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How often do you have a cheat day?


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I've been counting calories for like 3 months, and so far things are going well. I've already lost 15 pounds. :) I know that some of you allow yourself to cheat once per week, but I would like to know how MUCH do you allow yourself to cheat? As in, how many more calories do you take? Do you take your maintenance cals, exceed it, or just reduce the deficit? I've never allowed myself to have cheat days, the days I blow my calories are non-intentional- binge days, occasional birthday dinners and stuff.

Though I'm just 8 poudns off my goal, I find counting calories everyday precariously very exhauting and frustrating. No desserts, no snacks, no chocolates, no ice cream for 3 months, and I feel I'm missing a lot!! I have been thinking of allowing myself to cheat like once a week. What do you think? I'd like to know some of your eating habits, so I can get an idea of how to manage my diet better without sacrificing too much.
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For dessert I have pudding cups that are sugar and fat free.  I think they have 70 cal.  Chocolate popsicles are also available that are sugar and fat free.  When I have cheated in the past, it has turned into an all out binge fest!!  So now when I have a cheat day I eat what is allowed within my calorie range.  For example if I want an item that is 500 cal. I plan the rest of my meals around it.
I have a cheat day when I feel like it.
It varies, sometimes once a week,  twice a week, and sometimes I don't have one for weeks.
But my definition of cheat days is different than other people's.
If you feel like you need it to keep sane, why not? :)
Cheating for me are the days where I just don't count. 

A few weeks ago, I went to an amusement park.  The food isn't all that healthy.  So I decided not to count, but to still be careful about what I eat.  I had Subway instead of McDonalds.  I did have a giant pretzel though hehe.

If you do cheat, never ever go all out and eat what you want.  Binging is bad.  Having a piece of cake here and there is great to maintain your sanity.

If you do cheat, still try and make somewhat healthy choices.  Stay away from very unhealthy stuff such as fried things.  Try and find filling alternatives to what you normally like.

I picked up some fudgesicles (spelling?) a few months ago.  They are low fat and 70 calories per.  A great treat when I have a chocolate urge.  Much better than a 200+ calorie chocolate bar, and it takes me longer to eat it.
I don't call it cheating, just pre-planned treats.  I allow myself to go up to but not beyond my maintenance level about once every 2 weeks. 
Interesting question.  I don't think I have "cheat" days.  I have had days when I just ate more calories, but they were still "healthy" foods and I, like claire, thought if it more like a maintenance day.  On the other hand, I have had maybe one dinner a month since starting that was not awful for me, but maybe not what I would call healthy--some form of non-fried Chinese food or Thai food, for example.  I don't ever just eat all day without thinking about it to some extent.  Does that make sense?  I also don't crave sweets anymore, so that helps.  Salty food, crunchy carbs, and restaurant foods (Thai, Chinese, Italian, Japanese), I do crave, so eating the above once a month helps to keep me on the right track. 
I find allowing myself to cheat once a month, and not counting on that day, keeps me sane.  Moderation is the key.  I might allow myself to have a brownie, but not four brownies, you know what I mean.  But knowing and planning for one day (I pick them ahead so I know what I am doing) helps me avoid binging.  You know - I can have that cookie on the 15th, so I will save that for then.  I never eat everything that I put off, but I end up with enough to keep me sane and keep me going.

Also, you can have small servings without  blowing your calories.  That's what makes this system easier to maintain than others.  Its about serving size and tradeoffs.  I still enjoy chocolate miniatures and half servings of icecream even on my diet days.  And I keep 50-100 cal snacks around to help combat the munchies.  Its all about serving size and healthy alternatives.

BTW - Tropicana makes an excellent orange or raspberry popsicle that is under 100 calories.  Really takes the edge off the sweet craving!
I don't have cheat days.  If I feel like eating something that is high in calories, I switch everything else around so that it fits in with my daily intake... and I dont' have to have the whole thing of something to make myself enjoy it... Sometimes I will share a muffin with my daughter, or have a half of a big cookie, and share it with my coworker.... I had a reese's peanut butter cup the other day when i felt like it... didn't have to eat the whole 3 cups that it came with... I'm not saying that I have too... I don't really fiend for anything else now... I've realized that when I really am hungry... If I take a few more minutes making something healthy instead of quick and full of cals and fat.... I'm not going to be hungry anymore, and I enjoy it... I've never really been one for sweets or anything... anything too sweet I actually don't like..... Like I have said before my biggest problem was eating fast food everyday... Mc Donalds, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell..... And now, I don't even think about it... Not even when I pass by it.  But, as far as people having cheat days... I don't see it as a bad bad thing.  Actually if anything it's good for some.  Cause then they aren't constantly feeling like, oh I can't have that or I really  really want it, and it's always going to be in the back of their minds.   I always loved veggies, so the veggie thing is real easy for me.  I'm not one for fruits though, for some reason I really don't like sweets that much, and even fruits seem to sweet for me... I'm trying to find out some other fruits that I might enjoy... But, it's still the only fruits that I have liked my whole life.... Apples, banana's and pears... And I love banana's but unfortunately I can't eat a whole one, cause if I do, my stomach will hurt alot.  My mom is allergic to banana's and I'm wondering if I have some sort of similar thing... But, the only thing that happens when I eat a whole one, is my stomach hurts really bad, and I may have to go to the bathroom alittle.. (sorry TMI) lol...


