Sunday, June 24, 2012

Not A Cheat Meal

Sunday is my weigh in day, and often it is also a more lax eating day for me. What is it about a weigh-in that makes it seem like you can let your hair down and eat a little more loosely? Just one of those things.... I don't always do it, but sometimes if I have been craving or wanting a certain food all week, I keep telling myself "if you still want it on Sunday, THEN you can have it." Often, I don't even want it by Sunday. Sometimes I do, though. And it is so lame sometimes, because I want some certain food *even though* I know I will pay a price in lower energy or joint pain or feeling bloated. I wish that weren't true; I wish I just always preferred feeling great to eating a sandwich, but I don't. Not in that moment. Not always. I am much, much better at saying no than I used to be, but I do sometimes have a lax Sunday.

Today I did not count all my calories, either. I had no way of knowing how many calories was in that Cuban panini sandwich I had for dinner. But the nice thing about having that one food is that it made is easy to turn down all the chips, juice, cake, and snacks at a birthday party I went to earlier. A lax day doesn't mean I eat a ton of junk or binge on everything in sight. It just means I have something I usually wouldn't.

I have my reservations about doing that kind of thing. Some people call it a "cheat meal" and plan for it every week, but I don't see it that way. I just use it as a delay tactic for all the things I crave during the week. Maybe it's a good tactic. Maybe it's not. Would it be better to *never* eat something that is not on plan? There is no way this sandwich would ever be "on plan" for me because the calories are unknown, unless I took it home and dissected it, weighing each ingredient and adding them up. Even then I have no way of assuring an accurate calories-per-gram for the various ingredients. So it was either wait til Sunday and just eat it with a moderate breakfast and lunch, or never eat it at all. I suppose not eating it at all would be better. But after awhile, historically I get burned out when I feel deprived, and I am trying to avoid that now.

So I weigh 218, same as I weighed 3 weeks ago but up 4 pounds from 214 last week.

25 comments:

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

I don't see it as a problem as long at you don't plan for it every week. I have a friend who weighs in and the rest of her day is a cheat day. Not good. I will allow myself to have a treat every once in a while after I weigh-in, but it doesn't happen all the time. I think that allowing yourself to have something can actually help you in the long run. It helps keep food from becoming your enemy.

skinnyhollie said...

I put the same question out there on Facebook today... Is a "cheat" day ok? Is it okay to go let up on your plan on one day per week.

I have a weekly breakfast "date" on Sunday mornings, and I really didn't want to skip it. We go to Panera and have a bagel and coffee. Well, today I planned it and was okay with it. As the day went on, I also decided that I was going to skip the gym because I am so SORE from really long workouts this week.

But I really struggled with this because it felt "wrong". I have stayed within my calorie allowance today and logged everything, but I still feel bad. But deep down, I am hoping that one day won't kill me.

I can't seem to get this right, but I am trying my best this time!

Hollie (skinnyhollie.com)

Anonymous said...

This is what I do when I have an "unknown" food item: I look up various calorie counts online (in your panini example, I would find restaurants that have a similar sandwich, or MyPlate does this for you). There will be a calorie range, depending on exactly what your sandwich was like. I always choose a higher calorie total so I will be erring on the side that will not hurt my health efforts. Then it goes into the daily calorie budget as usual, the same as a "known" food item.

I won't get the calorie count exactly right, but it will be close enough not to affect my results over time. This way I still have accountability even when I eat something which may be off my usual "plan".

Anonymous said...

I do carbs adlib about two days every month to six weeks. Keeps the thyroid humming. It also reminds me why I eat the way I do most of the time.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people do very well doing this but for me a sandwich like this could easily erase any progress I'd made during the week. I'm a very slow loser and have to fight for every pound!

MargieAnne said...

For me the word 'cheat' says it all. Who wants to be a cheat?

Delayed desires are quite different. There is a self imposed discipline involved.

I think you have a good attitude and handle your desires well. Considering you had a difficult relationship with food this strategy makes perfect sense.

Blessings

Diandra said...

Since I do not have a plan with "off limits" food, I do not have cheat meals. I try to stay within my calorie limits (1400 plus extra from exercise, if I need), and I try to eat healthy, but there is nothing that would be "forbidden" to me, and nothing my body does not tolerate. Guess I am a lucky girl...

MizFit said...

I like that phrasing too "something I usually wouldnt"

Jac said...

I think it's probably a good idea to allow yourself something special from time to time, so you don't get that panicky "I CAN NEVER HAVE IT AGAIN!" feeling.

On the other hand, I do think there's a real danger in calling it a "cheat" meal/food. Cheating has moral implications, and the sooner we can stop moralizing our food choices, the sooner we can begin to heal.

Anonymous said...

