Cheat days

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Yesterday I really struggles with cravings. Thank goodness I don't keep sweets in the house but I ended up eating like a trash panda all day.

How bad are cheat days really?

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  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,568 Member
    edited April 29 Answer ✓
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    A day like that isn't productive, but imo it's not as bad as a simple calculation of, "I went X calories over my maintenance, therefore I gained X/3500 pounds of fat in a day." The body tries to be in homeostasis, as defined by the majority of your days. So your NEAT calorie burning probably went up yesterday, and your body temp probably did too. I've seen multiple YT vids of people tracing their metrics after big binges in the following week or two, and that's what happened with them. Which is not to suggest such a binge is "free" if trying to lose weight. It isn't. I'm just saying it's probably not as bad as you fear, once you get past the next few days of water retention that it brought on.

    You should try to find habits or food substitutes to minimize the frequency and scale of such events. Maybe go for a walk or get on your bike or treadmill at home if you have one, or eat some filling foods high in protein and fiber and hopefully that reduces cravings.

    Today, you can probably get by with fewer carbs since you're still digesting yesterday's food. Don't try to balance out yesterday's excess, just saying you could probably go a few hundred calories lighter today quite easily if you wanted to.
  • SafariGalNYC
    SafariGalNYC Posts: 997 Member
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    If you overate today.. can you deduct some calories through the week to offset it? I find weekly calories to be useful.

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  • Corina1143
    Corina1143 Posts: 3,109 Member
    edited April 29
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    Find the silver lining.
    Learn from it.
    Did you splurge because you were really hangry? Maybe you've cut your calories too much and your body really needs the energy. Better to lose slower but consistently than seesaw?
    Did you just have to have some of what you haven't been allowing yourself to eat? Would it be better to allow yourself a little once a week or once a month?
    Stress? Maybe a bath, nap, or just a time out?
    TOM? Many women just allow themselves a few extra calories a couple of days a month.
    Ask yourself questions. You may not know the answer, but you can experiment.
    Maybe yesterday wasn't bad at all. Maybe it was just a learning experience.
  • Dontkillbill1509
    Dontkillbill1509 Posts: 6 Member
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    I find a protien shake helps with the cravings and gives me a treat for under 200 calories. Tonight it saved me from cheating. I like the idea of cheating but staying with in my calorie limit. Cheese burgers no fries... THen back to the salmon :) I have fallen off more diets so I wish it was easy to say just keep going!
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 10,018 Member
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    Yeah, not good, just don't make it a habit and do it 2 days in a row. Maybe time to redefine your parameters.
  • Ecwine8
    Ecwine8 Posts: 1 Member
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    I say don’t beat yourself up and move on. The next time you have a craving try a cheat meal or desert and not the whole day.
    It shouldn’t make a huge difference in the long run.
  • FibroHiker
    FibroHiker Posts: 362 Member
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    I used to think that cheat days weren't so bad if the rest of the week was good. Now that I have a fitbit I can look at my daily average over a week. There have been weeks where the cheat day pushed my weekly average out of a zone of loss. I know my TDEE. If my daily average eating is too close to that then there's no progress for that week. All the hard work from the days leading up to the cheat day were a wash.

    A cheat meal once a week might be a better option, but even those can be too detrimental. Some meals at restaurants report 2,000 for one meal alone. I have now set rewards for when I reached a certain goal. I'm five pounds away from my first goal but once I reach it I will be going to a nice steakhouse for a meal and dessert.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,301 Member
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    FibroHiker wrote: »
    I used to think that cheat days weren't so bad if the rest of the week was good. Now that I have a fitbit I can look at my daily average over a week. There have been weeks where the cheat day pushed my weekly average out of a zone of loss. I know my TDEE. If my daily average eating is too close to that then there's no progress for that week. All the hard work from the days leading up to the cheat day were a wash.

    You can also select a weekly view in the MFP food diary, (in the app) when you're in the nutrition view (pie chart at the top of the diary)
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,830 Member
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    Regarding calorie importance

    weekly>daily

    Best to have some semblance of consistency however your daily will always vary somewhat.