Reflections on Diet Cheating

This week and next, I am cheating on my diet. A little background: Since January 7th, my 25th birthday, I have been on the Atkins diet. I have lost 91 pounds, dropping from 411 to 320. I have never been as happy about my body and my self-image as I am now. However, after seven months on this diet, I was missing some of my longtime favorite foods. I chose these two weeks because they coincide with the end of my summer break from college and with my annual vacation time.

During the first week, I’m at home. I’ve had all sorts of forbidden foods this week – pizza rolls, peanut butter pie, homefried potatoes, ice cream, barbecue, Coke. You know what I realized during this week? I didn’t miss any of this stuff nearly as much as I thought I had. Not a single item I ate during this week is worth weighing over 400 pounds. No food is worth that. Being on a regimented diet plan made me much more aware of everything I put in my mouth, and all these foods did was make me sick to my stomach and give me a headache. Why did I stuff myself with these things for years? Why did they seem so incredibly worthwhile for so long? How did I let food get such a level of control over me? How can so little a thing be so powerful? I was an emotional eater for a very, very long time. Food was the only comfort – the only stability in a very chaotic world. It isn’t any longer. I don’t live for eating anymore; I eat when I’m physically hungry, because my appetite is mostly gone. I don’t sit and disappear a whole box of crackers anymore. And I don’t miss any of these things. I don’t miss my formerly-beloved over-processed snackies. I don’t miss constantly nibbling. I don’t miss the blood sugar roller coaster.

Next week, I’m going to be in Manhattan, the foodie capital of the US. I’m looking forward to exploring all sorts of exotic foods I can’t get here, and on top of that, most of my Atkins-friendly foods are most easily prepared at home, as opposed to ordered at a restaurant. Although I will enjoy the experiences there, I am looking forward to getting home and getting back on track with my diet plan. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a diet where I regretted cheating. I want to get back on it and drop the 60 pounds I have left, to drop me to 260. Even after I drop to my goal weight, I think I’m going to stick with Atkins. Eating my old foods is making me feel ill – I have a headache, I can feel my blood sugar spiking and dropping, and even though I’m stuffed from my dinner, my mind is feeling hungry. I hate the feeling, and I think I might have a hard time making it two whole weeks.

So, anyone else have any cheating stories to share like this? Any other former food addicts out there have anything to tell? I expect this thread to drop like a stone, but I wanted to tell someone my revelation.

fatty fat fat pokes with stick

Ignore him, everyone. He’s my brother, and he can’t help it.

When is cheating considered to be a good thing? We should hurt you by telling you about how we failed our goals?

Bullshit. Go to New York, if you can’t find a good steak there, call the police. Taking a “break” from your diet means that you’re quitting. Anyone that helps you default on your promise to yourself, is not worth listening to.

Go to New York, stick to your diet, walk all the way around central park. Remember your trip as being a good thing, not as a lapse in judgement. You’ll not regret it.

Honestly, fuck that noise! Going on vacation is supposed to be fun, and a large part of fun for people that enjoy food is OMG eating! EATING POORLY AND TO AN EXCESS!! Yes, that’s right, we fat people are going to RUIN OUR LIVES by TAKING A BREAK and eating what we want while on vacation! O NOESS!!! Dude, seriously, taking a break and indulging every now and again is a good thing, especially on vacation to the ethnic food capitol of the world.

I don’t think it’d be so great to tour NYC and eat green veggies, cheese, and animals. I think that’d be a pretty shitty way to spend a vacation, actually. The two of us are so strict on our diet that we don’t even eat restaurant-prepared foods AT ALL while on it hardcore. Slaving over a hotplate in a Manhattan hotel while ignoring the wafting aroma of the curry joint next door sounds like a hellish way to spend 10 days that you’re supposed to be using for rest and relaxation.

Something about going grocery shopping and cooking your own food on vacation seems like a bad idea, and missing out on the food NYC has to offer would sort of be like not going to museums, famous landmarks, or theater. I mean, how would you justify the poor decision of spending that money you don’t usually spend on those luxuries?

Cliff’s notes: Vacation is supposed to be fully enjoyable, and I think what you’re suggesting sucks.

I honestly don’t get what you’re saying here. At all. I wanted stories from people who have cheated and realized the same thing I have: That it’s not worth it. That food simply ain’t that important. That my life does not revolve around dinner.

Shall I eat my steak en route in the car? Most Atkins-friendly foods are not good travel companions, unless you’re suggesting I eat beef jerky and pepperoni during the entire drive there. In addition, I’m not looking for justification. I have absolutely no plans not to return to my now-preferred foods. I don’t understand the vitriol in your post.

