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?