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

Weigh In Wednesday (week 1)

So, it would be nice to know how am I doing so far. But why Wednesday though?

It doesn’t have to, but it is always better to pick a day of the week for weighing in. Any day would do. A lot of people do it on Wednesday because it has a nice ring to it, just like Throwback Tuesday, or Manic Monday. But I digress.

There is one good reason to pick a specific day of the week when you do your regular weigh in. One is consistency. Your weight would fluctuate during the week because of your activities around it. If you are working during the weekdays, and you want to spend time on a drinking night out with your friends on Saturdays, you will see the number going up and down during those days.

This is also to save you from going insane. Picking a day of the week, and banning yourself to touch that scale on other days will stop you from thinking about your weight loss program constantly. It means you will not see the fluctuation (which is normal when you are doing this), and you will not sweat over mini anomalies which is not significant on the big picture.

image source: Pexels

For me, Sundays used to be the heaviest, because my husband would be home all day on Saturdays and we will have meals which loaded with salt. Which retains water. Which makes me heavier. And normally, all of those would disappear on Monday morning. But I would freak out if I weigh myself every day because I would think that I am not losing weight, when in reality I was just fussing over a flux.

Also, for the sake of being consistent, it is always advisable to weigh yourself roughly at the same time of the day. I find it more convenient to weigh in first thing in the morning after morning pee. I don’t know whether the peeing is significant to the result, but that’s what I always do. Your weight also fluctuates during the day, so weighing yourself every couple of hours is really unhealthy for your mental well being.

If you want to have an accurate report on your weight loss progress, always use the same scale, and weigh yourself at roughly the same spot. Weight scales behave differently when placed on a different place and surface. Make sure you’re placing your scale on a hard, and flat surface. Don’t hold on anything when you’re weighing yourself, and stand straight.

I found digital scale as more accurate, so perhaps it is worth investing in a good digital scale if you are planning to do this on a long run.

Right, now enough babbling… let’s see how’s my first week has gone.

Last week: 62.1kg

This week: 61.0 kg

That’s a 1.1 drop in a week, and I am very pleased with the result. However I need to point out that this is probably water weight, so I haven’t necessarily lose all the fat that I need to lose. It means, I might not be able to see any changes in the mirror yet.

But day is long, and we have a goal to achieve.

xx

What is BMI, BMR, and TDEE

As you are digging more information about weight loss, and how to do it safely and healthily, you will at some point stumble upon these: BMI, BMR, and TDEE, amongst other confusing jargon. But if you are just starting, in my personal opinion, these three is what to look out first.

BMI (Body Mass Index)

Many health practitioners use this a way to decide whether you are on a healthy weight. You can calculate it manually by dividing your weight in kg by your height in meters squared. I heard that you can do it in imperial measurement, but I like metrics and found metric system usually more accurate. Anyway… you can always use BMI calculator anyway.

THIS is the one from NHS, UK.

Now, how are you using this data to decide whether you are within the healthy weight?

Generally you are considered as underweight if your BMI is under 18.5kg/m2, and overweight if you are above 25kg/m2, and obese if it’s above 29kg/m2. Anything in between 18.5 – 25kg/m2 is considered as a healthy BMI.

NHS admitted that BMI has its limitation. It doesn’t count for other factors such as muscle mass (body builder is significantly heavier but have a very lean muscle), ethnicity (Asians have higher proportions of body fat, so the overweight BMI actually started at 23, instead of 25), gender, etc.

Some people have ditched this BMI concept, or try to ditch it because it is considered as an archaic way of measurement, but I have to say that until today it is still relevant for general public. If you are a sports person, you generally don’t need this anyway because you have millions of way and experts to take care of your fitness level and health. But if you are just an average people, BMI and its flaws is still one of the best approach to measure your health.

healthy weight chart
image source NHS

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

You need energy to live. Generally we associate energy/calorie with activities like walking, running, carrying baby up and down the stairs while carrying three bags of groceries at the same time. However we rarely realise that we also need energy to keep our body to function well.

If we translate Basal Metabolic Rate to easier words to understand, it means the basic energy rate of changing food into energy.

The other way to explain it is that if you are bed bound, and unconscious, your BMR number shows the amount of energy your body needs to keep you alive, and your organs to function properly.

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image source pexels

The million dollar question is how are you going to use this data to aid your weight loss program? Depends on the situation some people can eat below their BMR safely. People who are doing intermittent fasting has gone below BMR regularly, and it serves them very well with their weight loss. 

However generally, BMR is used alongside TDEE to decide how much your calorie allowance is.

TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

Almost self explanatory really. Basically BMR+ the approximation of the energy you will need for your daily activities. Imagine a twin with exactly same height and weight, and body fat percentage. One is a chef, who’s working all day on their feet, and the other is a banker, who’s working sitting down. The chef will have a higher TDEE based on his job.

But that’s not all, the chef drives to work, but the banker bike to work. Now the banker has a higher TDEE because of his daily cycling. Everybody’s TDEE is different based on their activity level, means more active people can basically eat more too.

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image source pexels

The rule of thumb is that you can lose weight safely and healthily if you are consuming calories above your BMR but below your TDEE. That is the simplistic way to approach it, but that is the easiest way to explain. If you are eating more than your TDEE your extra calorie is then going to be stored in your body as that extra kilo. This… works for people who wants to gain weight too.

How do you know your BMR and TDEE? There are plenty sources that provides calculator, but my favourite is this.

If you’re just started and not sure how to decide your own calorie allowance, MyFitnessPal can calculate it for you and suggest the safe calorie goal for you too.

Hope that helps, and good luck with that goal jeans…

xx

 

sources:

Asian BMI — https://www.runsociety.com/bmi-calculator/

NHS BMI — https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/

BMR/TDEE calculator — https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/