If you can have the occasional off-plan item without derailing, that's great! I don't think it works for me. What usually happens is I have some wheat and get away with it and then a little bit slips in here and there until eventually I realize that I'm eating it regularly again. And it's so much harder to get off it than it is to just stay off it.

But that's me. Maybe you can manage to keep a Sunday treat compartmentalized from the rest of the week. If so, it'll be a great model for maintenance, so that the occasional item doesn't send you into a tailspin and back to regaining mode.

I'd lost 30 pounds once doing low-carb and at my birthday party gave in to pressure to eat a homemade white roll. And that was the slippery slope. I regained every pound.

Not saying it's inevitable but it's sure a risk for me.

Arabella

CatherineMarie said...

You are learning how to "be" with food. and how to eat like a normal person... and THAT is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

Eventually you will be happy with half.. or a third, and that is fine too...

Vickie said...

I think this can be an effective tool IF, IF, IF, IF you can keep it at one serving of one thing. And it is not very often.

I know someone who did this with ONE donut at work, every other Friday (I think it was a work thing). I know someone who did it with a fudgesicle every evening (that is pushing it in my opinion).

Your sandwich was probably loaded with sodium.

I can actually picture building the taste of that sandwich with low sodium sliced meat from deli, small amount of low fat cheese and lightly steamed zucchini as the bun. Grilled (lightly sprayed pan add water if needed) onion and mustard (yellow mustard goes a long way for me, I love it and use it to replace mayo in things like this and also tuna salad) would be great too.

LHA said...

I also use the "delayed gratification" tactic when I want something that is too high calorie/carb too eat every day and I think it works well. It is a real victory for me to wait to eat something, to eat it in a moderate sensible amount, and to NOT feel guilty for eating it. In fact, I really ENJOY it when I eat it, I am usually glad I ate it, and I make sure to go back to my regular eating plan right afterward. It has helped me lose weight and keep it off. This works for me and I hope it will for you too.

Jewels said...

Lynn, have you read anything (The Zone, Protein Power, etc.) that really explains the insulin mechanism? I honestly think it is a very personal thing - what (carbs) can I tolerate and not get an insulin response? There's a number and then there's also certain types that seem to trigger it, no matter how few you eat - but it seems to vary person to person.

Theresa said...

Progress would be eating half the paninni and sharing the other half with someone else and enjoying a large crisp salad beside that half sandwich. :) This is the best of both worlds, lots of good restaurants offer a half sandwich with soup or salad. I wouldn't know where to even start calorie counting that! It's so difficult. Try to make the rest of the week low sodium, I find that most stuff I shouldn't eat has a ton of salt, but in my mind cutting salt seems easier than cutting fat or sugar ( I know, crazy but true!)
Theresa

Margaret said...

I go out to lunch once a week with my sister and don't consider it cheating. I'm on maintenance and it hasn't made me re-gain.

Best!
Margaret

Holly A. said...

I always go full steam ahead into restrictive diets and felt guilty when I would fall off plan. So guilty that I eventually would fall off and stay off. So I'm really glad to see that you're taking some leeway and sticking with it. That's what really works for me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have a different approach. I do reward meals, after a certain loss on the scale. I would have concerns about looking for an off-plan item if I'd barely been on plan for a week, and had such a gain in that time. JMO.

Anonymous said...

what happened to your other post?

Anonymous said...

This is slightly off the topic, but have you ever had your metabolism tested in a lab? I just had mine done today, and my bmr came back at 1140. This was about 100-200 calories less than a I thought based on online calculators, and it means eating 1350-1550 calories a day just for maintenance. It was very useful to know...even if a bit depressing. But maybe the test would give you a solid number to aim for?

Anonymous said...

I think that is such a great idea about saving it for Sunday! I'm going to try that. A similar thing I do to prevent snacking at night is to remind myself that my yummy breakfast is around the corner. Thank you for sharing this strategy!!

Maggie said...

I really like the idea of waiting until Sunday. Instead of instant gratification and giving in, you are waiting to see if you really want it x amount of days later.

I too will start that and see if it works for me too.

I enjoy reading your blog.

Smile Bunches!

Amy said...

Eating a treat every now and then will keep you sane. If you feel deprived all the time you will binge at some point. Also, eating something that has a different fat/carb/protein ratio that you are used to can really rev your metabolism.
Like the saying goes, Moderation in everything, including moderation!

Lori said...

Lyn,
I think it is a great delay tactic.

I suffer with the same issue of wanting to 'cheat' after I weigh. I feel like I have plenty of time to recover from the bad choices. That is the main reason, I weigh every single day. It works for me.
I know it doesn't work for everyone.
Lori

Lyn said...

Thanks for the input all!

Anonymous, not sure what "other post" you mean? None were deleted that I can see.