Cheat Day Diet
When I was in the middle of a year-long plateau (yeah, I didn’t lose weight for a year), I tried everything to break through. I exercised more, I ate less, I went to the doctor because I knew it had to be my thyroid (it wasn’t). At one point I came across a book that promoted cheat days. I’d love to talk about my experience with them.
I gleefully read the book thinking I was going to eat anything and everything I wanted and still lose weight. That’s what the book told me, so I believed it. It talked about giving yourself a break from the monotony of dieting and resetting your metabolism. It made sense.
I hadn’t reached the point in my weight loss journey where I began to understand that I wasn’t dieting, I was changing my habits forever. I still believed that “cheating” was bad and this book was going to show me how I could be “bad” and still lose weight.
Now I know how to be “bad”. I used to binge on Pop-Tarts and Pepsi. I could go through nearly a box of Pop-Tarts and a 2 liter of soda a day while I mindlessly watched television. The thought of being “bad” again scared me, yet I wanted to eat without restraint.
So, I gave a “cheat day diet” a try. I ate healthy for 6 days of the week and on the 7th – lookout! I don’t remember what all I ate, since it has been several years ago, however I can assure you there was chocolate, flour, sugar, salt, and fat involved. I loved every minute of it. I was so happy and glad to be on the “cheat day diet”.
Until I stepped on the scale.
Somehow eating everything and anything on my cheat day did not help me to lose weight. I couldn’t believe it. I had followed the diet to the letter and I had gained weight. One month of my weight loss journey down the drain!
But it wasn’t down the drain, it was a learning experience for me. It taught me that I need to budget my calories. I can “cheat”, if that’s what you want to call it. I can have cake, I just need to put it into my calorie budget. I can have it everyday if I want and budget for it, but since I have other goals like lowering my body fat and keeping my heart healthy, I don’t have it everyday. When I do have it, I don’t feel like I’m cheating, I am just living normally.
The “cheat day diet” showed me that I can “diet” and restrict calories for 6 days and have a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day (3,000 – 6,000 calories total), but on “cheat day”, I can eat that and more.
Sonic french toast sticks + syrup + large OJ = 820 calories
Big Mac Meal = 1350 calories
I’m going to have a chocolate chip cookie from McD’s if I’m eating there. 160 calories each and I probably ate 1 1/2 (had to share with hubby)
Cookies = 240 calories
Seafood and Crab sub = 820 + 330 calories for mayo = 1150 calories
Candy bar – king size I’m sure – 440 calories
Total = 4,000
That’s not including any beverage except OJ. The one thing I swore off completely because of my raging addiction was soda – of any kind – diet, regular or natural. However, I was probably drinking sweet tea at the time, so you can safely add several hundred more calories to that total.
That’s why a “cheat day diet” doesn’t work for me. If I was restricting my self for 6 days and had a 3,000 calorie deficit, well, I completely erased it on day 7 with a fast food frenzy. Even if I had refrained from cookies and a candy bar, it still would have eradicated my deficit and the week of “dieting” was null.
Some people think a “cheat meal” is the way to go. For me, it isn’t. If I think in black and white terms, “cheating” or “being good”, then I start playing those dieting mind games again. I refuse.
I am eating healthy for the rest of my life – God willing. Healthy to me means, moderation. I will eat cake in moderation. I will eat cookies and candy – in moderation. I will not beat myself up. I will budget for it, just like I budget for a great new purse.
So, cheat days don’t work for me, but I know they work for some. I would love to hear from you. What do you think about cheat days? Do you use them?
Like what you read? Read more about my 125lb weight loss