Why Wednesday – Why I Don’t Have a Cheat Day

I do NOT believe in Cheat Days.

But before anyone zones out or gets angry let me explain my point.

Recently I talked about the “4-Hour Body” book I was reading and how I did not agree with his statement that everyone should have a Binge Day each week. Not only do I thoroughly disagree with the phrase BINGE DAY, I also don’t agree with the concept of Cheat Days.

Lots of diet plans have a “cheat day.” It’s my understanding that Weight Watchers has a Cheat Day as well. Maybe they work for you. Maybe having a Cheat Day keeps you more motivated to lose weight the other 6 days of the week. But for me I’ve never liked the terms.

1. CHEAT DAY implies that I’m on a diet.

I am NOT on a diet. I’m not doing a fad diet or starvation diet in order to lose weight fast. I am changing my entire lifestyle. With changing my lifestyle that means I am changing all of my bad habits–like BINGEING.

I think the one thing I’ve been consistent with portraying on my blog is the fact that I live my life in a balanced way. I eat pizza, I eat dessert but I also exercise 5 days a week and I eat quality food most of the time. I think my life has changed for the better because of these things.

2. Cheat Day implies that I’m doing something NAUGHTY.

Like 6 days a week I deny myself food I want, eating carrots and celery and then one day a week I get SNEAK food and “cheat” on my diet (see statement #1), right?

I don’t think my healthy living lifestyle should have at it’s core SHAME or GUILT. And that’s exactly how I would feel if one day a week I binged on everything in sight just because I could.

3. I don’t want to live my life longing for my Cheat Day.

The most important part of the way I live my life at 144 pounds is eating the things I LOVE whenever I want. I balance those treats, snacks and splurges with regular, vigorous exercise and moderate eating throughout the day.

For example: I know that I will almost always eat more calories on a Saturday night than I will on a Tuesday night. So Saturdays are my days for a long workout. I have zero guilt about anything I eat on Saturdays because I know I worked out and I made healthy choices throughout the day before indulging in the Saturday Night Dinner.

4. I make healthy choices every day in order to “cheat” every day.

For example: I know that I will want dessert most nights. Instead of having a string cheese or extra handful of chips with lunch, or candy at work, I’d much rather save those 200 calories and eat them for dessert after dinner.

5. I don’t want to live my life where certain foods are FORBIDDEN.

That concept will just make me want that forbidden food more. Then I’ll obsess about it, crave it, think about how I can get that food. How is that a healthy, balanced way to live my life? I would much rather eat whatever food I want, in smaller portions, to satisfy a craving AND if I am truly hungry.

I suppose there are inherent “Cheat Days” already in the calender year: Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Thanksgiving…I could make an excuse to overeat almost every day if I wanted to. “It’s New Year’s Eve! Eat!” or “It’s the 4th of July! BBQ Time!” One burger on the grill with some fruit salad, a serving of potato chips and maybe some pickles tastes just as good as a BINGE event on a holiday. In fact, it probably tastes better eaten in moderation because I haven’t made myself feel sick overeating.

One argument FOR a cheat day by a lot of sources is that having one cheat day a week changes your metabolism because you shake up the caloric intake and confuse your body into losing more weight. I think this is accurate. I’ve seen it many times every time I’ve hit a plateau in my weight loss journey.

My response to that? My caloric intake is different every single day, so I’m already “confusing” my body. Bingeing won’t give me any added benefits (and it will damage my self-esteem). I eat more calories on the days that I work out.  And even on days I work out, I eat varying calories depending on the activity I am doing. If it’s a Saturday and I’ve spent over an hour in the gym and burned 700+ calories, I’m going to eat almost 700+ calories more. But on days I swim and only burn 350 calories? I don’t always eat those 350 calories back.

In the end it’s a personal decision. If Weight Watchers works for people and they advocate “Cheat Days”, follow the program. I don’t do WW but I think they are a good program to lose weight the real way.

For me, I’d rather have a little bit of a treat every day instead.

QUESTION: How do you feel about “Cheat Days/Binge Days”? Do practice it?

Why Wednesday – Why You Should Try Supersets

Tuesday night after work I braved the possibly icy roads and freezing temps to hit the gym. I was fully anticipating it to be engorged with people trying to get in last minute-workouts but I was wrong!

And I actually got a parking spot IN THE LOT plus there were tons of treadmills open. Yay! Thanksgiving miracle. I was very happy to get a treadmill so quickly.

I ran out 2 miles at a decent pace for my rehab.

I was feeling pretty good despite the weird aches and pains I’d been having all weekend. I think maybe it was the cold weather affecting joints and ligaments? Anyways, after the Return to Running workout, I headed to the weights to do something a little different. Supersets!

What is a superset?

I’d been seeing the phrase “superset” all over the internet for awhile and finally decided to see what all the hub-bub was. And it’s been a great addition to my normal workout routine!

A superset is when you do two exercises, one immediately after the other, with NO REST in between the exercises. You can work the same muscle group or two different muscle groups.

Why does a superset work so well?

Because it adds intensity to your workout. I never realized that I was already doing a form of supersets when I would do my core work with the medicine ball. I start on the Row Machine and do a quick few minutes on that and then hop onto the mat to do the Russian Twist with the medicine ball. Then it’s back onto the row machine without stopping to rest. It’s fast, it’s fun and it spikes my heart rate like I was running! It’s incredible!

Supersets can be done with anything…you could do the Row Machine, then immediately do some sets of bicep curls, back to the Row Machine and add The Plank or push-ups; squats then lunges followed by push-ups; basically anything that gets your blood pumping.

Bonuses for Superset Routines:

1. It’s faster. Supersets are something I do when I’m short on time and cannot spend over a hour in the gym. Spiking my heart rate, doing intervals on the treadmill and then fast-weights has been my go-to-quick workout when I’m in a crunch.

2. It breaks up the same ol’ routine. Hitting a plateau happens with EVERY form of exercise. Even lifting weights for 4-6 weeks in a normal way I started to notice that the weights were too light and even if I increased the weight I wasn’t getting as sore the next day as I used to.

3. Confuse your body into losing. Focus on a certain muscle group for 2 -4 weeks before switching to a new muscle group. After you’ve hit all the muscles you would like take a few weeks off and return to a straight set workout plan for another 2-4 weeks.

Some Superset Examples I did last night:

Leg extension/leg curl/calf raise

Cable crossovers/push-ups

Squats/leg extensions

Ab Crunches/Leg raises

Doing the supersets last night broke up the monotony of weight lifting. I also REALLY felt the effects! My muscles were burning as I lifted and I struggled to complete a lot of the sets, but I did it!

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:21

Calories Burned: 585

It was a good workout and I braved the bitter cold to get back to my car. (By the way it was 19 degrees here in Portland this morning!) When I got home Michael made turkey burgers.

And yes it was the third night in a row I ate a burger. 😉

At least it wasn’t another Boca Burger…and we made sweet potato fries!

Dinner hit the spot. I burned a lot of calories yesterday but I didn’t have a ravenous hunger like I sometimes do. Weird.

I’m definitely taking a break from burgers for awhile.

QUESTION: Have you done supersets? What results did you see?