Never Cheat On Your Diet Again
Since I’ve become a member of this no-sugar, low-carb community, I’ve noticed something that doesn’t make sense to me. And it seems pretty wide-spread. I keep hearing people talking about “cheating” on their diets or allowing a “cheat” day, or even “cheating” as a reward for accomplishing a diet goal. So let me start by talking directly to those people.
You’re all nuts!
Okay, that may seem a bit harsh, and honestly, I still love you all. But this kind of thinking is just plain nutty to me….unless, of course, you don’t intend to eat the way you’re eating for the rest of your life. If you’re just skipping the sugar until you reach you’re ideal weight, well, good for you. That plan has worked for countless others, so of course it will work for you too! Have a nice life. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen a no-sugar diet as your lifestyle; if you’re eating this way because you want to experience all the health benefits that come with such a healthy lifestyle, than the idea of “cheating” shouldn’t be a part of it.
I’m Not Nuts, YOUR Nuts!
Okay, okay. I can hear a lot of you no-sugar people throwing it right back at me. I’m sure a lot of you think that I’m the nut case. But hear me out. The whole business of cheating on your diet is a throwback from the days when people went on diets temporarily just to lose a few pounds. But most of those people don’t keep their weight off. Why? Because short-term dieting is a no-win deal. It’s the very reason that they wanted to cheat in the first place and that tells you how successful they’ll be at keeping the weight off.
Statistically speaking, just about every diet you hear about will help you lose weight if you follow it correctly. And to be honest, that’s the easy part. I’m not saying that losing weight is always easy, because it’s not. I’m saying that the hard part…the really hard part is keeping the weight off for the rest of your life. Typical dieters don’t think in those terms. “The rest of your life” is too scary of a thought and it doesn’t satisfy the short-term mindset that tells them they only have to resist the foods they love for a short period of time. They whine, “you mean I’m going to have to eat like this for the rest of my life?” Or they say, “you mean I have to give up all the foods that I love just to maintain my weight?” The point is, unsuccessful dieters are thinking short-term.
A Healthy Lifestyle…By Choice
The real key to success is to begin thinking long-term. Sure, it’s nice to drop a few pounds or even hundreds of pounds (awesome!), but the real goal should be the health of your body and mind. Losing weight should be a side benefit…okay, a really excellent side benefit, but not the main point. If you approach the way you eat from the perspective of regaining or maintaining your health, then you’ve got to begin thinking not only about dropping some pounds, but the many ways in which your body will begin to heal the years of damage due to over consuming sugar. If you’re not living every day only for getting on the scale to see how many fewer ounces you weigh than the day before, then you have a far greater chance of keeping your weight off, once your body has found it’s natural or essential weight.
When your focus is on the long-term health of your body, and on eating healthy, earth-born, minimally-process foods, there is a shift that occurs in your mind regarding the word “diet”. It comes to mean “the way I am choosing to eat” and not “gonna deprive myself for a couple months to lose weight then go back to eating the same bad foods.” And this brings me to my whole point…
How to Never Cheat
Just because you’ve chosen to eat healthy foods for the rest of your life, that doesn’t mean you are choosing to never enjoy some of your favorite foods ever again. Just because you quit eating sugar, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever have a piece of cake on your birthday, or a little dessert on Thanksgiving. For me, the word “cheating” only applies if your feeling like you’ll eventually go back to your old way of eating or if you feel like you’re depriving yourself of all the wonderful foods you love. There is no cheating…there is only choosing. So if you want to never cheat on your diet again, move beyond the deprivation mentality and adopt a lifestyle mentality.
I don’t eat sugar. But I don’t feel deprived. I’m not constantly looking at people who eat junk food and sugar-saturated treats and thinking about how bad I feel because I can never eat that stuff again. No! I’m thinking, if I want it, I’ll have it. But I don’t want it. I am choosing the food I want to eat…nobody has a gun to my head and is saying, “if you ever eat sugar again, I’m going to shoot you.”
So for all you people out there who allow a “cheating” day, or who allow yourself to “cheat” every now and then, you still have a deprivation mentality which can lead to failure. You are still not thinking of this as a lifestyle choice…a lifelong project of choosing healthy foods to eat because you want to.
You can eat what you want. Nobody is forcing you. So when you do decide to have a slice of cake, that doesn’t mean you’re a junk-food eater, no more than having one drink makes you an alcoholic. If you can’t handle one slice of cake or one drink without going on a binge, then choose to not have those things. If the rest of the year, you’ve completely quit eating sugar, than choosing to, on rare occasions, have something sweet isn’t cheating, it’s simply choosing to have it.
I don’t cheat, I choose. And in my case, I’m choosing to not eat sugar. I make that choice again and again, every day. I know that I will have a slice of cake again someday, but my focus is to eat healthy foods 99% of the time. And that works for me.