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    Strider87's Avatar
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    Question Cheat Days - Help or Hinder Efforts to Stay on Track?

    Primal Fuel
    Many of the nutritional/diet gurus out there allow for a cheat day in their weekly meal plans. My boyfriend notably was a big believer in the Abs Diet series before we made the decision to try going primal. The author of the Abs Diet (his name escapes me at the moment) calls for allowing yourself entire cheat days, while others opt for the lesser cheat meal.

    In my experience, there is evidence that cheat days can be both helpful and harmful. Cheat days can alleviate the fatigue and cravings from a dramatic change in diet for someone who is just starting out, as well as being a nice compromise when holidays or festive celebrations come around. On the other hand, cheat days or cheat meals can open the door for falling off the horse. This is especially likely for those of us who have a tendency for black and white thinking (I already screwed up lunch, the day's wasted, let's splurge on dinner!; I already screwed up the last two days, might as well start again next Monday).

    So what are your opinions? Are cheat days helpful or harmful? What about in the beginning of a change in diet versus someone who has largely acclimated and has been staying on track? Are there any of you who do not need or crave cheat days? Does anyone experience any noticeable difference in their energy or other bodily attributes after a cheat day?

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    steve.mull's Avatar
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    For me personally, I can't allow myself to have any cheats. It starts out in my head as a cheat meal. Then cheat day. Then cheat weekend etc... Its to easy for me to fall completely off the wagon all from one meal or snack. I think however for me, a better option is to use primal approved "cheats" such as whip cream and berries, or the primal bread. Treat those as "cheats" even though they aren't really.

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    lotusberries is online now Senior Member
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    I can't do cheats either. Every single cheat meal has lead to a binge, so I don't do it anymore!

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    Can't cheat. I fall off the wagon - I fall off HARD. It lasts.
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    Do not allow yourself to become wrapped up in a food 'lifestyle'. That is ego, and you are not that.

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    cavebabymama is offline Senior Member
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    I'm starting to realize that a little cheat leads to a lot of cheat for me.
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    TorMag's Avatar
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    Primal is a life style, not a diet. There is no reason to cheat on your life. If you want to eat a Snickers bar, for godshakes eat it and move on. It is about you, you don't need our permission.
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    WeldingHank's Avatar
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    I used to "cheat" every now and then, get some pizza, have some beer, pasta, sub ETC. Then I realized the longer I went between them, the worse they made me feel. I know now, if I eat 2-3 slices of pizza I am gassy,bloated and just feel like garbage all-around.

    The more I stay Primal, the more I WANT to stay primal.

    Now, Once a week instead of cheat I treat myself to a very expensive/decadent Primal meal. Lobster, Prime-rib ETC. So I don't have to feel like crap after I eat.

    I would say, get in tune with your body and find out how non-primal things affect you. Then decide if you still want to cheat.

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    I think cheating (though I abhor that word in relation to food) is a good thing. Nothing like getting on the scale after a trip down shit food lane to knock some sense into you.

    There was a motivational guy in the 90s that used say that humans are motivated by basically two things: they pursue pleasure, and they avoid pain. When indulging in a "cheat," there is immediate pleasure. But if the scale pops up a couple of pounds and stays there for 5-10 days, that pleasure quickly turns into pain. Eventually that is learned, and the urge to eat old favorites subsides. If you're lucky, you even learn to dislike those old favorites because of the pain they bring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeldingHank View Post
    I used to "cheat" every now and then, get some pizza, have some beer, pasta, sub ETC. Then I realized the longer I went between them, the worse they made me feel. I know now, if I eat 2-3 slices of pizza I am gassy,bloated and just feel like garbage all-around.

    The more I stay Primal, the more I WANT to stay primal.

    Now, Once a week instead of cheat I treat myself to a very expensive/decadent Primal meal. Lobster, Prime-rib ETC. So I don't have to feel like crap after I eat.

    I would say, get in tune with your body and find out how non-primal things affect you. Then decide if you still want to cheat.
    I agree with this Hank. I have a friend who owns a meat market and once a month he prepares a huge USDA prime t-bone aged to perfection just for me(actually I think he prepares them for his family and includes one for me). They are melt in your mouth delicious, better than any cake, cookie or ice cream I have ever had. It is amazing the difference in off the shelf meat and what a butcher feeds his own family.

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    sakura_girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanieL View Post
    I think cheating (though I abhor that word in relation to food) is a good thing. Nothing like getting on the scale after a trip down shit food lane to knock some sense into you.

    There was a motivational guy in the 90s that used say that humans are motivated by basically two things: they pursue pleasure, and they avoid pain. When indulging in a "cheat," there is immediate pleasure. But if the scale pops up a couple of pounds and stays there for 5-10 days, that pleasure quickly turns into pain. Eventually that is learned, and the urge to eat old favorites subsides. If you're lucky, you even learn to dislike those old favorites because of the pain they bring.
    Unless you use the pleasure of food again to offset the pain of gaining weight....vicious cycle.

    I agree with TorMag. Eat the damn thing you're craving and move on. I think you just need the right mindset of trying to eat as Primal as possible instead of avoiding non-Primal things as possible. The reduction in stress will make you eat less of the "cheat" (if at all) and will help to prevent the downward spiral that most of us know of too well by eliminating the "all-or-nothing" mindset.

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