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Thread: How do you view/deal-with *cheats*

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    How do you view/deal-with *cheats*

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    I hear the term *cheat* bandied about a lot on the forums and I was wondering about different people's viewpoints on *cheating* in your *diet* (way of eating, lifestyle, whathaveyou . . . for the purposes of this post I mean the term diet simply to outline *the food you choose to eat* and the term cheat as any deviation from that baseline).

    For me I tripped over the idea of cheats and cheating for the better part of two decades, because the negative connotation of the idea really did hold me back, made me feel like I was failing, whathaveyou. If I deviated from my diet I had cheated myself somehow.

    Then a couple of years ago I heard someone on these forums use the term *indulgence* and my thinking kinda underwent a paradigm shift.

    I know its just words. Semantics. But for me the term cheat carried with it the idea of sabotage or self betrayal, while the term indulgence carried permission and the idea of making a conscious choice rather than just giving in to old habits.

    And the more I thought about it the more I realized that that was where the difference between success and failure really lay for me. Not in the words. But in the definitions. I'm still careful with my words because words can affect our mindset, but once I had that little epiphany it was the definitions that I found really mattered.

    For me, if I am making a conscious decision to deviate from my diet, my chosen way of eating, whether it be to indulge a craving or to embrace a family tradition, or because I'm out with friends and I really don't care to stress over whether or not the chef added soy oil to my seared scallops. To me that's an indulgence. A select, one-time deviation from the norm.

    It's when I catch myself starting a pattern of such choices to where I'm indulging too frequently or not even thinking before making the choice to deviate that I know I'm *cheating* . . . and that's where things get muffed up for me. When it stops being a singular specific choice and starts to become an almost unconscious habit. That's where my success invariably comes unravelled.

    So I try to be careful and actively *decide* when to deviate from the norm and not let myself regularly get caught between having to choose the lesser of two evils.

    So how do you do cheats/indulgences? Is it a very strict, special occasion kind of thing? A case by case decision making process? Or do you do just fine playing fast and loose? Or something else entirely?
    Last edited by brahnamin; 07-11-2012 at 05:07 AM. Reason: to bold that last bit - no content change

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    One thing I don't understand is that when a person who decides a certain food makes them ill or has negative aspects to eating it, occasionally eats that food and calls it a treat. It's a treat to feel bad from your food? If it doesn't have negative aspects to eating it that's one thing, but partying down with some strychnine has limited appeal for me. Poison (to an individual) treats are just weird to me. On the beer thread someone said he still drinks it even though he gets bloated and feels awful afterwards, but he still considers it a treat. Boggles.

    That being said, I have "cheated" once since eliminating grains/sugars/processed food from my diet. It was my annual strawberry rhubarb pie that my mom makes. Luckily it didn't give me any pain, but I limited myself to one piece and didn't take the rest home as I usually do.

    And other than that, I just don't have any desire to eat off the Primal reservation so to speak. Yeah, I got jonesing for a PB&J a while back, but I ignored it and it went away.
    5' 9" 47 YO F
    PB start June 2, 2012
    Pre PB SW = 180 (no scale at home, Mom's scale January - 153lbs!)
    Current deadlift 245 lbs, squat 165 lbs, bench press 135 lbs

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Manchester, NH
    i'm very much in line with both your original view of 'cheating' and how i currently deal with it. i used to never cheat. never. when i first started losing weight, i might have broken away from my plan for christmas, and that was it. even thanksgiving saw me being careful. then, while in texas visiting a friend, i was a little bit looser so i could really try some local foods. later, i was a lot looser on my honeymoon. i was still weighing myself at the time, and i noticed that even when i went off track like that it didn't affect my weight much, and weekends became a food playground for me. that really stalled my progress, so i got strict again and only deviated on very special occasions, like the big holidays.

    but, i'm not so strict anymore. i've realized i'm pretty well fat adapted, so i can have a little fun and eat some pizza with my friends and still do fine. i did notice a pattern forming the past few months of doing that every weekend, so i'm doing a whole30 kind of thing right now, but in a few weeks i'll be ready to indulge a little more again. at that time, any cheating i do will generally be a very conscious decision made beforehand, and on rare occasions made in the moment. one thing i will not do is let my diet get in the way of enjoying my life. if my friends fire up some nachos, i'm eating nachos. i'd rather cheat and get back on track than miss out on a good experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    I think cheating is a stupid word because it attaches morality and emotion to eating. Eating McDonalds does not make you a bad person. Eating strict vegan raw organic lovingly grown foods that you hand harvest yourself doesn't make you a good person.

    I hate it because for YEARS I failed at common wisdom and all I could think of was that I was out of control, a bad person because I snapped and ate a cookie, something was wrong with me because I did not thrive on eggwhites and whole grain tortillas.

    Through Primal I've found a way to eat what I want, and it is good nutritious food that is healthy for me. I sometimes miss certain treats, and now and then I enjoy them. But damned if I'm going to feel bad about eating ice cream when probably 90% of the time I am eating high quality whole foods. It doesn't seem to start a slippery slope for me (which I think can be the issue for some people).

    What I see the most here is that the people who go down the slippery slope of cheating more and more often really restrict their consumption of good primal foods. A lot of the time "I don't eat fruit, avoid nuts".................. and binged on chips and dip all weekend. It's not cheating or bad to have a banana when you want one. I know a few people have issues, metabolically, but if you want something sweet and keep denying it, that's when you end up face first in a cheesecake. I had that problem with low fat. I wanted fat, kept denying a few egg yolks or some olive oil and ended up with a fudge brownie sundae. Now I eat the egg yolks, with some butter eating what- 300 calories of whole foods that keeps me from wanting 1000 calories of fat and sugar.

