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Cheat Days

Monday, September 17, 2018


Nope, they don't help.

Not with weight loss.

Not with maintaining weight loss.

That's what recent research confirms.

And it's probably the "mind set": a cheat day reinforces my belief that I "can't" eat some highly desirable food -- that I'm being deprived.

Better to tell myself that I "don't" eat that food. I don't do donuts. Yeah. One of the first things I told myself back in 2000 when I decided: 240 pounds was not acceptable.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing Ellen! Very timely as I came to your page to thank you for the blog support on my "Today I will do this." So thanks!
    Though I never really used the cheat meal/day concept, my little cheats, indescretions, out-of-the- ordinary foods have become too consisitent pushing me over the edge into full binge mode.

    I have found great success in saying "I don't eat breakfast" and "I don't eat snacks" to be helpful when traveling or gathering...

    I do group some foods as ordinary and out-of-the-ordinary as to limit consumption of those which may be triggers.

    But once again, the mind games don't always work!

    Keep posting!

    P.S. I must've laughed aloud when I read the cleaning agent blog! Yeah, right!!!
    557 days ago
    Before SP I was in Weight Watchers and became a lifetime member. It had a cheat worked in once a week and looking back I can see how that did not work for me. That cheat got bigger and bigger, so the weight returned with a bigger number on the scale than before. So now I just tell myself that item is not my food. Then I picture Charlie looking over the edge of the table at all the goodies in the photo you shared with us so long ago. Just love that image!
    557 days ago
    yup - just calling it "cheat" makes me feel like a bad person. If I am going to eat ice cream, then on that particular day, at that particular moment I do ice cream - the rest of the time I don't do ice cream. Ice cream does not live in my house.
    557 days ago
    Totally agree! In my experience, one cheat day leads to another and another and another, until every day is cheat day! You are so right to guard the "mind set" that led to your success. Thanks for the reminder.
    557 days ago
    Cheat days are a non stop binge waiting to happen. Give someone an inch they will take a mile. With addictive foods, which are usually what is craved on cheat days, going down the rabbit hole is a lot easier. I may have a cheat meal once in a while eating out, but I won't throw the whole day away.
    557 days ago
    If the definition of a cheat day is "Cheat days, when you are free to binge to your stomach’s delight one day a week...", then I think they are not a good thing. One should never binge to your stomach's delight. The occasional tasty treat that is not an every day food would be okay, as part of the no forbidden but moderate consumption principle.
    557 days ago
    557 days ago
    I have certain foods that I buy only in pre-measured portions - like a single serving of ice cream instead of a pint or half gallon size. Because I know I have problems controlling my portion size of that food. But I don't deny myself any particular food - except foods I don't like, or that I think are mediocre. So yes, I eat less over all. I stay in range. I don't have "cheat" days. (But I also probably am not losing as quickly as I might if I skipped the occasional ice cream.)
    557 days ago
    Thanks. Good article. Makes sense.
    558 days ago
    558 days ago
    Absolutely! I DON'T eat is more the truth of the matter. And I always feel if I need cheat days, then something in the nutrition plan needs to be adjusted to be able to sustain the nutrition plan.
    558 days ago
    558 days ago
    I completely agree with the terminology, "I DON'T eat..." There are some foods that I don't eat. Some that I eat rarely. Others, I will eat sometimes, but I know that they will slow the progress on the scale. (Cornbread at a breakfast restaurant is one of them.)

    There was one woman here on SP a couple of years ago who had a specific amount of weight to lose. She followed her diet closely, then once a month, she had a CHEAT DAY and ate whatever she wanted. She usually went to a Chinese Buffet on those days.
    One day she claimed that she had lost all her weight, and she left SP.
    Wish I could remember her name. She was a fun lady, with a great sense of humor.

    558 days ago
    I don't trust cheat days, they make no sense!
    558 days ago
    Absolutely agree; I equate cheat days/foods with not healthy and wholesome, makes it very easy to say I don't eat that when having that mindset in place.
    558 days ago
    Yeah, I've found cheat days don't work on so many levels.

    558 days ago
    So, just who are you cheating on? Yourself mostly. Isn't that a break of faith with yourself? I worked to hard for this. So, stick to making good decisions on what you put into your mouth. Had a donut Sunday at church...needed something so picked one I liked and ate it without guilt knowing that next time I will have a protein bar with me. Also decided it really wasn't all that tasty after the first bite or two. Will shape my thought process next time.

    558 days ago
    I don't plan for cheat meals but I do include some of my favorite foods that are on my trigger list into meals but I always have to eat it mindfully. Otherwise I might go wild and screw myself up! Have a good day!
    558 days ago
    Nope, cheat meals/days are not for me, either. Thanks for the article.
    558 days ago
    I can't give myself cheat days.. one day leads to another and before you know.. I am off the path completely best for me to just stay on the straight and narrow path.
    558 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    emoticon emoticon
    558 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23741364
    emoticon I don’t even like the words” cheat days”. It only perpetuates the myth that this is a “diet”, and not permanent. I know that, for me, healthy eating has to be a way of life, in order for me to be permanently successful. I also want that way of life, so there are many foods that I won’t be part of that life.....by my choice.
    As with ONEKIDSMOM, I have some foods that are allowed rarely, and I also wish I could get the same mindset for all the sugar foods that continue to derail me.
    We all have to figure out what works for each of us!
    558 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Yep, this is a 24/7/365 lifestyle that I'm once again working toward.
    558 days ago
    Agreed … I don't eat that … Not My Food.

    I still find myself seeing that poster of Charlie surrounded by a collection of food items no longer eaten. I believe the image was created by a Becker years ago.
    558 days ago
  • NANCY-
    No cheat days here. I play the 'would you rather' game when tempted. Usually the healthy choice wins over the indulgence,
    558 days ago
    emoticon I don't eat... is a standard phrase that's *very* useful, not just with food pushers, but with myself!

    Also, "I rarely eat..." hot dogs, for example. They aren't forbidden, but once or twice a year is plenty. I *need* that mindset for ice cream, donuts, cookies, etc. that crept back into the post-retirement lifestyle, and that now I am restoring to the "rare" category!

    Rare means rare, not once a week (cheat day concept)! Once every two or three months... twice a year... yeah, that's rare!
    558 days ago
    I don't like the mindset of chear days either. A balanced diet has room for ocassional treats without deprication or the good/bad mentality.
    558 days ago
    You are so right. I have a decade marker birthday tomorrow and my best pals have arrived from out of town to celebrate with me. Practically the first question out of their mouths was what kind of cake do I want. I told them no kind of cake. none. no way. It is more than enough that they travelled to be with me now. I know that a precious and fragile week of sugar free time will be blown and I will have to start the fight all over again. Not worth it. It is much easier to not make exceptions than to recover from the damage.
    558 days ago
    If I allowed myself to cheat, well, I'd eat that handful of potato chips that found it's way into my food yesterday! Ackkkkk!
    My first in months and I didn't have any more!

    No tempting fate again.

    558 days ago
    Moderation and consistency! Truly keys to better health!
    558 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    I'm with you on this. It works better for me to say "I don't eat...." than I can't. And there are some foods that I choose to eat once in a while and that seems to help me to not over do it.

    Thanks for blog and article.
    558 days ago
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