Cheating Sundays?

Just a couple of weeks a go I realised that people used their weekends as their cheat days. It is interesting for me, because Sunday has a dark food history as the day when people actually cheat. Weird right?

Rumour has it that in the end of 1800’s there’s such a law in the US which prohibit the sales of soda water on Sundays because it is a vice. Ice cream soda, which was at that time best sellers were hit hard, so businessmen had to come up with something to fix it. Here comes our favourite Ice Cream Sundae, which contains no soda. I am not sure about the 1800’s logic but Sundaes are as much as a vice as Cream Soda in my opinion… but hey I am no clergy *shrug*.

pink and white ice cream
Photo by Z a a on Pexels.com

The idea that Sunday is a special day has been around since biblical times. It is time to rest, it is time to do something differently than your daily life. It is time to… you know… cheat your diet, for some people.

Personally I don’t do cheat days, but I know a lot of people do, and it is fine. There are some idea that cheat days can actually help to boost metabolism, although I haven’t yet find a credible scientific information about it. I keep it open, though, just because I haven’t found it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t out there…

The concept of cheat days feels off to me, for some reasons:

The word “Cheat”.

I mean… since when has been associated with something good? Cheat always used in conjunction with dishonesty, untrustworthy, and illegality. Why would you associate yourselves with that? Would you rather change it to “Treat Day” to make it feels less harmful, or something?

Personally I don’t like being called a cheater. It is not a nice feeling. So, I am not sure if I can go on board with the concept of regularly making myself ‘cheat’.

The reason why you need to cheat

I did cheat days on my beginning of calorie counting, I have to be honest about it. And the reason why I did it was because my weekdays meal plan sucked. It was salad after salad, and quinoa after quinoa… with lean meat or fish, and nothing was fried. There’s no crisps, or biscuits, or cake… or any snacks.

appetizer close up cucumber cuisine
Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

I felt I needed to cheat because I my meal plan was torturous, and THAT is non sustainable. My friends told me to “look ahead”, that “the cheat day is only 2 days away”. But… why should I endure the 2 days of torment if I can just make my meal plan better and treat myself everyday for being a good CICO girl? Right?

Cheat Day doesn’t help building the habit

For me the best thing about CICO is its sustainability. If you know how to do it right (and you definitely don’t have any hidden medical condition), CICO will give you a consistent result. But to do it, you need to be consistent too.

Counting and logging should always be there at the back of your mind. Looking at the back of the package, and make a conscious decision about it should be automatic after a while. Weighing everything before cooking them would be a second nature. And that only happens when it has become a habit to you.

The general rule is that you need 21 days to get used to a new habit, and 3 months to actually make it stick. With cheat days, you will be breaking a routine every 7th days, so how are you going to make CICO sticks?

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image source pexels

Now… I know that life is not just like a flat line of work/study, and home. Sometimes you are going on holidays. Sometimes you want to enjoy yourselves on special days like wedding days. Sometimes… you know, you have PMS sooo bad and all you want to do is watching youtube videos all day while finishing the whole tub of ice cream.

Can I still treat myself for a special day?

Of course you can. This is the wonderful thing about CICO, that only your calorie goal is your limit. This is what you can do to make sure your special day won’t ruin your hard work.

  1. Try to keep the food journal. Keep logging everything, even after you’ve seen the red and feels like you are massively over… just log it, and don’t worry about the number, because there’s a way to work around it later but only if you have the number to work around.
  2. Remember that the weight loss is not done in a day. The next day after your special day, look at your ‘over’, and spread it across the next week meal plan or even two weeks meal plan. AHA! Not so scary now, isn’t it?
    Okay I make an example: you’re invited to a wedding, and food was delicious. You estimated you are 2000cal over. So, all you need to do over the next 10 days, is to create an extra 200cal deficit. Either by taking 200cal from the budget, or add 200cal on exercise, or the combo of 100cal from budget and 100cal from exercise.
    To put it into perspective a 30g (1 serving) or tangy cheese doritos is 150cal.
  3. And, last but not least… don’t feel bad and over compensate your special day by punishing yourself afterwards. It is counter-productive. You want to enjoy your special day. We want you to enjoy your special day. So you should just do that. You will come back the next day happier, because you know this by no means a defeat.
    On my 2 weeks holiday to Indonesia, I was over every single day for 14 days. Yes I tried to log everything, but I know I missed some things because I don’t know all of the ingredients, but I did log it, and as expected the first weigh in after the holiday was laughable to say the least. But I knew that all I need to do to be back on track is to readjust my budget for a month or two… and voila…

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    my old report in 2016-2017

    If you see my report, there are peaks of weight gain. The first peak was after April, so I assumed it was the Easter break, the next one was after July… that’s definitely the holiday I was talking about. And the last peak was around Christmas :D. However if you see the bigger picture… 12.1 kg was dropped in that year alone.