    As for pain, I think you need to try it out often and kind of cut ties. I really wanted a cupcake, so I had one and it was crappy so I abandoned the idea that I ever want to bother with it again. I think that is actually a beneficial process- to get far into primal and indulge a craving to show yourself what you aren't missing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by June68 View Post
    One thing I don't understand is that when a person who decides a certain food makes them ill or has negative aspects to eating it, occasionally eats that food and calls it a treat.
    Re: Cheats as treats - Some foods that I *backslide* into eating (out of habit, depression, whatever) fit exactly what you're saying here - and you're right. Not a treat. Self inflicted abuse at best.

    But some things - like high end chocolate icecream, one scoop, once a month or so, for me, is a treat. It doesn't make me ill in any way shape or form. But if I indulged every day it would slap on pounds right quick. Likewise, a bite of cake at my nephew's wedding (providing I'm not scarfing a whole wedge of it down) is better than being standoffish for the sake of a small deviation that really isn't going to hurt me in the long run.

    OTOH there was a point where even a bite of cake would have had me sneaking sh!t that was bad for me for the next week.

    For me it comes down to the choice of things. I've really found if it doesn't have wheat, nothing really gripes my gut anymore unless I seriously over-indulge.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by primalrob View Post
    one thing i will not do is let my diet get in the way of enjoying my life.
    +1000 on this.

  7. #7
    I don't have any foods on a won't eat list. Morelike frequency, kwim? Like I'll eat some things more than others. Or more often. But I don't believe in having a can't have list. So it's kinda hard to actually cheat.

    Some things I haven't had since Bush was fucking the country, but I still don' think of them as things I can't have.

    I look at it kinda like regular folks. They think they can eat anything and everything, but most of them really just rotate between the same ten meals and a handful of favorite snacks over and over like religiously. Then once in a blue moon they'll have somethin differentt at a restraunt or with friends. Same with me, I just think I have a healthier set of starting favorites.

    Then I'll sometimes faceslam half a pepperoni pizza and a beer for superbowl or somethin.
    The two constants in my life are a clean mind and dirty knees.

    Everything else is subject to change without notice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Eating healthy paleo food is the default and once in a while there are other things eaten but that doesn't stop paleo from being my way of eating. Eating healthy is a deal I made for myself and with myself. I do not have to answer to anyone about my way of eating so there is no cheating. There can only be eating that supports my health and eating that doesn't.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Cleveland, OH
    I still want and crave ice cream a lot of the time, even though I KNOW it hurts my stomach now. The pain still isn't enough to make it an overall unenjoyable experience in my mind, apparently. I don't know that I have much control over that. I mean, I have control over whether or not I eat it, but I don't have much control over whether or not I want it.

    _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Appalachian Ohio
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    I am new to Primal, since May Day, so I am still on the way to the bullseye of the target, if you will - 100% Primal - because I want to see what it is like living those food choices in that zone for a while before I start any "cheating". So I am still in the slow process of eliminating stuff and replacing others and adding what was unfamiliar to me, like coconut oil.

    That said, I have two diets in the house that cannot be tinkered with: one dairy-allergic celiac, and one on the SCD, and both are there for the obvious reasons. The celiac simply does not have the option to cheat, for example. So in my kitchen, there has developed, naturally, a philosophy that once you have your particular necessary diet identified, that is that, and cheating is a lot like that phrase "failure is not an option.". Because cheating (in our context) brings along with it real-world health issues that the diet kids are on their particular diet to solve, not cause, and "cheating" behavior is self-defeating. And painful.

    Anyhow, brahnamin, you are so exactly, perfectly, right about how important semantics can be. I just started a journal, and over the past two or three days have been trying to find a word that is better than the word "exercise". That one word puts up a wall for me. A friendly reader coined one for me, and I have been using it since, and am on my way to better health again, instead of struggling in my head with all sorts of connotations and crap related to a loaded term.

    As for me, personally, my benders have been small, infrequent, and related to things that I refuse to stress over - like having the rice underneath my sushi on a date night with hubby, where hubby and I hadn't been out for a long string of months. Now, if hubby and I had a standing weekly date at that sushi place, I would switch to sashimi and expect him to not make a fuss, and I will do him the favor of not getting on his case for eating the rice (as he isn't really Primal, just eating that way because I am cooking that way) if he would choose to stay with that.

    So ours is a more hard-line home. The daughters just don't understand, or accept, cheats. The celiac is a whip-smart kid - she wanted to know EXACTLY what the parameters of the Primal WOE were, and immediately expected me to toe the line. I have to say, I pretty much agree with her. For visitors, guests, people on other diets, other family, we here will almost always seek to feed you what you need, no fuss and no missionary discussion attached. I say "almost always" because I do kinda' refuse to spend my money on a cartload of truly crappy crap especially to satisfy an otherwise healthy, but habitually shitty eater.

    In general, we get everybody at the table under the title of eating Real Food - not Primal, not Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free, not SCD, or anything else, even though I must control, allow, and cook for that - a pile of Real Food goes on the table, somewhat buffet-style, and we eat, with someone sometimes not choosing something because it dings the diet.

    To get back to cheats - we don't eat out much at all, so those temptations are not there, and everybody around us is now used to us bringing food coolers for the two diet kids, so eating Primal for me is just more of the same. No real reason to "cheat", and no desire to, really, as I have had to be the Food Doctor for so long already to get my kids healthy that now that I have announced Primal (for myself) to the household, the expectation is that I stick to the plan. How can I justify "cheats" to two kids who simply cannot?

    Thanks for your OP, brahnamin! I look forward to all other posts on here! This is very interesting reading!

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