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Cheat Days
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brother3

Dr Darden,

During your presentation this past weekend you touched on a topic about cheat days and how they were not good for you because of what they did to the fat cells in the long run. Could YOU briefly explain why that is not good for clients to do.

Thank you,
Brother3
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Ellington Darden

If you are trying to teach a new behavior, break an old habit (or even an addiction), research shows that you must condition the body and the mind through what's been termed overlearning.

For the best results from overlearning, you must practice the new behavior, or avoid the old behavior, continuously on a daily basis for approximately 100 days . . . or perhaps even longer.

As I was stating in my presentation, you can do a pretty good job of establishing new eating behaviors in 21 days, better in 42 days, and even better in 84 days, which is 12 weeks.

To throw a cheat day into the line-up, simply upsets the system -- and psychologists say you must start over at day 1.

After 84 days of continuous dieting, then perhaps a cheat day would be worthwhile.

Ellington
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seanoz

Dr D,

When you say worthwhile, do you mkean of benefit for the individual? After that duration and proper discipline is it then something that can help them?

I have never been a big supporter of those that say diet for 6 out of 7 days and I get so frustrated by those clients that say "you have to have your pleasures" etc. cause they are just NOT being disciplined, and are just justifying the WRNOG attitude, and making their problematic behaviour sound acceptable.

I am making up some diets for my clients now, and wanting to shape them with these durations in mind, I want to advise them about this kind of thing, about how they MUYST remain focused or they can forget about a long term change.

Can you elaborate a little on maybe how they can feel penalised or rewarded for maintaining the diet for certain periods?

Sean.
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Ellington Darden

Sean,

After 84 days, perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, a cheat day would be worthwhile. But on the other hand, perhaps it would NOT be a good idea.

It depends on the circumstances and the psychological make up of the dieter.

The idea to move toward in dieting is to eventually "be in charge" of what goes into your mouth. You must understand, and know how to combat, your personal trigger points . . . the triggers that lead to overeating.

So, after 84 days of dieting, if you in fact do understand your personal trigger points, then a cheat meal would be something that you could deal with quite well. And doing so would be meaningful, at least once in a while.

Ellington
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seanoz

Thanks Dr Darden,

I guess it reminds us how critical the psychology component of training and assisting people is.

Regardless of physical potential or goals, if they are not 'intending' to make change, then it won't happen.

There was a book where you mention, BE DO and HAVE, I can't remember who you ascribed that too, I think it was in the back of a Nautilus Book edition, or was it "two Weeks.."?, but I think that speaks volumes.

If they are not going to BE hungry AND progressive in their training, then their weight is NOT going to change in a positive manner, they will DO things that causes them to fail to achieve the change they seek and will end up HAVING more issues than before!

But if you BE hungry and lean and DO train correctly you will HAVE a great physique.

Sean.
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Tom71

The trigger point concept is interesting. For me, and I don't know if this qualifies as a trigger point, socialized eating is the biggest problem. Not that I'm gorging or eating crap every time I'm with someone, but there is a definite tendency to eat more and worse when I'm not by myself. Actually, by myself I almost never eat crappy foods or to excess.

Tom

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Ellington Darden

Tom,

Yes, I would classify social eating as a potential trigger point.

Ellington
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Coma

Illinois, USA

I agree that you need to establish new habits before using cheat meals. When I was a 270lb. fatty I tried to use a cheat meal once a week. But one cheat meal just led to an entire cheat day, which totally throws you off when you have a lot of fat to lose. Now that I'm fairly lean I will have a cheat meal once a week. And since I've established good habits now I feel completely satisfied after one meal and I have no problem getting right back to eating right.

I do cut out cheat meals before a contest, I have no cheat meals the last month. The worst cravings for cheating comes when I have a contest. This is not something I recommend but right after my last contest I went out and ate an order of mozzarella sticks, an entire large pizza and a pitcher of Pepsi myself. I woke up the next day and was six pounds heavier. I know I was just holding more water but I looked just as lean as the day before.
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eintology

California, USA

seanoz wrote:
Thanks Dr Darden,

I guess it reminds us how critical the psychology component of training and assisting people is.

Regardless of physical potential or goals, if they are not 'intending' to make change, then it won't happen.

Sean.


I agree, very important. When this discussion comes up about how the body works and recovers as a system, no matter how "new age" this sounds, a big part of this is the interaction between mind and body. You can't make the seperations otherwise. Who get's a profound result when they are training numb, and just kind of going through the motions?