I hope my amateur opinion is informative enough. I hope it is helpful, and I wish you the best for your journey for a healthier life.

Please let me know if there’s something I miss, or mess up. And please feel free to share your opinion about cheat days, and what you do about it. 🙂

ta tah

xx

The Importance of Snacking

My sisters did not believe me when I said I still eat crisps and biscuits when I was losing weight. I think if I don’t have a room for a snack or two, I am planning my meal wrong. Personally, I think snacking is just as important as the main meal itself.

When you are changing your eating behaviour, especially when you are trying to lose weight, you will be hungry. Of course you will, because you are practically eating less calories than what your body is spending. And it is no secret that hungry people can’t think for themselves…

You are not yourself when you’re hungry… remember that?

chips cirspy crisp crispy
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

It is true though. Your primal instinct is to satisfy that primal urge, by stuffing yourself with food. And that’s when you go over eating.

Some people would rather stay hungry so that they can eat bigger meal on meal time. I prefer having snacks in between. Popcorn is my favourite low calorie- high volume- fibre packed munch. It piles, and it satisfies me mentally because of the look of it. My other favourite, which I admit quite unpopular is celery sticks with low fat hummus.

By snacking in between meal, you are taking the edge off. It is going to help you to stop going for a full blown hungry mode, and hangry eating. 

In fact, snacking has been my lifeline since I’ve been back to work. I will give you a picture of how difficult it is to work in the kitchen and calorie counting at the same time. First of all, the work is very physical so you are going to spend a lot of energy there. That’s why you’re hungry. Nothing good came from hunger…

The next challenge is from your environment. Imagine you’re working hard and hungry, AND you are surrounded by food. Some of the guys are working in the open kitchen… well yea you cannot keep nibbling the trimmings while working, but pastry case trimmings had been my downfall in the past! You have all access to food, and your will power is the only thing that stands between those food and your mouth. And will power is weak when you are hungry… let me just put it out there. 

chef kitchen cooking baby
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How about the time you need to taste the food? A couple of times a day? You have the taste of goodness in your tongue, unleashing your appetite but… nope. You have to stop right there because after the eighth cube of butter, nobody’s going to bother counting calories on that beurre blanc anymore. 

Now, the situation will be different if I have a planned snacking. Have a couple of cereal bars on your pocket, for example. Have a quick much in between to stop you from feeling hungry, and you give enough push for your will power to block these temptations. 

I know it works differently for everyone. Some people would rather cut off snacking completely because they feel like it is a slippery slope to overeating, and that’s a very legit worry as well. Others just can’t be bothered to log every so often, so just stick with 3 – 4 times meal a day and that’s it so your calories will definitely be accounted for, and that’s also a legit reason. 

How about you? What do you think about having snacks between meal? What’s your go to snack? 

xx

What Is CICO, Macro, and Micro Nutrition?

After understanding about BMR and TDEE, it is time to build your healthy eating plan. The effective healthy eating plan should not be punishing. It should not make you feel miserable. But the most important thing is that it has to show result. As you go deeper about meal planning, you start seeing these jargon around: CICO, Macro, and Micro.

What are they?

CICO

It is the abbreviation of Calories In, Calories Out. It is pretty self explanatory, basically you plan your meal for calories in, and activities for the calories out. But, how do you know how much calories should go in or out? This is where your knowledge about TDEE comes in handy.

Quick recap about TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is basically the approximate amount of calories you spent a day based on your BMR+your daily activities. This is the basic premise: To lose weight, you need to consume less calories than TDEE, and consume more if you need to gain weight.

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What makes CICO interesting is that we can change that data. We can rise our energy expenditure by exercising, for example. That activities can either widen your calories deficit (which means you lose weight sooner), or give you extra calories to consume (if you are maintaining, or just want some ice cream).

MACRO

Macro nutrients are the nutrients our body needs in large amount (hence macro). You know them as Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat. Yes, guys… Fat is a macro nutrient, so please don’t be scared consuming them.

These nutrients make up our calories intake. There are 4 calories per gram carbohydrates and protein, and 9 calories per gram fat. That is why, when you are eating fatty food, your calories intake just… swooosh right up.

A lot of diets nowadays involves restricting one of these macros. And yes they work, they have science back them up so feel free to cautiously follow them. Personally, I don’t want to do it. Not only that I believe that every macro nutrients has its own functions, I also genuinely cannot give up crisps.

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MICRO

Micro nutrients are the thing that I always neglect, unfortunately. Just because our body only need a small amount of it, doesn’t mean we can ignore it. I did, and that’s my bad.

When you are trying to lose weight, and you restrict your calories, your macros has become your sole focus. Sometimes because of the restrictive calories consumption, you end up not getting enough vitamins and minerals. This is why people on a restrictive diet might look ill, or lose hair, or developing vitamin deficiency symptoms.

I am bad at this, I always top up mine with supplements.

Alrighty… I hope this helps. Please let me know if I miss anything 🙂

See you

xx