Getting the hang of ‘cheat day’

I didn’t have a great loss last week on the Slow Carb Diet — just .2 pound, and it literally took me all week to get there. But I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of Cheat Day*, enough so that my day-after weight spike was a “mere” 3.4 pounds instead of 5-6 pounds.

Obviously I still had plenty to eat. But the big difference was that I was looking to enjoy some favorite foods rather than trying to devour things. Some examples of the mindset shift:

— On my first Cheat Day two weeks ago, I consumed an entire 4-ounce Hershey’s bar with almonds. Whereas this Saturday I had one square of 85% dark chocolate so I could save room for other things.

— I knew I wanted ice cream at some point in the day, but again, wanting to save room — and focusing on taste rather than quantity — I ordered a kid-sized chocolate Frosty rather than a larger size.

— Part of the fun of Cheat Day is picking up a junk food impulse purchase while I’m at the store. I settled on a seasonal treat, a candy corn and pumpkins autumn mix. Rather than feeling driven to devour the entire bag, I ate what I wanted and set the rest aside for next week’s Cheat Day. Or maybe the one after that, who knows?

— I know that I’m going to want some kind of bread on Cheat Day, but I don’t need to have, for example, both a homemade cinnamon roll AND some freshly baked homemade bread. (I settled for a hybrid, which sounds weird but worked for me: a nice hunk of bread topped with leftover caramel icing. Basically a cinnamon roll without the butter and cinnamon sugar you spread on the dough both before and after you roll it up.)

— I no longer think I have to have pizza on Cheat Day. (I did have a couple of slices of the Little Cesar’s we got for the kids before heading out to a colleague’s going away party, but I wasn’t craving it before the box was opened in my presence and probably could’ve lived without it for another week.)

— Finally, given that I was feeling full when we got to the upscale bar where the party was held, I didn’t bother stuffing myself with a dinner I didn’t want or need. Instead I had a couple of drinks (including a bartender’s recommendation off the 100-varieties-of-bourbon list), then ordered an appetizer (jalepeno poppers) later on.

So, yeah, I ate way more than needed and an awful lot of it was crap. (I forgot to mention sneaking a slice of Ben’s key lime pie he earned on a moving job when we got home shortly before midnight.)

But I never ate myself into a state of misery at any point in the day, and I’m starting to perceive that even on Monday, it’s just not that long until the next Cheat Day. (The older I get, the better appreciation I have for how fast time moves.)

*Last week I said I was going to start calling it “Treat Day” rather than Cheat Day, since it doesn’t feel like cheating if it’s programmed into the diet. I think that name is a better fit for my evolving mindset as well. However, given that this diet is fairly widely known, as is its terminology, I’ve discovered that change didn’t really stick.

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