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Cheat Meal - how often / how much?

mw00087mw00087 Member, Premium Posts: 45 Member Member, Premium Posts: 45 Member
Hey everyone!

Just wanted to see if you guys have a cheat meal? I know there is a lot of discussion about whether a cheat meal is a good bad thing, and whether or not to call it a cheat meal as that has negative connotations.

That aside, for those of you that have a cheat meal:

Do you go all out and have whatever you want?
Do you keep it within a specific calorie range?
Do you log it?

Happy tracking! :)


  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 221 Member Member Posts: 221 Member
    Who are you cheating?

    So I have treats, not cheats, which for me is a very occasional but planned day where I will treat myself to something I can not trust myself to have routinely in house - bread, cheese and chocolate being favourites. I do not log the day and the next day I just carry back on with my normal routine.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,310 Member Member Posts: 24,310 Member
    I have some days when I may decide to go over my calorie goal (a special occasion, for example, or a chance to try a food I don't usually have). But the calories still count. I log them, because a "cheat day" is just a mental construct that is meaningless to my body.
  • AndreaTamiraAndreaTamira Member, Premium Posts: 109 Member Member, Premium Posts: 109 Member
    Sometimes (about ones a month or so) I just randomly decide "I won't care too much about how much I am over in calories today."

    Even those days, though, I log everything. It would be weird to know I was definitely over that day, but not by how much.
  • Diatonic12Diatonic12 Member Posts: 11,676 Member Member Posts: 11,676 Member
    No cheat meals that might lead to cheat days resulting in cheat months. That's what brought me here in the first place. I eat what I want every single day and track my data points. I'm not married to my food so I don't have to cheat on it. ;)
  • corinasue1143corinasue1143 Member Posts: 4,142 Member Member Posts: 4,142 Member
    I went to a VERY GOOD dietician several years ago who helped me a lot. She told me one cheat meal a week. Not because once a week is right, but because I needed to learn how to control it. I needed to learn how to make it one meal, then right back to the diet. She told me to think about it hard before I had my cheat meal. You could easily wipe out a weeks worth of deficit and more in one meal, so you don’t want to go too wild. Not a rule, just a serious thought.
    When I started, I aimed at 400 calories/meal. I’m from the south and love my fried chicken. More than 1/2 my cheat meals were fried chicken dinners. As I progressed, I learned how to work in chicken dinners, and how to work in calories from other treats without a cheat meal.
    Nowadays, yes, I have an occasional cheat meal, mostly eating at someone else’s house, not going wild, just not obsessing about how something was prepared, etc. Or a meal at a mom and pop restaurant with no calories listed and I don’t care. I eat reasonably, and it doesn’t matter how many calories.
    So mostly, I’m not cheating on food, I’m cheating on logging accurately. I’m okay with that.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,073 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,073 Member
    While I was losing weight, I logged everything, even if I had to estimate, because I wanted the most complete personal experience data I could get, in order to accurately estimate my true (not calculator estimated) calorie needs.

    Then, as now (in year 5+ of maintenance), most days I ate within my calorie goal (say +/- 50 calories mostly), a few days I ate a little more or less (like maintenance calories at the higher end days, say), and every once in a while, I would eat up to twice my maintenance calories, or even a bit more (usually holidays or other special occasions, but sometimes just because I wanted to).

    While losing, I logged it all. Now - after the 5+ years of practice - I don't bother logging some days, when they'd be annoying/less accurate to estimate, because I realize it doesn't matter in the big picture, where I'm watching the scale and thinking about what's good for me long term.

    None of those things, even days at twice or more my maintenance calories, are "cheating" in my world. It's just food, not some kind of melodrama about sin and redemption. In the long run, the amount I eat needs to balance out with the amount I burn via activity, or I'll regain. If someone's trying to lose, the average intake has to be less than the burn from activity. It's pretty simple, math-wise.

    If it helps you (psychologically or physically) to eat a little more some days and a little less other days, or to take a day or two at current maintenance calories once or twice a week, or have a big ol' calorie blow-out on the rare occasion, then do that. As long as you average a calorie intake below current maintenance calories, you'll lose weight. The loss rate depends on how far you average below current maintenance calories.

    If you log it, the calorie math will give you a decent idea whether it's going to delay reaching goal weight, and if so by how much. That will give you clues about whether a day over calorie goal was worth it to you personally, or not.
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,528 Member Member Posts: 15,528 Member
    I have never planned cheat days. I will typically decide not to worry about my calorie goal on special occasions, I'd guess 5 or 6 days a year. I still attempt to log it after the fact just to have a record, but I don't sweat it.

    What worked better for me was to choose a slower pace of weight loss and fit in foods I loved every day. Personally I think that's generally the best (and easiest to transition into maintenance) way to go :blush: but that is certainly a topic of disagreement.
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 47 Member Member Posts: 47 Member
    Don'cha just hate that term 'cheat day?!' :D

    I don't plan specific cheat days - but there are days when I know my calorie count is going to exceed my goal of 1200. I don't sweat it since it usually involves a single meal out or a higher calorie meal I simply decide I want that day. The important thing is that I keep it to ONE meal and don't let it become an excuse to start eating everything in sight or to eat anything after 6PM.

  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,907 Member Member Posts: 5,907 Member
    When I was losing, I logged everything, but I had one day a week, usually one when I had a restaurant meal at a good restaurant planned, when I would eat at maintenance and also not worry if I logged in a sloppier way than usual (sometimes I would try to estimate the restaurant meal, sometimes I would quick add what seemed like a reasonable number). I banked cals for this, however, by saving some of my workout cals or having a slightly lower deficit on the other days. I liked it, since it gave me a sense of how much food maintenance was, and it also let me have one day a week when I could fit in whatever I liked (just not unlimited amounts of whatever).
  • jwonderrjwonderr Member, Premium Posts: 19 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19 Member
    I started off by having dessert for breakfast pretty much every day, but only eating a quarter of what I would usually eat. I know they say that it spikes your blood sugar but I didn't have any problems. I've also heard that if you eat your dessert for breakfast you'll be less likely to eat junk throughout the day. You get your craving out of the way and burn the calories from the dessert as the day goes by. I see it as a little reward for working so hard the previous day:)

    After a few weeks I only ate dessert 2-3 times a week but increased the amount to 1/2 of a usual serving.
    Then to once a week but 3/4 of a serving.
    Then I would moderate depending on my cravings until I cut back more.

    (But I was only eating 1/2 portions of meals)
  • LunaTheFatCatLunaTheFatCat Member Posts: 166 Member Member Posts: 166 Member
    I'm not actually sure what a cheat meal is? Is that where you go all out and don't log maybe?

    If that's the definition then I don't have them. Don't get me wrong I'm not exactly holier than thou, we had a take-away on Sunday, but I would make that fit in my daily allowance (or I might go over a bit at times, but nothing crazy).
  • nighthawk584nighthawk584 Member Posts: 1,978 Member Member Posts: 1,978 Member
    I have learned over my journey that there is no such thing as a cheat meal. Staying within my allotted calories is the primary focus. Once I got this through my head, I was much happier and it kept me away from severe binging.
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