The Concept of “Cheating”

In response to my  blog of a few days ago, about whether or not a certain famous doctor did or didn’t suggest that cheating on one’s diet is a good idea, a reader sent in the (disappointing) answer, along with a link to the article in question, entitled, Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight.

Understandably, if one is trying to follow a manner of eating that leaves them hungry all the time and eating bland, boring and unbalanced meals, of course they’re going to want to have an out now and then.

The issue I have with this approach is that it infers the presumption that there aren’t any ways of healthy eating that are both conducive to long term weight loss, then maintenance, as well as eating an enjoyable, balanced diet made of food that actually tastes so good and makes you feel so energized that you really don’t have those old ‘cravings’ and ‘urges to cheat’.

I’m not speaking only on my own behalf.   Yes, this does applies to me and to the Paleo lifestyle, but also to countless people around the world who’ve found they’ve been able to reach their optimal health, body weight, energy level and control of a vast variety of health issues through eating what we’re meant to be eating.

Some of the most interesting snippets that stood out in that particular article: 

  • “Going off your diet once in a while stimulates the thyroid gland and can “wake up” your metabolism”  (Really?)
  • “If you’re trying to lose weight, limit total calorie intake to between 1500-1600 calories per day.” (And this is a blanket statement regardless of height, weight, activity level and gender?)
  • “Swap regular bacon for extra lean turkey bacon” (Because fat is so bad for us…)
  • “Carbs increase levels of serotonin, which make you feel full and reduce your desire for more carbs throughout the day”  (Funny, I thought carbs increased your blood sugar when eaten on their own and caused an insulin surge.)
  • “Frozen yogurt with almonds or other nuts will give you an instant boost to help you combat the post-lunch energy dip that often occurs around 3 p.m. Almonds and nuts add a good source of protein. By having your sugary snack in the afternoon, you’ll be leaving enough time to burn it off before you go to bed.”   (Um… if you’re having a post-lunch energy dip, that screams blood sugar drop to me… in which case you haven’t likely eaten a proper balance of the macro nutrients at lunch time).

Ok, I’ll stop here.   Please do try and think outside the box, though, and be open to the idea that you can actually eat healthy, delicious, balanced, Paleo foods, all the time and not want to ‘cheat’.   A little gluten here and there, a touch of soy and a bit of dairy aren’t a good idea, even a little bit of the time.