Cheat Day

This week’s question is from “Me”, who can be found at My Weight Loss Journey (don’t be mistaken…this is not ‘me’ in the sense that I am the one asking the question…rather that “Me” is the screen name of the person who asked the question).

How and when do you ‘cheat’ on your eating goals?

This is an awesome question and one that I bet every single person reading has a different answer to.  Since this is Ask Lady Shanny we get to explore my answer!  😉

I actually don’t cheat at all and there is an explanation behind that.  ‘Cheating’ implies that certain foods are bad or that I am being bad for eating them.  Cheating implies closet eating, shame and furtive behavior, all of which are destructive.  So I don’t cheat.  Ever!  That is not to say that I don’t treat myself.  For the purpose of this column I’m going to assume that’s what she meant when she asked the question.

I think treating yourself is very important.  There are cetain foods that make us happy or make us feel good.  We love some foods more than others and there is no reason that we should be expected to avoid those items forever.  Unless your favourite, most loved food is brocoli, there needs to be some structure when you go about having it.  It needs to be a treat, not a staple.

There’s no wrong way to treat yourself.  Whatever way you choose you have to do it purposefully and with accountability.  You’re making the decision to have the treat so stand up for your decision and mark it down as a choice.

How do I do it?  I plan the treat just like I plan everything else.  Some of my favourite treats are SF Hedgehogs, Black Forest Trifle, beer, sweet & salty microwave popcorn and Kraft PB cookies.  I make sure that I account for the points of whatever I’m having and then I enjoy it and forget about any feeling other than pleasure and satisfaction.  I plan the treat in advance because once it’s accounted for, it’s like it’s a freebee, mine to do with as I please.  I don’t get satisfaction or pleasure from it if I’m wondering what it does to my points total for the day.

I generally don’t treat myself every week but some weeks are harder than others and a treat is required to make sure I don’t get resentful of this process of healthy eating.  Just out of personal preference I keep the treats to the weekend when I have time to relax and enjoy.  The only one that I will have in the middle of the week is the microwave popcorn and that’s only because there is so much sodium in it and I need a few days for the water retention to regulate before I have to weigh in.  But it’s totally worth it!

That’s it.  Be decisive about your treat, account for it so you have no reason to feel guilty or shameful and then enjoy it!  A treat, when properly done, can do wonders for your motivation and your stamina!

A question for the readers:  Think of your absolute, most loved, all-time favourite treat (possibly this is the treat that put you on the path to needing to lose weight).  Can you have just one of it as a treat now and then move on?  Or does one lead to 6 which leads to more than you care to admit so you avoid the item like the plague?



  1. Marueze said,

    January 26, 2008 at 11:35 am

    You get alot of credit you are so in the zone. So focused.
    I have binge tendencies…so I really must avoid some of the foods that trigger this trait. This is why I have been encountering difficulties.
    When I am in a good place I can do the move on thing and I do exactly as you say allow it within my pointage.

  2. blips said,

    January 26, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I build in one cheating day every week. To let the body know it does not have to hibernate and shut down vital systems to save energy. In that way I can move on the next day and loose weight again.
    I have seen a book about that too; “how to cheat on your diet.”

  3. Me said,

    January 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    My favorite is M&M’s. And no, I can’t have just one package. I have been buying the snack packs and thought I could have just one. Nope, not really. The snack packs do, however, keep me from eating a huge bag of them. So that is a big step forward. Thanks LS for answering my questions! You are the bomb.

  4. Anonymouse said,

    January 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I have trouble stopping myself from eating too much of a lot of foods like potato chips, macaroni and cheese, licorice, chocolates… The portion-controlled treats help a lot. P just bought me the 100-calorie packs of peanut butter cookies that Penguin reviewed. I will have a pack tomorrow.

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