Treating yourself

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christina6198
christina6198 Posts: 6 Member
edited January 2021 in Food and Nutrition
Do any of you have one day a week where you allow yourself to go over your calories, just for a break and treat and are still able to see a loss on the scale? When I was on WW they had ‘allowance points’ that allowed you to have the occasional treat without worrying about points, and you’d still loose weight. Any of you have a treat day and what progress are you still able to see?

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  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,442 Member
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    I eat at maintenance calories on the weekend. So, approximately 1800 calories weekdays and 2300 calories weekends. I can fit in a treat or adult beverage. It helps keep me on track.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,179 Member
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    I eat treats every day, within my calorie goal. I also go over my calorie goal occasionally, as long as I'm still on target on average on a weekly basis. It hasn't stopped me from losing 50+ lbs.

    Depending on the weight loss rate you've selected, you have a margin of minimum 250 calories (at the slowest rate) up to 1000 calories (at 2lbs loss per week) per day for staying in a deficit and therefore losing weight.
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,627 Member
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    i eat sweets and treats all week. i make room in my calories for it.

    the problem with an 'off' day is that for many, they can totally undo the deficit they had during the week.

    if I have a random day where I am over my calories, for whatever reason, I really don't sweat it, especially if I am still under maintenance.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,874 Member
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    Do any of you have one day a week where you allow yourself to go over your calories, just for a break and treat and are still able to see a loss on the scale? When I was on WW they had ‘allowance points’ that allowed you to have the occasional treat without worrying about points, and you’d still loose weight. Any of you have a treat day and what progress are you still able to see?

    Your average overall calorie deficit over time is what is going to determine your rate of loss...not any one particular day. Also remember that your calorie target is a deficit of calories...often a large one depending on what you selected as your rate of loss target...so going over often means you're still in a deficit that day depending on how much over.

    Keep in mind that when you "treat" yourself, it is more calories and more food, and often higher in sodium and carbs than you may normally be eating...more food and higher sodium and carbs = more digestive waste in your system and water retention, all of which will show up on the scale...so don't get all bummed when you step on the scale and it shows you've gained or not lost weight.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,053 Member
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    I did this for many years, and it worked for me. What works better for me now is a more even intake, but lots of people "bank" calories for the weekend. E.g. Eat 100 under your goal for 6 days then 600 calories over your goal on the 7th day, or some variation of that. MFP nutrition tab on the app shows day views and week views. A lot of people have success working with a weekly goal vs. trying to have every day be the same.

    To your question about whether people lost weight with this arrangement, yes. I've been maintaining many years, and when my weight creeps up 5 lbs I eat in a deficit for 10 weeks to lose 5 lbs. And I can still lose weight just as expected when banking calories. As cwolfman says, fat loss depends on your overall intake over time.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,437 Member
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    Do any of you have one day a week where you allow yourself to go over your calories, just for a break and treat and are still able to see a loss on the scale? When I was on WW they had ‘allowance points’ that allowed you to have the occasional treat without worrying about points, and you’d still loose weight. Any of you have a treat day and what progress are you still able to see?

    As ahoym8 says, you can handle your calories that same way, if you like: Save up "allowance calories" during the week, and on your bigger day, eat those plus the regular daily calories on your special day (a.k.a. "calorie banking", around here).

    Personally, I logged everything while I was losing weight (I wanted to accumulate complete, good-quality data for estimating my own calorie needs as accurately as possible, even though I had to estimate sometimes). Even while losing, I had some high days, days over goal, sometimes over maintenance.

    It's useful, I think, to know what your current maintenance calories are, as you go along. Any day you eat under that level, you're netting a loss (small or large). It may not show up on the scale quickly, especially if there are lots of "very small loss" days. Anytime you eat over the maintenance level, you're netting a gain that day.

    Over the course of time, as others have said, what matters is how the totality of your days add up. Bodies don't reset at midnight.

    It's helpful, IMO, not to try to lose at a crazy-fast rate, so that daily eating can be reasonably satisfying, and allow for some treats routinely. (You might want to think about how you're going to want to structure your eating, once you reach goal weight, and want to stay at that weight.)

    For me, while losing, it's best not to add a bunch of arbitrary rules about which things are "diet foods" and which things are "treat foods". I want to hit my calorie goal, get good nutrition, eat tasty things. Many calorie-efficient, nutritious things are tasty. But I can fit in some less nutrient-dense, higher calorie items purely for enjoyment, too, especially if I don't set a punitively low calorie goal (shooting for ultra-fast loss). If I know where I am versus my maintenance calories, and how much of a deficit I've been running recently, I can make thoughtful decisions about whether it's worthwhile to eat over goal or over maintenance on a particular day.

    Personally, in that kind of context, I don't see the point of a regularly-scheduled, somewhat frequent big eating day (such as weekly). I'd prefer to make conscious decisions to eat over goal on specific occasions when I have what I think are good reasons: Big social event, out-of-town friends coming in for dinner, holiday, birthday, whatever. As long as I don't eat over maintenance very often (often enough to wipe out my cumulative deficit), I'll lose weight.
    That's just my psychological makeup, though: Weekly, on a defined schedule, might be perfect for you.

    Personalization of tactics, IMO, is an important success factor.

    For sure, if you decide to do some days with bigger eating, even if below maintenance calories, you'll see the scale jump around more than if you ate the same amount (and mostly the same general foods) every day. If you're under maintenance calories, it's water weight and digestive contents, and will disappear in a few days to a week or two. If you're over maintenance calories, some amount of it might be fat regain. If you know your maintenance calories, and log your eating, you'll have a decent estimate of the maximum amount of fat it could be. (If you ate 500 calories over maintenance, but saw the scale jump 2 pounds overnight, at most 1/7 pound of that jump is fat.)

    Now that I'm in maintenance (year 5+), I calorie bank most days, eat over maintenance now and then when I feel like it (sometimes way over maintenance), watch the scale *trend* to stay in a weight range that satisfies me. (Daily scale weight jumps all over the place, since I eat unevenly. I need to focus on longer-term trend.) That's what works for me.

  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,488 Member
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    Rather than thinking about it as a treat day or cheat day, it works better for me to think of "saving" calories during the week so I can "spend" them on Friday or Saturday. Alternately, if I "overspend" one day, I might "pay it back" in the few days following.
  • suzyjmcd2
    suzyjmcd2 Posts: 266 Member
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    I try not to ever go over if I can help it, and don't eat more than 100 of my exercise calories on most days. (Special events I don't worry about) But I don't believe in restricting myself of anything. I truly believe that everything in moderation is the only way to successfully stay in maintenance. I eat mostly healthy, but do allow myself a small dessert (cookie or brownie) each day and often something like a serving of tortilla chips or crackers, too. It keeps me happy and on track.