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Are “Cheat Days” OK?

As weight loss experts, people don’t usually ask how they can lose weight…

…they instead say "what do YOU eat?  Do you ever eat anything "bad"?  What’s your favorite cheat meal?"

truth about cheat mealsAnd this again happened the other day when we were presenting in California at the IDEA Conference.  After our talk, someone asked … are "Cheat Days" OK?

To be honest, we’re not fans of talking about "cheat" meals …

…maybe it’s just semantics, but we prefer to call it a splurge.

Cheat implies bad.  You’re sneaking food, hiding in the corner eating it, maybe keeping it hidden from your co workers in your desk so you can "sneak" it as if you’re bad.

On the flip side, splurge implies you enjoy a meal then get right back to where you were without worrying. 

The Splurge foods are part of the 10% of what we recommend in our 90/10 rule (eat clean 90% of the time and leave the other 10% to let down the reins, so to speak).  If you do the math, that comes out to a couple meals each week.  Maybe use this for when you go with your spouse or friends.  Or for a lunch meeting at work. 

Just plan that splurge into your week like you would plan anything else.  Planning is the key to success!

But keep that positive mindset.  Food shouldn’t be about hiding, cheating, lying, or sneaking…

We need to enjoy what we eat. eat pasta and lose weight

With that said, here are our favorite ‘splurges’:

For Chris: Pizza or homemade lasagna, with crusty Italian bread and good olive oil.  Pizza is a little easier than making lasagna, but they’re both in the same realm of "splurge" foods.

For Kara: Wine and pasta with homemade sauce and meatballs and great Italian bread with olive oil.

For Ella: Well, she hasn’t quite gotten there yet, but we’ll surely report back.

So what’s your favorite splurge food?

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15 Responses to Are “Cheat Days” OK?

  1. Mark Shields May 14, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    I go for Red Baron fire baked pepperoni pizza with about a dozen chocolate cookies n milk afterwards.

  2. Tammi T May 14, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    My favorite “splurge” involves whole wheat bread and butter. I LOVE toast. However, to turn those ingredients into a quick “meal” I will add some fresh organic cheddar, fabulous nitrates free bacon, tomato slices and grilled onions for an out of this world grilled cheese.

    There is a reason I don’t bake bread (or buy a loaf of bread) on a regular basis.

  3. Kate May 14, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    My favorite splurge…
    Lamb burgers made with feta cheese, wheat crusted pizza, and seafood risotto.
    Dessert…HOT lava cake with homemade icecream..yum!

  4. Mark May 14, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Pancakes from Waffle House

  5. Melissa K May 14, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    My favorite splurge is chocolate or rainbaow sprinkles….by the cup!!!

  6. Amy Holley May 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Just about anything Italian … but I will trade meat for lots and lots of parm! Definitely need hot crusty bread, olive oil and vino!

  7. Noel Seals May 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    Any local fast food combo…. :( sometimes I feel like a junkie….

  8. Tangila August 17, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Dr. Mohrs,
    Have you guys weighed in yet on the 17 Day Diet?

    • Chris and Kara Mohr August 17, 2011 at 7:17 am #

      We haven’t read it … the title “17 day diet” turns us off because it’s implying short term.

      • Tangila August 17, 2011 at 7:31 am #

        It is actually broken up into four 17-Day cycles. They use the concept that it takes 21 days for your body to adjust so they stop short of it to “trick” your body from adapting. I have a co-worker here at LG&E that has lost a total of 25 pounds and hasn’t put any of it back on. I usually don’t like fad diets and value your opinion. Thanks!
        BTW, my favorite Splurge food is also PIZZA! :)

        • Chris and Kara Mohr August 17, 2011 at 7:34 am #

          I’d have to read it before commenting, but it’s on my list … like to keep up with all of them.

  9. betsy August 17, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    My favorite splurge is a vegan cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes in LA!

    • Tangila August 17, 2011 at 7:40 am #

      Betsy, have you ever tried the Vegan cupcakes at Whole Foods?! I’ve never had Yummy Cupcakes but these are delicious as well!

  10. Chris August 17, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Homemade blueberry pancakes. Also Dr. Mohr, do you recommend a “splurge” meal for all of your clients? I am just curious because some of the clients I work with there “splurge” meals will lead to other unplanned splurges during the week.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr August 17, 2011 at 7:50 am #

      Great question — it’s something we’d talk about. You’re right that it may be a downward spiral, but on the flip side, I don’t want something thinking they are going to eat 100% perfectly every single meal and snack (whatever “perfectly” means). That too is unrealistic.

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