Why cheat day is worth it – even after a 7-POUND one-day gain

I don’t always let myself go as much as I did this past Saturday, but I was in the mood for a no-holds-barred cheat day and I went for it – only to wake up 7 pounds heavier Sunday morning.

I’m not agonizing about it, because I now know what goes up will come back down as long as I stick to my usual weekday plan (mostly based on the Slow Carb Diet, customized a bit with a  nuts-and-cheese lunch here and a Greek yogurt/blueberries/raw oats breakfast there. As long as my day’s carb total is pretty low, I’m not too worried about it).

Now, there are good reasons to avoid gluttony on a weekly basis, but this has been an interesting and enlightening experience for a recovering food addict like myself. I know I’m going to binge on occasion – that’s been a constant both during and after my 2010 weight loss – so it seems like a major improvement to be able to predict when that’s going to happen and not feel all helpless and defeated when I’m blindsided by my inner pig.

Here are some other benefits of cheat day that I’ve experienced:

*After going six days at a stretch without any sugar – not even natural fruit sugars – I find myself getting sick from overdoing it on sweets. That NEVER used to happen. Before, I  was aware of a sugar rush, but it was more like “Weeeee!!!” Whereas now it’s more like, “Ugggghhh!”

*It’s the same with feeling too full. This never used to bother me too much, but increasingly I’ll reach a point where I simply can’t fathom eating another bite. This is unprecedented in my experience.

*Probably the best part, though, is how my desire to “earn” a cheat day simply shuts down that “sneak a little taste” impulse at other points in the week. I’m amazed that I can make cinnamon rolls or a birthday cake and not nibble as I work, knowing that A) I can have as much as I want if I’m willing to wait a day or two,  and B) If I have a little bit during during the week then I don’t get a cheat day, when I could have a lot.

My single biggest coup from the past week was baking a decadently rich apple cake for Colleen’s birthday and not gobbling up the crumb pieces from the part that inevitably falls apart and must be “glued” together with caramel icing. Instead, I just popped the fragments that normally would’ve tempted me into a bag and set it aside for Saturday, when I ate them on top of ice cream topped with some of that leftover caramel icing.

*Finally, it should be noted that while I haven’t lost any weight over the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve maintained my earlier 8-pound loss as I experiment with tweaking this diet to fit my own tastes and needs.

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