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…

    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

Now First Thing First

A lot of people struggle with weight loss because they guesstimate everything. It is literally impossible to know how to lose weight if you don’t really know how you weigh. Sounds like a common sense, right? But surprisingly, a lot of people don’t even own a proper bathroom scale.

My husband never had a scale until I insisted on buying it for us, and that’s when he realised that he was way heavier than he thought he was. That’s exactly what happens to many people.

Many people realised that they’ve ‘put on some weight’. They’ve seen the symptoms — the blouses are now a bit snug, the bra cups are now kind of fuller, the jeans no longer need belt to stay on your belly, and the shadow of extra chin can no longer be concealed with make up. So we know that we’ve put on some weight, but by how much?

According to this obesity research a lot of people actually underestimate their weight and over estimate their height. That means that when they try to calculate their BMI their number is significantly lower.

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Reality check always helps you to pick a strategy

It is disheartening for me when I tried to research about this, and I ended up reading list of articles that encourage people to ‘ditch the scale’. Why do you want to do that? You cannot solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is.

Heck if you do not like the word ‘problem’ because it sound so negative just change it.

You cannot start a journey if you do not have a starting point. And how are you going to lose weight if you don’t even know how much you actually weigh?

I understand that seeing the number can be discouraging. I’ve been in the situation where I weighed myself a couple of times a day. And that is not healthy, but turning a blind eye, and refusing to see a fact is simply a denial which would prevent you to lose weight optimally. Or maintaining your healthy weight.

But if your argument is that the number doesn’t matter then… well, maybe you really don’t need to lose weight to start with. I mean… I try to lose weight because I am not comfortable with mine, so if you are already comfortable with yours by all means keep it.

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Looking comfortable outdoor… definitely not me

Anyway one of the most famous quote from a Chinese philosopher, Laozi said:

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

So, to start my metaphorical thousand miles journey… this is my first little step: my first weigh in.

Starting weight: 62.1kg

I have to be honest, my heart sank a little when I saw that number. It was definitely not something I’d like to see, but I kind of expected it since I have let go so much for the last couple of years. But anyway, it’s just the beginning…

I’ll see you soon.

xx

It Needs To Start Somehow

I think it is better for me if I start it with a story.

Many years ago, roughly around 2015 I decided that I needed to lose some weight. I was not unhealthily overweight — in fact I was just on the top border of my normal BMI (Body Mass Index), but I was not happy with the way I was and how I had let myself go. Like many people said over and over again, BMI could mean nothing and how you feel about yourself is more important than the number. I was not happy, and I decided that I needed to do something.

The next couple of years had been a journey, and by the beginning of 2018 I was over 10kgs lighter. In the end of that journey I learned a lot, not about how to lose weight, but about health in general. I learn a lot of thing about myself, and start to discover myself more. I become more confident, and I also learned to cook — something that finally took me to another direction of my life.

I became a chef.

This is when things went downward pretty quickly.

While I was focusing on myself, I was treating myself like a precious possession. I took care of me, giving myself regular maintenance. Ate at regular time, observing what I was getting, and treating myself with junk food as … well.. a treat. Working as a chef…

Don’t get me wrong, I love that job so very much. I love how inclusive that job is. I love the people, and that I have made lots of friends there. I love learning new things, improving my knife skill. I love that the job has taken me so far, I actually worked for one of the best ever restaurants in Norwich. I was trained under one celebrity chefs in Britain.

The only downside of this job is… well two downsides of this jobs are:

1. I was always surrounded by food. Tasting, eating, and nibbling has become a constant as I was working. The physicality of the job, I suppose was fuelled mainly by the amount of butter which entered my system. Real butter, obviously. And obviously… it is so… so hard to resist.

2. This is the biggest downside, actually. My life stopped being regular. I did not have enough rest, I did not have enough sleep. Some restaurants I worked previously did not even offer a regular shift. It was so hard to eat regularly, or properly.

At the beginning I tried to resist over eating, I tried to bring healthier option to work, although I could no longer eat regularly like I was before I started working. But not eating for a prolonged time made me way hungrier when I actually had time to eat. I over compensate by thinking it was okay because I had a very physical job.

We all know the story… It was a slippery slope. And I let go. It wasn’t good.

I started to drink less water. Because I did not have enough sleep, I started to replace it with litres of coffee. I stopped paying attention of what I was eating. I started drinking alcohol a lot, and let loose with puddings.

When the COVID-19 lock down happened, like a lot of other people who stuck at home, I started to reassess a lot of things. And I have gone back to where I began. Not as bad, and with more knowledge, but…

Now I am at the same state… not very happy with how I look, or how I feel about myself. I don’t feel healthy, and I don’t think I look healthy. So I’ve decided, I have to start somewhere, and this time I will document it. Hopefully this is the last time I am doing it… and getting rid of it for good.

xx