My trip is a good thing. It is not a lapse in judgment. I have planned to do the cheating for these two weeks since March, for God’s sake. I am on vacation. I do not want to spend my days cooking in the hotel room and wondering what the all-night Vietnamese place across the street tastes like.

I don’t know if you ever have been addicted to food. It was a crutch, an emotional necessity for me. The past 7 months have broken my need for it. I’m not addicted any longer, and the two weeks of cheating I’m in show me that. I’m happy that I’m not really enjoying my old habits. Do you understand more clearly what I’m saying now?

I hear you. I was never overweight, but I decided to start eating very clean and start bodybuilding. I can’t stand any of the ‘normal’ crap most people eat. It all tastes plastic and awful.

Congraulations, Bambi. I wish I had the willpower and dedication that you do but so far, every diet I’ve ever been on hasn’t worked. I still have too much of an emotional investment in food and I just like eating. It’s quite an obstacle to overcome and am happy that you seem to have done so.

Hm, New York City, vacation, atkins…
Sashimi until it pours out your ears [I adore sashimi]

There is an argentinian BBQ place, beast, in mass quantities, prepared in all sorts of interesting and atkins friendly ways

Seafood , IIRC there is a killer Legal Seafood in Grand Central Station. Lobster and butter is ultimate in atkins friendsl=) Shrimp, and cocktail sauce=)

Get an ultimate atkins chef salad - lobster, king crab meat, ginormous prawns and sauteed scallops on salad, with shavings of an excellent parmesan cheese and snippets of tillamuck cheddar cheese /drool

more sashimi [what can i say, i love the stuff=)]

[vader] COme to the dark side of atkins …[/vader]

Atkins is killer for those who are serious about good food…

It is a great time to have fun and learn a lot about cooking and meal planning=)

It isn’t all a meat-fest…the best way to do atkins is to understand that you take a realistic portion of a good quality meat - say a beautifully marbled 4 oz steak…marinate it with a great quality balsamic vinegar, freshly cracked szechuan pepper [or regular black pepper=)] fresh minced garlic, fresh minced oregano leaves, fresh minced thyme leaves, and a tiny bit of fresh hot pepper [heat to your taste=) my hubby would go for pequins if I would let him…]

Then concentrate on your sides…Today I feel like spinach, so I go to my window box of baby spinach and get about a cup or so of them and wash and destem them. I have some very nice french sweet radishes, some grape tomatoes, and some baby broccoli rabe from other windowboxes [I screwed up my back, and our beck railing has container gardens for me in windowboxes]

Make a salad of the veggies, grill up the steak and slice thinly, arranging on top, and I have some blue cheese I am going to crumble on, and a red wine vinaigrette made with walnut oil. I think I will go for broke and throw on some walnuts also.

Hm, took me all of about 5 minutes to throw the steak in the zippy bag of marinade,and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, all of 10 minutes to cook it, done while prepping the salad, about 5 minutes to slice up the steak…

If I hadn’t grown the veggies, call it about $3US of veggies, the steak is the expensive part at $8US a pound, so $2US for the steak=) probably $1US for the blue cheese, less than $1US for the walnut oil and walnuts, and the vinaigrette…

Hm, call it $6US for what you would get in a fancy place for $20…and a bit of time, and understanding how to menu plan for atkins=) protein in the form of meat, and about 2 cups total vegetation, with decent fiber and minimal carbs based on junk nutrition. If you are doing south beach, make a brown rice pilaf, and have about .5 cup on the side, or add some seriously multigrain/whole sprouted grain croutons=)

Seriously though, atkins can be wonderful if you are a sensualist like mrAru and I are, we have fun with food…and since you use sensible portions, frequently it can be fairly inexpensive - instead of chowing down on a 16 oz hunk o beast at $6US a pound, that same beast will make 4 portions of meat…and if you eat 2 cups of veggies with that 4oz of meat, and have kicked the sugar/junk carb addiction, your body will be very happy with its protein and complex carbs, and in general the fiber is more prevalent in the veggies, not the starches, so you frequently get more fiber than the average american, which has its own dfferent benefits=)

I think you’re doing a good thing. I lost quite a bit of weight on Weight Watchers, and I did it by following the plan to a T for three months, then taking a week off and eating everything I craved. During the week, I would find that I would run out of stuff that I wanted to eat, and that I just couldn’t do it in the quantities that I would have before I went on the diet.

