Readers’ Views on the “Cheating” Post

As I’m always a fan of keeping my blog on the interactive side, I thought it fitting to post a couple of the comments I received on the cheating post from a few days ago from readers offering a slightly different perspective on their take on ‘cheating’.

A few highlights:

  • For me personally, the cheating day has been a tremendous success. To be honest, “cheating” for me is more of a paleo-ish breakfast (maybe eating my son’s leftover smiley face chocolate chip pancakes from IHOP), my lunch is without question cheating, and I am typically back to a paleo dinner as my wife and I cook for the week on Sundays so our kitchen is overflowing with amazing food. I will then likely have a frozen yogurt or some ice cream for desert. In truth I don’t even love the foods so much as I love the freedom to choose to eat this stuff or not. I cannot imagine doing a full-bore “all day” cheat but a meal to two meals once a week seems to be healthier for my mind than anything else. Furthermore, while I do not typically feel sluggish at all during the week, there is no denying that the energy I have on Monday (day after cheat day) is a) different and b) a bit more powerful. I try to do my multi sport training on Monday as I tend to find I have a bit more energy then. From a science standpoint the weeks I have opted to not cheat at all due to not being in the mood or what have you have been the flattest weight loss weeks for me personally. Same can be said for the Monday energy spike which goes missing sans cheat. These absolutely could be a coincidence but my experience has taught me that consistency is likely not coincidence. I likely will continue the habit until it either proves to stop yielding consistently desirable effects or I grow bored of pizza every now and again.Aside from this day my wife and I are nearly perfect little cave people and truly love the lifestyle. Can paleo and your cheat day not live together harmoniously?
  • I think it’s a question of degrees. While I actively live the lifestyle, I won’t “kill myself” if I occasionally succumb to “peer pressure” or accidentally eat a salad that had some dressing made with soybean oil. Instead, I’ll chalk it up to a lesson learned and avoid that same situation again. While we shouldn’t eat these things consciously, we shouldn’t dwell on things, either.Also, when speaking to our friends and family, we should avoid being dogmatic. Think about the big picture. If our friends or family cut out dairy, processed sugars, and/or grains, it probably is counterproductive for us to get into an argument if they forgot to ask the grocery store if the beef they bought is grass fed, or if the salad dressing had some canola oil in it. Let’s be realistic first, and then gradually get people to improve their diets. My own route has been quite gradual over the past 3 years or so. At this point, I’m about 95% of the way there. Even at less than 100%, I can feel the benefits already.


I  don’t necessarily disagree with what either of the readers contributed in the sense that if one is mostly Paleo it’s certainly better than not Paleo at all, and I certainly have been rather candid that I’m not a fan of being ‘better than thou’ when dealing with friends and family who are not Paleo, or who are only partly Paleo.  

I, too, have been in situations where I’ve eaten something that I was told was paleo friendly and found out the hard way (via a stomach ache and so on) that it actually was not, and then have also made a mental note to not eat that particular thing again.

My transition to being completely Paleo also took place in stages, which is one of the reason’s I’ve chosen to leave my older posts up back from 2007 when I would still eat the occasional goat yogurt or rice cereal.

I’ve come to the place I’m at now, where I’ve been for several years of not wanting a cheat day or a cheat food.  I know how awful they are for the body, even as a once in a while type of thing, I know how awful they make me feel, I don’t miss the foods and thus, there you have it: I don’t cheat.

Whether or not the first reader’s comment about feeling more energy for workouts after a cheat meal has scientific validity would be difficult for me to comment on without knowing what was eaten on the days when cheating did not occur; often athletes who are new to Paleo underfuel and don’t replace what they ‘took out’ with paleo friendly fueling options.

My main issue with the concept of cheating in when it’s presented to the masses as ‘something you should do’ for no other reason that by default, it suggests a mindset that ‘of course I should cheat, and of course it’s normal to feel deprived on a ‘diet’.

Paleo done properly provides all the energy one needs, in a balanced, delicious, sustainable fashion and going into it with a mindset of ‘it’s only possible to do this gor