Cheat meals

When first getting started, how many cheat meals should I allow myself to have per week or month? My goal is 50 pounds. I don't think I should cheat on my diet too early at all. My boyfriend says "depriving" myself will cause me to be tempted into messing up.

Replies

  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 720 Member
    edited February 11
    I agree with your boyfriend, personally. You only need to eat less calories than you burn, there’s no such thing as bad food or cheating. I recommend eating the same way now as you will in maintenance, but with 250 less calories. That way you know exactly how to transition to maintenance without regaining and learning a new lifestyle.

    If you get hungry while in a deficit swap out treats for foods that keep you full longer and satiate you. But I always leave room for the things that I enjoy so I never feel deprived. I think that’s what he’s saying as well.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,108 Member
    edited February 11
    If you choose a reasonable weight loss (not too fast) rate and if you don't overhaul your food choices (banning your favorite foods), you don't need to 'cheat'.
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 910 Member
    i agree with your BF. instead of thinking of it as cheating, you could just eat a few less calories per day and use them for those bigger weekend meals - like if you eat 100 less calories per day, you'll have 600 calories budget for a weekend treat. and once in a while, if you go over, it's no big deal.

    but if you are trying to lose a pound a week and eat 3500 extra calories in "cheat meals", you won't lose any weight that week, and if you're trying to lose half a pound per week and eat 3500 extra calories, you'll gain weight.

    btw, if you rearrange what you eat, you can have pizza, chocolate or potato chips with your regular meals without having to have cheat meals.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,940 Member
    I also agree with the previous posts.

    However...when I first started weight loss (lost 80 pounds, in 2007-08) I was trying to eat way too few calories and I couldn't stick to it, so I had big binge days.

    When I set a more realistic goal and started eating more the frequent overage days became much less frequent.

    It's a process. If you want a big splurge day once a week, go for it. It sets you back, but not that much. Just get back at it the very next day.
  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,596 Member
    I also agree with the previous posts.

    However...when I first started weight loss (lost 80 pounds, in 2007-08) I was trying to eat way too few calories and I couldn't stick to it, so I had big binge days.

    When I set a more realistic goal and started eating more the frequent overage days became much less frequent.

    It's a process. If you want a big splurge day once a week, go for it. It sets you back, but not that much. Just get back at it the very next day.

    I would say a big splurge day every week could easily undo any progress you made that week. Easily. 1 big meal... probably not. But when it turns into a whole day... forget it. I could easily eat 3500 calories in a day. And my maintenence is around 1800. Around 1500 to be in a .5 pound a week deficit. So one day of 3500 calories would be adding my entire week's deficit back on.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 13,162 Member
    Don't think of it as a "cheat." You're only cheating yourself.

    Think of it as a "TREAT." But still log everything you eat honestly, completely, and accurately. You can totally eat your favorite things, but you can't eat too much of them. Log your food, track your calories, stay in your deficit. Make sure that your goals are sustainable. If you're trying to lose 50 pounds, give yourself a full 12 months do do it. That's a pound a week. That's sustainable. That's a deficit of 500 calories per day. You can fit treats into there some days.

    Even if you are less than 500 calories deficit, you'll still lose weight if you stay in deficit - just slower. So if you're on target otherwise and want to eat 400 calories of ice cream, you'll still be in a 100 calorie deficit. Just do this will eyes wide open that it will extend the time it takes to achieve your goal.

    Use all the time to build good habits that you will maintain when you get to your goal. Even if you don't have any treats, and you lose 50 pounds in eight or nine months, if you then go off the rails, you can guess what will happen.
  • Corina1143
    Corina1143 Posts: 2,892 Member
    edited February 11
    What are you missing that makes you feel deprived?
    If it's chocolate, have a small amount and make it fit in your calories.
    If it's going out, research calories. Find a place that you find something you like that fits your calories and ask your boyfriend (or mom, or friend) to go there.
    When I started, I had 2 problems.
    I wanted kfc fried chicken with potatoes and gravy, fried okra, and cornbread.
    I wanted to eat out with friends where I couldn't possibly accurately count calories.
    A very wise dietician told me to do one or the other, not both, once a week.
    It didn't take me long to figure out I could do kfc with EITHER okra OR cornbread and fit it in my calories.
    I still try to eat reasonably when I go out, but I don't worry about accuracy. I don't do it too often, but I may do it 3 or 4 times Christmas week.

    Should add, I lost 60 pounds in 6 months pretty easily while seeing that dietician.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,421 Member
    edited February 11
    Cheat meals and “I deserve this because I’m tired/stressed/irritated/mad/overworked/bored” is what made me obese in the first place.

    “Cheat” mentality is what causes most here to fail. They cut cut cut too too hard and then crash and binge binge binge on a “cheat day”.

    Just set yourself a reasonable goal, and eat less five days a week if you feel like you need something special on the weekend. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with ups and downs if you’re deliberately maintaining a weekly average goal versus a daily goal.


    The key is planning for it and expecting it, and not letting it sneak up and derail you.

    If you looked at my last few Saturdays you’d think I was a train wreck- until you looked at the other six days. I’ve been “catching up”on Saturdays lately and eating what I enjoy. Last night, that happened to be Godiva. 👍🏻

    And don’t get in the habit of planning a large weekend and then beating yourself up because you pre planned and did eat the extra. You planned for that spike.

    You should also plan for the temporary weight gain that will cause. Temporary being the key word.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 8,960 Member
    While losing 50#, I continued to eat pizza (limit to two slices instead of three or four) and had a daily dessert of 100-200 calories (two cookies instead of four).
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    I think believing in cheat meals is like believing in Santa Claus, as an adult: Seductively pleasant myth.

    The calories matter. Log them, know the impact.

    Personally, I eat close to goal most days, a little under occasionally, over occasionally, and waaaay over sometimes (rarely). It's all just food, and decisions about food. We need food. Who or what would I be cheating?

    When I committed to lose weight (2015-16), I decided I wasn't going to do anything to lose weight that I wasn't willing to continue long term, ideally forever, to stay at a healthy weight once I got there . . . except for a sensibly moderate calorie deficit to trigger that loss. When I reached maintenance, it was a simple matter of adding a relatively small number of calories to my average day, and continuing the same well-practiced habits that were pretty much on autopilot after losing weight for just under a year. I've been at a healthy weight since, so that worked well for me.

    I do like to indulge sometimes, so my maintenance routine is to eat a small number of calories (100-150) under true estimated maintenance most days, in order to indulge occasionally. I like that strategy for me, though it wouldn't suit everyone.