Just don’t take too long off. Two weeks sounds good, especially with how much you’ve lost (congratulations, BTW! That’s amazing!). But if you go for too much longer than that, you might used to not eating well, and it will be harder to get back into it. That’s what happened to me when I hit my goal weight, and I really have to get back into it, because I’ve been creeping back up.

One of WW’s tenets is that if you never have the foods you crave, you will never be able to stick to the diet. I have found that to be 100% true, despite what **dnooman ** might think.

No can do.

For one, I don’t have any appreciable skill as a cook or even a functioning stove at the moment so I’m stuck eating easily prepared meals for the time being, which is a bit of an obstacle to anyone who’s on Atkins, to put it mildly.

For another, I just like some carbohydrates too much. Rice (when I have the means to cook it) and bread are an integral part of my diet and I refuse to give them up.

And finally, to be totally honest, Atkins annoys me. I do not mock anyone who is on it, especially if it has worked for them, but the current craze is inundating to the point of pique.

I find that I have to agree with you on how all of a sudden industry is jumping on the band wagon…it is just as bad as the lofat, lite and losodium foods that we endured so many commercials for…especially since most of the foods they are flogging you don’t actually need…instead of eating sweets, i just avoid the heavily sucralosed icecream, and have raspberries or strawberries with clotted cream=) instead of eating the premade dinners, i make food ahead and package and freeze it myself…

What cooking facilities do you have available? Most cooking is actually very simple…I bet if you had a foremans grill, and running water you could make the steak on greens I described=) There are a number of good vinaigrettes available, instead of making one yourself, you could buy a good commercial one…and making a marinade is simplicity=) dump everything into a zippy bag, seal it and shake the heck out of it and drop the meat in and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours=)

Heck, I cooked for 10 people for 2 weeks with a hot plate and a toaster oven, and an oversized cube fridge, nothing is insurmountable=)

I’m only 22 so I’m a bit young to think of the low sodium and low fat fads of the Eighties and early Nineties as… well, fads. To me, they’re normal… I grew up with them.

All I have right now is an oven and a severely limited imagination. Up until three months ago, I never had to worry about feeding myself as I had someone else (usually my mom) to do it for me. I’m still trying to figure out the whole fire makes food good thing although I have been taught how to make broiled vegetables with balsamic vinagrette that I eat a few times a week. It’s ambrosial.

Word. I just got back from vacation with exactly this situation. I have a race coming up with a weight category so I’m on a strict diet. So on vacation, I wound up buying and eating cottage cheese, steamed kale, and tuna while my whole family had yummy home-made blueberry pie and other good stuff. Totally sucked.

Don’t worry about a week or two, you’ll make it up later on. And while you’re in New York, try Ethiopean. Yum…

Everything you posted is good Atkineer food. But, I can’t get Atkins-friendly pho, or tom kha gai, or naan, all of which I love and all of which I intend to eat while there. The past 7.5 months, I have cheated exactly once before – Dan and I went to a local Chinese place and went a little nuts with the dumplings and the fried rice. Atkins has helped me remove my emotional investment (thanks for the phrase, Aes – that’s exactly what I meant) from eating. I don’t attach the importance to it that I used to. The last time I lost this much weight, it was through an unsustainable-over-the-long-term method. It was ultimately unhealthy and I was unhappy the entire time. Part of my reason for going off these two weeks was to see if the temptation to return was there. It is not – I truly have the feeling that this time is going to last.

I’m also tired of seeing the “lo-carb” shit everywhere. The whole point of the Atkins Nutritional Approach is to eat natural, minimally-processed foods. No refined carbohydrates, limited complex carbohydrates, meats, dark green vegetables, nuts, and berries. Most of the lo-carb products aren’t at all appropriate for someone adhering to Atkins anyway – Dr Atkins did not intend for me to stop eating sugar-sweetened cookies and start eating maltitol- and xylitol-based “cookies” with ingredient lists that require a degree in organic chemistry to decode.

Mithril, I also am discovering that my list of “missed” foods is a lot shorter than I thought it would be, and that I don’t (can’t!) eat nearly as much as I used to. I’m doing this week at home because I wanted to prove to myself that I had lost my emotional dependence on food. Next week, there is no way that anyone would be able to talk me out of going off diet; an integral part of the vacation experience is the local cuisine.

