"Cheat" Food While Maintaining

So how do cheat meals or cheat days change when maintaining weight instead of losing weight?

While on my diet I felt like i earned my cheat food by running and that as long as I stayed under my diet budget I would be fine. So even on cheat days I tracked calories and didn't eat more than MFP told me. The calorie deficit gave me a sense of security when i treated myself. I thought yes this food is high in fat, but I'm not eatting enough to gain weight. .....

Does this idea still make sense when maintaining? Basically I'm worried that even if I run/lift and stay under a maintaining budget I could still add body fat due to cheat food since the deficit is gone.

So basically is it the food or calories?
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Replies

  • livingleanlivingclean
    livingleanlivingclean Posts: 11,752 Member
    edited May 2015
    What is cheat food? Eat what you like to fit the calorie needs that suit your goals
  • FoxyLifter
    FoxyLifter Posts: 965 Member
    It's the excess calories that will cause you to gain fat, not any particular macro. If you go over on your calories, it doesn't matter if it's from carbs*, fat, or protein.

    *If you have a day where you eat more carbs than normal, but still eat at maintenance, don't worry. It's just water weight and will drop off when you go back to your normal level of carbs.
  • SnuggleSmacks
    SnuggleSmacks Posts: 3,732 Member
    In maintenance, if you want something calorie laden, just eat a bit less before or after to balance it out.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    Pu_239 wrote: »
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    So how do cheat meals or cheat days change when maintaining weight instead of losing weight?

    While on my diet I felt like i earned my cheat food by running and that as long as I stayed under my diet budget I would be fine. So even on cheat days I tracked calories and didn't eat more than MFP told me. The calorie deficit gave me a sense of security when i treated myself. I thought yes this food is high in fat, but I'm not eatting enough to gain weight. .....

    Does this idea still make sense when maintaining? Basically I'm worried that even if I run/lift and stay under a maintaining budget I could still add body fat due to cheat food since the deficit is gone.

    So basically is it the food or calories?

    Depends how you define "cheat'. Are you focusing on specific macros aka a specfic diet, and you want to deviate from that? Lets call this cheat scenerio 1. Or do you just eat your food, and want to go over on calories on some days cheat scenerio 2.

    In scenerio 1, it doesn't matter if your calories are constant.

    scenario 2, you eat a deficit on most days then you make up that deficit by going over your calories.

    Basically my scenario is this: After almost a year of eating at a 500 calorie deficit and running 5 times a week (burning 500-900 calories) I'm used to eatting that amount of food. So now all of a sudden I have an extra 500 calories that I can eat. So basically I'm curious to know how often its ok to spend those 500 calories on something like a cookie or burger without gaining fat. I'm strict at staying under the calorie budget, I just want to make sure thats enough to control the damage.

  • FitForL1fe
    FitForL1fe Posts: 1,872 Member
    bro if you've transitioned to maintenance then you need to recalc your TDEE (or whatever calorie goal you use) and that will let you know how many calories you have to play with over your current "maintenance" goal

    suddenly jumping up 3500 cal a week (if you ate all 500 "extra" each day) would be a large change, you might gain, you might not...so it'd be easier to just start with a new baseline
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    draznyth wrote: »
    bro if you've transitioned to maintenance then you need to recalc your TDEE (or whatever calorie goal you use) and that will let you know how many calories you have to play with over your current "maintenance" goal

    suddenly jumping up 3500 cal a week (if you ate all 500 "extra" each day) would be a large change, you might gain, you might not...so it'd be easier to just start with a new baseline

    I did recalc it, but its just math. You need to cut out 500 calories per day to lose weight and thats what I did, so when I'm done they come back or you keep losing. I agree about adding 3500 calories a week would be a large change and that's why I'm taking it slow. So I guess technically I'm still "transitioning". I'm adding 50-100 calories a week until i find the sweet spot. I'm just being proactive for what happens when I find it
  • FitForL1fe
    FitForL1fe Posts: 1,872 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    draznyth wrote: »
    bro if you've transitioned to maintenance then you need to recalc your TDEE (or whatever calorie goal you use) and that will let you know how many calories you have to play with over your current "maintenance" goal

    suddenly jumping up 3500 cal a week (if you ate all 500 "extra" each day) would be a large change, you might gain, you might not...so it'd be easier to just start with a new baseline

    I did recalc it, but its just math. You need to cut out 500 calories per day to lose weight and thats what I did, so when I'm done they come back or you keep losing. I agree about adding 3500 calories a week would be a large change and that's why I'm taking it slow. So I guess technically I'm still "transitioning". I'm adding 50-100 calories a week until i find the sweet spot. I'm just being proactive for what happens when I find it

    that sounds like the best approach if you're sticking with the same numbers, just keep going up slowly.

    yeah if you cut out 500 a day (3500/week), that's a projected loss of 1 lb/week. but eventually (after weight loss) your RMR will drop which is where the recalc comes in. but if you are worried then just keep ramping it up at a steady pace.

    and to your original question: it's always the calories. protein shake, burger, ice cream, whatever. doesn't matter. just the calories.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,098 Member
    Don't think of your macros as a %, hit the number of grams you need for your weight in protein and fat and fill with carbs. You are over thinking the whole "cheat" thing. There really isn't a cheat, fill your macros and like you mentioned slowly add cals until you find your real maintenance. Just because you eat a cookie a day more than you did last week when you were near a 500 deficit, doesn't equate to you gaining fat.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    draznyth wrote: »
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    draznyth wrote: »
    bro if you've transitioned to maintenance then you need to recalc your TDEE (or whatever calorie goal you use) and that will let you know how many calories you have to play with over your current "maintenance" goal

    suddenly jumping up 3500 cal a week (if you ate all 500 "extra" each day) would be a large change, you might gain, you might not...so it'd be easier to just start with a new baseline

