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    Weekends weren't made for weight loss.

    I can see I'm going to have to be careful with myself on the weekends.  It's just too darned easy to let it all go and revert to the old ways of living life - the ways that were killing me before.

    Chances are this weekend created a zero-sum game for this week as the eating and drinking habits returned to their previous state.  Very little water.  Too much food of the wrong types.  This hasn't been a productive period for me.

    There is something to be said, though, about letting yourself go for a short time every so often.  That's the key though - it has to be for a set time of no longer than 24 hours or so.  And even then, some moderation should be observed.  After a week of eating grilled chicken, steak, and fish with veggies and whole carbs, a pepperoni pizza or burger and fried begins to look really enticing.  There's a reason behind the idea of taking a day off from the usual lean menu.  I'll touch on that idea in a sec.

    There are multiple ways to work in a free day (or cheat day) when eating to lose fat.  I've heard of some people doing it every Saturday or Sunday - eating what they want on that one day during the week.  Others might have a free day or cheat meal after they achieve some sort of goal - losing 10 pounds, fitting into a certain size pair of pants or dress, or staying clean in their diet for a certain period of time, for example.   I personally like having a certain day of the week that I can make decisions that allow me to splurge a little bit.  That way I've only got to tell myself  when temptation strikes, "You only have to wait until Saturday.  It's almost Saturday."  No matter where I am in the week, it's always 'almost Saturday'.

    Now, why the cheat meal or day off?  The way I've always thought of it is to think about a campfire.  When you first build the campfire, you have to put little pieces of kindling and leaves on it to build it up.  If you take a slow burning fire and drop a huge log on it, the fire just gets crushed out and can't burn the fuel being provided for it.  It's too much of a good thing.  Think of the body's metabolism in the same way.  When I just sat on my butt all day and ate crap, my metabolism was like an unattended fire that had died to a few glowing embers.  Every time I dropped a fast food meal or bag of chip


    s on my stomach, my already dull metabolism barely had the ability to consume the meal and ended just storing most of it on my butt and belly.  However, after working out for a week, my metabolism is amped up and burning like a fire that's been fed to grow.  Now on my cheat day, when I drop a big meal on my stomach, my body has the ability to burn up that heavy meal and not just store the overage as fat.

    The second good reason for the cheat day is it fools the body into believing it's not starving.  The body has this funny self-preservation mechanism - a feast or famine instinct if you will.  When food is plentiful, the body doesn't have a problem giving up stored body fat for fuel whenever it's called for.  So a week's worth of exercise is tolerated fairly well when at the end of that week there's a period of abundance which alerts the body to the fact that it's not a time of famine.  If one were to attempt a starvation-style diet with severely limited calories, the body would eventually go into preservation mode and desperately cling to stored fat - the opposite of what the dieter really wants.

    Finally, there's the psychology of it all.  If I had started this lifestyle change knowing that I would never again have a cheeseburger, fries, or soda, I would have quit long before I ever began.  It's just too impossible to conceive that I would go for an entire year without foods that I've come to love but are not so good for me.  Knowing that I only have to get to Saturday before I can let myself go a little makes Sunday through Friday a lot easier to endure.

    As it is, I actually had 2 off days this weekend.  I can't let that happen every weekend or I will undo a whole week's work in two days of oblivious consumption.  There's a 6-pack set of abs at the end of this rainbow, and I don't want to sacrifice progress with a lack of self-discipline.

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    Reader Comments (1)

    nice blog and thanks for posting

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