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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What NOT To Do When You Blow It and
Reassessing That "Cheat Days" Thing

Both JC and Lyn have some advice for those days when we simply blow it--scarf down the three or four slices of pizza, attack the brownies, go for the supersized burger meal, go mad with the chips and nacho cheese, etc.

Do not say, "Oh, well, I blew it. Might as well have X, Y, and Z, too."

JC wants you to get rid of the negative language. Don't even think, "I blew it!"

Lyn wants you to remember that every bite counts, even the ones AFTER the occasion of "blowing it." A slip is not a license to keep slipping. And a cheat day may sabotage you by giving you that very sense of "Well, I might as well as..."

I think both make good points. We always have to analyze our verbiage/mental script. If saying "I blew it" becomes a magic chant that lets us go binge worse or keeps us from stopping a bad choice, then it must be removed.

And if a cheat day becomes an excuse to blow all the week's progress, then a cheat day is NOT an aid to weight loss. I have seen a blogger here and there use a cheat day as an excuse to just go hog wild and eat everything in sight. That's not the purpose of cheat days, as I understand them. It's a day to enjoy a particular meal or treat that we'd normally eschew. Let's say, instead of a plain roasted sweet potato, we go for the sweet potato casserole. Or instead of the grilled chicken, we go for the chicken cordon bleu. And yet, always with an eye to keeping the rest in check.

But cheat days do tend to become the ultra feast--the fried foods, the shake, the chocolate cake, the gravy, the extra cheese, the garlic rolls with extra oil. In other words, instead of being a way to hold off on a daily donut by allowing oneself a donut once a week or once a month, it becomes a day to give into every indulgence.

That can't possibly help. It just feeds the binge monster.

If you have a cheat day, and it's not working for you (ie, it's sabotaging you), try a cheat meal or a cheat ITEM in a meal. So, you have the healthful meals on a Saturday, but you allow yourself one indulgence (fries with your grilled chicken, or full fat dressing on your salad, or cookies instead of sugar free jello.) That can work. :)

Hey, we all gotta find what will ultimately work for us. But keep an eye on if these two things--language and cheat days--are actually an obstacle you need to knock down.

I can't do cheat days. I am someone who will go hog wild. Whenever I managed to lose a big chunk of weight in the past, it was by incorporating some kind of treat I looked forward to DAILY, but always a smaller portion or a less-fat/no-sugar option. I can't go a week without a treat; I can't say "CHEAT DAY!" either. It's a middle ground for me.

On the other hand, saying "I blew it" is not a trigger for me the way it's for some. Saying, "I blew it" is usually followed by, "What can I eat for my next meal that takes me back on a better path?"

Neither changing our verbiage nor stopping a slip is easy. But they are alway part of a lifelong weight correction plan.


julie said...

I agree with you on the occasional indulgence, rather than a "cheat day". I enjoy the occasional burger, or chocolate cookie, or once a week burrito. Sometimes I have guests who want beer and pizza, or something else I wouldn't go for on my own. I am much happier when I can enjoy these occasions without freaking out or beating myself up. It keeps me sane, and I think more than half this battle is keeping myself sane and on track, not self-sabotaging.

Vickie said...

really good posting.

I can't do hogwild food things either - it escalates. But I can occassionally "trade" if I plan for it.

and if the occassional unplanned thing happens - I do not beat myself up and AM able to move back to my path in the next moment.

I think that so many people do not step back to see if things are WORKING for them.

Is what I am doing getting me on down my path to where I want to live.

kilax said...

Some of my friends use cheat days and are encouraging me to do the same, but I would also go hog wild. I have usually 1 or 2 fun meals on the weekend, and sometimes a piece of chocolate a few times during the week!

Kimberly said...

Hi. I commented on Lyn's blog and have been lurking on your's for a while. I agree with you that if the cheat day or food is something that triggers over-indulgence then that has to stop. For instance, I can't snack. The 100 calorie packs of whatever or a 1/2 cup of ice cream are out of me. Those are the triggers that send me running straight for the fridge to scarf down everything in sight.

But I do have cheat days (on the weekends). I manage it quite well too. I have one really good meal of something I would want were I not on a diet. But the twist is that the meal cannot go over the number of points I am supposed to eat on WW. I eat very healthy during the week, having switched to a lacto-vegetarian diet. But on Saturday and Sunday I have a veggie style meal that seems like I am cheating. It works for me. I have the meal and then can go about my day satisfied.

JC said...

Great post and so well put. I don't do well with cheat days either. I do much better working my treats into my week that way I don't feel deprived. I don't do well with deprivation. I love the point that what works for some may not work for others and this s a lifelong process. What worked for me last year (having a binge meal after a weigh in) may not cut it anymore. I don't even want to binge anymore because I don't want to deal with the consquences.

The Better Idiot said...

I can't do 'cheat days', it just leads to a day long binge, which in turn leads to the next day being a binge and so on. I know it's not really healthy to be all or nothing, but I don;t have the control yet to 'loosen the reigns' so to speak.