Sunday, February 14, 2016

Rethinking, Replanning and Revisions... All About "Cheat Days" and More

Every plan, good or bad, can use revisions. Sometimes you need to step back and take a look at what you planned to do and see if it's really what you want and how you wanted to do it.

Basically this all comes back to cheat days and the 30-day non-cheating thing. Honestly, I think I made a mistake there so I've been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of going back and reading old posts and this is where I am now.

The whole idea of a cheat day came about because, in all honesty, dieting and "changing your lifestyle" is hard. If it were easy, anyone could do it but it is hard. Getting through every day while temptation calls out your name is hard. Passing up foods you absolutely love is hard. Giving up certain foods is hard. But having that once a week cheat day allowed me to get through the hard days by thinking "Thursday is coming and you can have one small yummy thing. You can make it through today because Thursday IS coming."

And what I did by taking away the cheat days was to also take away my day to look forward too and the thoughts that kept me going. And maybe those thoughts shouldn't keep me going but they do and it is what it is so I am bringing that day back as of this coming week.

But, with bringing back that day, I was still facing the same issue that I faced when I talked about giving it up. My cheat snack turned into a cheat day turned into a cheat binge and then into a 2-day cheat binge and I had to end it. So in the last few days I've sat back and thought about how I could end everything getting out of control while still keeping the basic premise of something small to enjoy that one day a week.

And I figured out where I went wrong...

1) I stopped getting one thing and started getting two, then three, then four and so on.

2) I didn't plan ahead... just grabbed whatever looked good in the store and, trust me, EVERYTHING looked good!

3) My biggest downfall.. I stopped tracking the cheat food which opened up the door to saying... "hey, I'm not tracking it anyway so I can eat as much of it as I want!" I know that's a reaction that really doesn't make sense but that's how my brain works. If no one can see how much I ate, did I really eat it all?

4) I would just shovel in and gulp down the food. I would barely taste it and barely enjoy it and because there was so much of it I would just keep eating and eating until it was gone. Even if my stomach hurt and I felt like throwing up from all that crap I would keep going because it was there in front of me.

5) I let one day extend into two just because I had something left over.

6) I turned that one left over snack the second day into a full day binge because "I already ruined today so why not keep going."

So here is how I am changing things...

1) I get ONE small cheat snack. Not a meal, not a day, not a binge. One cheat snack. Yes, if I want I can have one of those Little Debbie snack fudge cakes. Not the whole box but one serving. That's it. And if I know I will eat the box it if it's in the house then I do not bring it into the house!

2) Plan ahead. What will I buy? Choose a couple of different things and see what the store has available. Buy just one thing. If I want both, buy one for this week's cheat and keep the other in mind for next week's, but do not buy them both!

3) Track, track, track. The food must be tracked and entered into My Fitness Pal before it ever makes it into my mouth. If I don't track it then I don't eat it.

4) Take small bites and savor the food. Really taste it and really enjoy it. Don't just gulp it down but really savor it. Make it worth the extra calories and carbs.

5) One snack. No extending into two snack. No extending into two days. One day, one snack, that's it!

6) If there is something left over, it's still off limits to me the following day and if I cant handle the thought of that then I need to make sure the kids eat it while I'm at work or I hide it in the big freezer or something. If I know I'll eat it if I see it then it needs to be somewhere where I won't see it. And if I do give in and eat it (which I will hopefully not but I have to be ready for anything) that does NOT open the day for me to eat even more. Eat it, track it and move on.

I've been able to handle a cheat snack before for a long time so I know I can do it. I just need to pay attention to how I'm doing it and keep myself on track. What I'm doing here is not a "diet." I'm not going back to eating the way I used to when I reach my goal weight. This is my life and this is a lifestyle change and, frankly, if this is my life then there has to be a spot for dessert-type food in it. It's worth it to me.

Also, I'm stopping my once a day small piece of chocolate. I could fit it into my calories and macros and I was able to keep it at one piece BUT I was also making poor choices with it. For example, I could have blueberries or a piece of chocolate for the same amount of carbs... guess which one I would choose every single time? Here's a hint... it wasn't the blueberries.

I started to get into the habit of eating the chocolate first, before anything else, and using up macros that could have gone on healthy food so that stops today. I'm obviously not ready for a daily treat but I firmly believe that I can bring back the weekly treat and do okay with it as long as I follow the rules.

So there it is. Everything that's been buzzing around in my head for days and days. I believe I can get this back in control and this is how I want to do it. I'll obviously keep you guys updated because it's something I write about and I'm not going to lie on here about how I do things and what I eat.

I think this is the best decision for me right now so let's go with it and see what happens!!


  1. I think this is really good. I like the way you're considering. I've been regarding this whole weight loss/changing my habits thing, as an experiment. What works, and what doesn't? I ask myself that each week as I review what I accomplished and where I missed the mark. That way I avoid the feeling of, "Well, I already ruined EVERYTHING, so the heck with it!"
    I also am a HUGE fan of tracking what you eat. I write it down in a little notebook and truly, it keeps me honest. I like a cheat meal too but I definitely struggle with it: I'm much more interested in punishing myself by withholding food so that's a mindset I'm trying to move away from.
    Anyway, from where I sit, I think you're making great strides and thanks so much for sharing your journey!

  2. Thank you so much! Have you tried logging things online as well? I use My Fitness Pal and it has been incredible to track everything on it, not just calories but it lets you track 5 other things so I'm watching calories, carbs, protein, fat, fiber and sugar right now. I'd be lost without it and it's free!