Even with the ongoing dialogue regarding Casey Viator and the Colorado Experiment.... Think of the tremendous focus and motivation someone would have when placed in that type of situation. Within you will find a huge factor in the end result.

Purely for the sake of example ... I was already lean at the time, but just as an experiment of focus, and to experience the relevance again, I lost fourteen pounds after reading about AMG's discipline, which also coincided with Drew posting a body fat challenge. It was really nothing more than a shift of focus.

So yes, for someone concerned about the physical condition, this whole cheat day mentality conflicts with what I would connsider to be positive goal reinforcement. It's of course a very personal subject, but I think for the most part, on an individual, as well as a societal level, we would be far better off losing the food instant gratification symbol, while finding another avenue for reward.

Erik
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jack32

Dr. Darden,
i've eaten the same way for probably 10 years now.
basically, low carbs daily w/ ample protein and fat, and then more carbs at dinner-- salad and veggies with chicken, for example.
low calories on monday and a little more, in general, from tuesday to friday.
friday night treat-- multi grain crust pizza.
a little more food on saturday, with my BIG treat being fresh soft pretzels from our local pretzel store.
sunday treat-- dreamfield's pasta with low fat penne vodka sauce. again, i'll overeat a bit.

i always have the big weekend carb loads in the evening, never during the day
at the end of the week, i look for total calories to be at 21,000 (3000 daily).
i count calories every SINGLE day and at this point (age 50), no problems at all with weight or bodyfat.
oftentimes, when i know that i'll be consuming more cals, due to foods such as pizza and pretzels, i'll eat about 500 to 700 cals from sunup to sundown, and then chow down in the evening.

i've eaten as much as 3000 cals from 5pm to 9pm during these weekend splurges.
as long as i stay within that weekly calorie range of 21,000, i'm fine.
i don't even do aerobics.
just train on my bowflex and powertec.


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Tobes

I think a lot depends on how you look at cheat days or cheat meals. If you look at it as an excuse to throw caution to the wind and spend an entire day gorging yourself with everything that doesn't run away from you, it could easily undo all the good work and careful eating you do during the week.
If you look at a cheat meal as another meal that's built into your plan, just like every other meal, it might work better.
In the last two years I've regularly eaten cheat meals while I've gone from 299 to 215. To be honest, I don't think I could have made it this long without them. If you tell somebody that they can't have pizza, ice cream, beer or whatever their major weakness is for 6 weeks or longer, who's kidding who?
If you can show them how to have occasional, very occasional, treats as part of the plan (perhaps balancing out the rest of the day so they don't completely overshoot their calorie requirements) maybe there would be a better chance of long-term success.
If you take an all-or-nothing approach, you're just setting yourself up for failure.
As one of my favorite TV characters, Stan of South Park, said "All or nothing is easy. Discipline comes from within."
This article on Clarence Bass' site has a lot of truth in it:

http://www.cbass.com/...zlo'sLetter.htm
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Ciccio

jack32 wrote:
Dr. Darden,
i've eaten the same way for probably 10 years now.
basically, low carbs daily w/ ample protein and fat, and then more carbs at dinner-- salad and veggies with chicken, for example.
low calories on monday and a little more, in general, from tuesday to friday.
friday night treat-- multi grain crust pizza.
a little more food on saturday, with my BIG treat being fresh soft pretzels from our local pretzel store.
sunday treat-- dreamfield's pasta with low fat penne vodka sauce. again, i'll overeat a bit.

i always have the big weekend carb loads in the evening, never during the day
at the end of the week, i look for total calories to be at 21,000 (3000 daily).
i count calories every SINGLE day and at this point (age 50), no problems at all with weight or bodyfat.
oftentimes, when i know that i'll be consuming more cals, due to foods such as pizza and pretzels, i'll eat about 500 to 700 cals from sunup to sundown, and then chow down in the evening.

i've eaten as much as 3000 cals from 5pm to 9pm during these weekend splurges.
as long as i stay within that weekly calorie range of 21,000, i'm fine.
i don't even do aerobics.
just train on my bowflex and powertec.




I'm with you, JAck. And except I own only a powertec (no bowflex) and are only 38 this year, I have almost the same eating habits. If I overeat one day, I safe calories the next. Big evening meals seem even to boost my energy levels for the next day.
Big breakfests never appealed to me.

You and me seem to do well on such a schedule but I am aware that for others it may be difficult to have the discipline to keep it with one cheat day only let alone to be consistent on an seemingly inconsistent schedule like we have.

Franco

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