've got to try to learn that food isn't "good vs. bad." There are just certain things that we shouldn't eat a lot of or very often. Everything in moderation. Is it cool to eat cake every single day? Of course not. Is it okay to have a slice of cake a handful of times a year to celebrate a birthday (or whatever?) Of course. And we shouldn't feel guilty about it. I truly believe we'll be successful it we focus on getting healthy/reasonable eats 90-95% of the time. That gives us just a hair of wiggle room to keep from going crazy, and to act like a "normal" person when the occasion arises. 

Good luck with everything! 

Thanks everyone:) and akela9, what you said made perfect sense! I should re-word that term reward, maybe a "break" instead. lol. But what I really want to reward myself with when I become 110 is a weighing scale, a digital one! You think that'll be a great idea? or if i'm broke by then i'll probably get myself some running pants. Do you guys know an accurate one that's worth buying (not too expensive though, i'm a college student, i can't afford an expensive one) thanks for all the support :)

If you think rewarding yourself with poison is really a reward, then go for it. 

 

I'm at a loss to understand why anyone who knows about digestive leukocytosis would ever eat anything besides the foods that our bodies actually crave. 

 

 

 

 

Your eating plan should be a plan that you can stick to for the rest of your life.  If the plan you chose includes a cheat day and that works for you, then more power to you.  As akela9 said, "this is a lifestyle change".  If ice cream, pizza, cake, fried chicken is something that you don't want to give up forever, then work it into your plan.  It can be done.  Trying to be too rigid is what causes most diets to fail. I occasionally have a cheat meal but not too often because I eat whatever I want in moderation and it never turns into a craving or binge.  It's as though I stop the craving before it becomes a craving (sounds strange).  I like ice cream and I eat it everyday as long as it's low fat and it fits into my food allowance.  I've lost 44 lbs in 10 months and the ice cream hasn't hindered my weight loss at all.

Definitely disagree with xlr8r69.

Original Post by kickinthehabit:

Original Post by helz15:

I outright refuse to cut out any food from my diet that I enjoy. I love food, and I do not plan on taking away something I get so much pleasure from. What I am learning to do, is to limit the amount of higher calorie food I eat. First to loose weight, and then to maintain. And there is no BAD food, everything has something in it your body needs. It really annoys me when people demonise food.

Well said!! I to refuse to  not eat the things I enjoy. Even if its 1 time every 2 weeks or whatever. There is nothing wrong in cheat days... I have lost 59.2 pounds in 10 months doing this. Granted I may have lost more if I had not been doing this but I believe that taking it slow will help me win in the end.

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