    I did recalc it, but its just math. You need to cut out 500 calories per day to lose weight and thats what I did, so when I'm done they come back or you keep losing. I agree about adding 3500 calories a week would be a large change and that's why I'm taking it slow. So I guess technically I'm still "transitioning". I'm adding 50-100 calories a week until i find the sweet spot. I'm just being proactive for what happens when I find it

    that sounds like the best approach if you're sticking with the same numbers, just keep going up slowly.

    yeah if you cut out 500 a day (3500/week), that's a projected loss of 1 lb/week. but eventually (after weight loss) your RMR will drop which is where the recalc comes in. but if you are worried then just keep ramping it up at a steady pace.

    and to your original question: it's always the calories. protein shake, burger, ice cream, whatever. doesn't matter. just the calories.

    Yea, I just follow MFP, its gotten me this far. Thanks for your input.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    Alright thank you all for your input, I feel much more relaxed now.
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    Cheat meals don't work. While maintaining, overeating accumulates. At some point, you would have to restrict your diet to make up for it. This is different from when you are losing weight because your normal state during weight loss is to be eating at a deficit and a cheat meal just slows down the progress.

    But if you want a cookie, go have a cookie. You shouldn't make sweets your meal, since you need more nutrition than that, but eating a cookie while staying within your calorie goal isn't cheating.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    Cheat meals don't work. .

    I'm afraid I must disagree. I lost 40 lbs with cheat meals. I cut them out and my weight loss stopped. I put them back in and lost another 16.

  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,571 Member
    I don't understand the concept of a 'cheat' meal. I hit my weekly calorie goals and eat whatever I want - which is normally pretty healthy stuff. But a piece of cake or pizza or whatever . . . Life is too short to eat bad food. I always try to make every bite I put in my mouth delicious.

    The important thing to remember about going over your calories when maintaining is that when you're at a deficit extra calories bring you up to maintenance. In maintenance they make you gain weight.

    Just saying.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Pu_239 wrote: »
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    So how do cheat meals or cheat days change when maintaining weight instead of losing weight?

    While on my diet I felt like i earned my cheat food by running and that as long as I stayed under my diet budget I would be fine. So even on cheat days I tracked calories and didn't eat more than MFP told me. The calorie deficit gave me a sense of security when i treated myself. I thought yes this food is high in fat, but I'm not eatting enough to gain weight. .....

    Does this idea still make sense when maintaining? Basically I'm worried that even if I run/lift and stay under a maintaining budget I could still add body fat due to cheat food since the deficit is gone.

    So basically is it the food or calories?

    Depends how you define "cheat'. Are you focusing on specific macros aka a specfic diet, and you want to deviate from that? Lets call this cheat scenerio 1. Or do you just eat your food, and want to go over on calories on some days cheat scenerio 2.

    In scenerio 1, it doesn't matter if your calories are constant.

    scenario 2, you eat a deficit on most days then you make up that deficit by going over your calories.

    Basically my scenario is this: After almost a year of eating at a 500 calorie deficit and running 5 times a week (burning 500-900 calories) I'm used to eatting that amount of food. So now all of a sudden I have an extra 500 calories that I can eat. So basically I'm curious to know how often its ok to spend those 500 calories on something like a cookie or burger without gaining fat. I'm strict at staying under the calorie budget, I just want to make sure thats enough to control the damage.

    you don't gain fat from any particular food...you gain fat from consuming more energy (calories) than you require to maintain.

    hit your calorie targets and forget all the other nonsense...rock your nutrition and have a *kitten* cookie.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    [/quote]

    have a *kitten* cookie.[/quote]

    Aye aye sir lol
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Cheat meals don't work. .

    I'm afraid I must disagree. I lost 40 lbs with cheat meals. I cut them out and my weight loss stopped. I put them back in and lost another 16.

    Well, sure, but you were losing weight. When you are maintaining, excess calories accumulate.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Cheat meals don't work. .

    I'm afraid I must disagree. I lost 40 lbs with cheat meals. I cut them out and my weight loss stopped. I put them back in and lost another 16.

    Well, sure, but you were losing weight. When you are maintaining, excess calories accumulate.

    ...... How many times did I say i won't go over my budget ...
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Cheat meals don't work. .

    I'm afraid I must disagree. I lost 40 lbs with cheat meals. I cut them out and my weight loss stopped. I put them back in and lost another 16.

    Well, sure, but you were losing weight. When you are maintaining, excess calories accumulate.

    ...... How many times did I say i won't go over my budget ...

    How should I know?

    It isn't actually a "cheat" meal if you aren't going over your budget.
  • Bizurke51
    Bizurke51 Posts: 190 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    Cheat meals don't work. .

    I'm afraid I must disagree. I lost 40 lbs with cheat meals. I cut them out and my weight loss stopped. I put them back in and lost another 16.

    Well, sure, but you were losing weight. When you are maintaining, excess calories accumulate.

    ...... How many times did I say i won't go over my budget ...

    How should I know?

    It isn't actually a "cheat" meal if you aren't going over your budget.

    Besides reading my posts in this thread?