Also, Aes, I’m not trying to convert you, but all I cook with is a flat-top griddle (Rival, $29 @ Target) and a microwave. Steaks, chops, chicken, zucchini, and others all go on the flat-top, the rest of the vegetables get micro-steamed from frozen. It takes no skill to do a steak on a flat-top – sprinkle some seasoning or marinade on the steak, preheat the griddle to 350, cook each side for 5-7 minutes, eat. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach or a small salad on the side and you’ve got dinner. That same griddle is the best way to make bacon / sausage and eggs for breakfast, or to cook chicken to throw into an entrée salad. Sometimes, I get nuts and make egg drop soup.

on preview: Depending on which vegetables and what’s in the vinagrette, that could be an Atkineer meal. If you want to try it for a couple or three weeks, let me know – I can tell you what I eat, and how to make it. None of it takes more than 20 minutes to make, and it’s all pretty tasty. BTW, I understand the “no time, no budget” thing all too well. I’m a retail countermonkey and full time college student, so I’m right there with you on that.

MMM! Steamed KALE! Hold me back. :wink:

This is what I mean. I love this diet, but I’m not going to the foodie capital and not getting a little nuts.

Bambi. I want to thank you for sharing your story. Can I briefly share mine? I live alone in a small apartment in Ohio away from my family who lives in the South. Five days ago I started a low-calorie regiment because I am determined to make a visible difference in my size and weight before school starts in 24 days. Time and again this week I have been tempted to stop my new diet plan, to eat a little something to satisfy a hunger pang-- even to just clean out my refrigerator and cabinents of all the “bad” food before starting. Instead I put everything I shouldn’t be eating in the freezer or bagged up the dry goods in a remote cabinent in the kitchen. In my daily routine I have become sooo much more aware of how much people eat, eat, eat and how much TV advertising revolves around fast food, junk food and soda beverages.

This is me after only five days. YOU are an inspiration to me because of what you accomplished after nine months. I’m so impressed by your efforts and a little intimidated I won’t match your willpower.

One of the reasons I’ve decided to tackle this problem is I was so ashamed of my weight that skipped my family reunion this year because I didn’t want my family to see how big I’d gotten since the last reunion I attended two years ago. I recently traveled by plane and was astounded that I could barely fit into the seat-- I didn’t want to go through THAT again. So I made up some exaggerated excuses to my family and basically have regretted it ever since. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, I want to see my family again – with unnannounced evident weight loss so I can enjoy their surprise and the holiday meals and camaraderie guilt free. Like you, I plan to get right back on my diet come January 1, 2005 and continue until I reach my weight goal (the size I was in high school 15 years ago).

So, no: I don’t think you’re “cheating” on your diet as long as you have every intention of going right back to your regiment. You’re just vacationing… so enjoy yourself. I daresay you’ve earned a break. I expect your own conscience will chastise you for even contemplating excessive eating far more than any of us will.

Take very good care of yourself.

Bambi, I think you’re doing the right thing. I do it myself, actually.

In March I weighed 236. I decided this was too heavy (I’m 5’9") and resolved to go on a diet. I’m not adhering to a particular diet plan other than to count my calories and eat only what I need.

However, I also resolved not to deny myself foods I like—as long as I maintain my goal of losing weight in the long term, that is. Occasionally I’ll have ice cream. Or a chocolate bar. It’s good for me; I don’t think about those foods all the time if I occasionally treat myself. I just work it into the daily plan. The long-term goal is what’s important, and I think you’ll do just fine.

Welcome aboard, Askia! You’ve taken the first, most important step – you’ve decided to make a change. It truly is astonishing, how food-centric TV and other media advertising is, isn’t it? You don’t realize how much food (and how much non-nutritive junk food) is peddled all day long until you sit back and look for it. It’s not at all surprising that Americans are as fat as they are. We drive everywhere – no one walks, unless they live in an urban core – and we are constantly bombarded with ads for junk.

You want to know what did it for me? Size 60 pants. Size 60. (I’m male, BTW. AFAIK, women’s pants stop somewhere ~30.) I’ve dropped now to a far more reasonable 46, TYVM. I’ve also gone from a 5x shirt size to a 2x. In addition to fitting better and feeling better, these clothes are a heck of a lot cheaper.

I will try. And you as well. Don’t use anyone else’s results as a benchmark for yours. As long as you are making progress, as long as you feel better about yourself and your body, you’re doing good.

Fish, you and I are the same height, but we must be built very differently. I have a body fat analyzer, and according to it, my lean body mass is 228. If I weighed 236, then I would only be carrying (a very unhealthy) 3% body fat. My current goal is 260 - 270, which would put me at an average 12 - 15%. Right now, I weigh 320, so 50 - 60 pounds to go.

I have progress pictures here on my PC, and I might post them later.