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?

pexels-photo-903415
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…

    IMG_3163
    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

Weigh In Wednesday (week 2)

Ugh… I woke up feeling incredibly bloated, and I am not feeling very well. I checked my Clue, and it is definitely not a very good time to do a weigh in. However, for the sake of consistency, let’s just pretend that menstrual cycle have nothing to do with it.

So… This week has been quite testing because it was my first week doing this while working. Granted it is a part time job, but I am not sure how it’s affecting my CICO.

To be honest I am quite anxious to see how much of a difference it is compared to last week. I was planning on walking to work, which I did a couple of times last week (while my husband can pick me up from work because we are finishing at the same time). But the weather has been nasty this week, so I will skip it until the weather is nicer. For a lot of people this kind of weather is… nice? I cannot see what’s nice of being slowly roasted under the scorching sun. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But I really hate the sun light on my skin after 10am. Like the typical East Asian women who covered up during the summer, we are more concerned about the UV effect on our skin than our need for vitamin D. Vitamin D tablets are cheaper than skin cancer treatment yo. Anyway, not going to make a lot of comments about people’s life choices, so I shall steer this back to the weigh in. 

When I started this, I hadn’t accepted the job, so I set my TDEE calculator with sedentary lifestyle. I haven’t changed it since, but I started to think that I might need a bit more calories now that I am working in the professional kitchen again. I started to feel slightly hungrier especially after work. Yes, of course I can still tackle it with snacking, or a nice lunch after work, but… it’s been known that eating too little could hinder weight loss because it set the body into starvation mode.

The point of this is that this program is not meant to be fast, aggressive, and punishingly hard. It is supposed to be sustainable, and should not affect you that much except for the minor inconvenience of logging each food you are consuming. So if my calorie goals is too low for my TDEE, I might end up starving myself… and that’s just silly. Maybe I should start adjusting it to lightly active instead?

image source: Pexels

If I am going to make walking to work (45 mins, mostly flat) as a routine, this might change the game a little. On top of that, my ‘beginner week’ is going to be over soon, so I will work harder. If you have ever worked in this industry, either in Front of House of the kitchen you know it is not just like cooking at home. You are constantly on your feet, moving around a lot, and lifting heavy stuff — extra bonus if your restaurant premises have stairs. Hmm…. let’s see.

Anyway, I shall stop babbling, and go on with this week result.

Last week: 61 kg

Weight loss this week/total: 0 kg/1 kg

Uhm… not a good start lol. Although somehow I kind of expected this, it is still a bit disappointing. Not blaming anyone, all I need is to step up my game 😀

The Importance of Keeping A Food Journal

I could not believe that I had not think about this way earlier than I actually did. If I think about it, food journal makes a complete sense. How did I know that I wasn’t over eating if I did not even remember what I ate that day.

As eating has become an integral part in our life, it is so easy to just do it without thinking. When you sit down on a coffee shop, and there’s a complimentary biscuit (especially when it is Biscoff!!), you would not even consider that there is an option to not eating it. That’s 37kCal a piece. How many in that small packet again? Can’t remember…

pexels-photo-3750709

How about how many pints of lager did you have at Sandra’s leaving do? Three? Or four? that’s 180kCal per pint, so you really want to make sure whether you’re consuming 540kCal or 720kCal. Did you take the pork scratching from the bowl? Did you have the obligatory kebab on the way home? Did you have chips with it? Did you ask for extra mayo on it?

You don’t remember. And you normally won’t unless you are gifted with this extra precision memory, and the ability to retain such memory even after a couple of pints.

And this is why a food journal is very important to me.

Documenting what I eat makes calorie budgeting possible. Using accounting jargon as analogy is what makes the best sense for me.

Calories allowance = Salary

Calories consumption = Expenditure

Eat more than allowance = Get into debt

Eat less than allowance = Have some spare

Calorie deficit = Savings

Just like when you are doing your personal finance, you can track your money better with bank statement. Unfortunately with food, you will have to track it yourself. Fortunately nowadays there are a lot of apps and websites to make it easier for you to start your own food journal. Or food diary… whatever.

My favourite one until today is MyFitnessPal.

It is not perfect, especially if you are using the free version like me. Personally I would like something which looks cuter. Something with pastel coloured background, or rainbow and unicorn would be appreciated. But MyFitnessPal is all business, and all about functionality. Which makes the non-cuteness very well forgivable.

You can set your calories allowance per day (they call it calories goal), you can connect it to your fitbit if you have one (I don’t). You can use them to calculate how calorific your special Sunday roast is (I dare not think of mine). And the feature that I use a lot: barcode scanner which makes journal/diary entry way easier, and more accurate.

Now, before I finish this entry… Just in case someone wonders what the difference between a journal and a diary is… I’d like to quote one of my favourite TV shows.

Deeks: I’m sorry, just to clarify, what is the difference between a journal and a diary?
Kensi: Diaries are for seven-year-old girls.
Deeks: So, um, you would say that a journal, then, has more… adult content? (Kensi smiles) Good to know. Good. To. Know.» NCIS: Los Angeles 3.04 – “Deadline”
source: here
Good luck with your journal (or diary), and until then take care of your self
xx
Extra reading:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-keep-a-food-diary-2019013115855
https://familydoctor.org/nutrition-keeping-a-food-diary