Oh sometimes when I go to my moms house on saturdays, she has poker night and they order pizza.  So, if I know i'm going to have pizza there... I switch my cals around to fit that in, and make sure I'll have a few extra veggies that day to make up for the pizza. 
Gypsy
i think I have them way too often but I am still losing weight.
I cheat at least twice a week, which is probably why i have been stuck at my current slightly-above-goal weight.  I don't deny myself, otherwise i would go insane.  So i eat something chocolatey or sweet everyday. Sometimes it is low fat and sweetened with splenda, and sometimes it is real chocolate, but i try to keep each treat under 100 cals. 
this may be a stupid question but you can have junk food as long as it is under your calories and still lose weight????
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I dont have a "cheat" day, I have a "cheat" meal. Usually on Sat or Sun I pick one meal that I eat whatever I want. What I do is eat until I feel full. Once Im full not stuffed I stop. Then thats it.
I never have a cheat day and am extremely strict on what I choose to eat and in fact am petrified of putting weight on.

That said, it's my birthday on Monday so I may treat myself to a few drinks this weekend! :D
I don't think of "cheat days" instead I just think of eating well each day. Like today, I've eaten a high fiber cereal for breakfast and a big salad for lunch. After lunch, my hubby pulled out some chex mix for "dessert." It looked good, so I ate a bite of it.

Some days, the bite is enough. I log what I think it was in calories and I continue my day. Today, it tasted so good I measured out a portion, enjoyed every scrap of it and logged it in food log.

I'll go ahead and have a good meal for supper. I'll try to stay within my calories for the day. And I go on...

Someday, I'll perfect eating only healthy foods, but for now, I just eat when I'm hungry, count calories and use portion control to get me to another pound lost.
I don't like the term "cheat".

That implies you are doing something wrong or breaking a rule - and brings the lure of the forbidden fruit with it.

I eat healthfully most of the time. If I want dessert or candy or a cheeseburger, I have a portion that is reasonble, considering my activity level and my total calories for the day.

My goal is a balanced, sustainable diet and a reasonable approach to food for the rest of my life. Nothing is forbidden, so there is no cheating.
Weekends are usually my cheat days Saturday or Sunday or sometimes both, I know I am bad.
I try to only have a cheat meal, bad meal once, twice a week. 

Usually when I go out with the guys at the office for lunch.  It is a small office to so I do not want to not go with them.  I try and push for healthier places but I have guys fighting me on that. 

When we go to places that would be bad in calories I try and get something good. But some food I just can not seem to give up.  I guess I am cutting out to many good things already, like Coke, the good stuff not diet. Oh so good.  Anyways.

My calories very so much every day that they really do seem to balance out.  It is just the unhealthy things I fill up on, Chips and Queso, cheese bread, rolls, that I am trying to control.  I just can't have one. :-)
In the beginning, I would behave for a full month and then have a full day of cheating.  Cake, cookies, Taco Bueno, Ice Cream, Candy, soda, popcorn, etc.  The end result of the binge was that I would feel so disgusting that I welcomed the return to my diet with open arms.

Now I have a "cheat" meal when I feel like it (usually once a week) but make sure that it is on a day that I workout to balance out the guilt.

Does anybody get ticked off when other people try to dictate your cheat day or meal?  You know, that person who tries to get you to take a slice of cake because you deserve it?  That drives me nuts. 
If I must have a cheat food I substitute for a healthier less calorie filled option. For instance if I want ice cream I have a low fat sorbet from Hagen Daz or Whole Fruit they are just as good if not better.  If I want a cookie I look for something whole wheat or oatmeal with less sugar, if I want pizza I choose veggie, thin crust that way I am not missing out on the foods I love and at the same time I am not killing my diet. Just try to look for healthier alternatives, shopping at organic markets like Whole Foods really helps.
I believe that cheat days are a good thing to have.  I live with my boyfriend who is training for mixed martial arts, and we both take 1 day out of the week as a cheat day.  It's actually more of a cheat meal... if you do decide to have a cheat day, you just have to remember not to over do it.  Have a good breakfast, and maybe only cheat for lunch OR for dinner and maybe a snack afterwords.. otherwise it can get out of control, and if you cheat all day you just don't feel great the next day.
I allow myself on Sundays to eat whatever I've been craving during the week- a few years ago when I lost like 80 pounds- I would do the same thing- even having Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait with extra hot fudge! I was being pretty religious about using the treadmill at the gym though so exercise is still needed. I read an article in Woman's World about 5 years back that it is good for your body to have 1 day a week of not counting calories- it kind of fools your body because if you continously are eating pretty much the same amount of calories- your body gets into a rhythm- but by "fooling it" once weekly then it thinks ok- so maybe I'm  not being "starved."  And speeds up your metabolism...
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