Cheating your way to success sounds like the best way to get there, especially if nobody gets hurt. Nobody, that is, if you don’t count yourself.
In fairness, lest you think me not a fan, I’m totally a cheater. I do it all the time, which makes me super-qualified on the subject.
Not a week passes that I don’t cheat. I’ve dabbled in most diets, Atkins, South Beach, Slow Carb, Paleo Intermittent Fasting but never Bulletproof.
Somehow I dodged that one…
Cheat meals are a great way to manage intake, but cheating isn’t without stumbling blocks.
Challenges arise when cheat meals expand into all out cheat weekends, or when Sunday cheating creates lingering cravings, when self-perceptions as a healthy eater start to slide or when special events add cheat calories.
Meals Turn Into Weekends
Although the plan is always stacks and stacks of pancakes on cheat days, invariably Sunday pancakes turn into Sunday brunch treats with pizza for dinner. That’s not the end of it, though.
Once one gets comfortable cheating all day Sunday, it’s easy to slide into Friday night through Sunday night cheating. Behaviors grow into all out weekends of debauchery.
Unchecked, these weekends could morph into college dietary lifestyles; mac and cheese, dinners, Fruity Pebble breakfasts, the whole nine yards.
Weekend indulgences can bleed into the week. You may feel it every Monday morning at coffee time, during that moment where you stare into the empty mug, contemplating a scoop of sugar.
Eventually, you may start dumping in two scoops, drinking multiple cups, maybe all day.
Then you’ll start having trouble sleeping, wake up unrested, craving coffee with sugar to get through the day. All of that added sugar can notch up your calories, but even worse, create cravings for pastries and such.
Sometimes we can lose ourselves a bit. Let’s say, for the most part, you see yourself as a healthy adult; a healthy eater who cheats from time to time. That “time to time” has a specifically planned time during the week, but sometimes you lose track of where you are.
It’s like losing track of what day it is, but with food. You may forget that it’s not a cheat day or even your perceptions that you are a healthy eating adult.
Of course, life’s too short not enjoy these little transgressions, but too many and you may see yourself as an adult who eats whatever, whenever he wants.
Holidays and Social Events Add Cheat Meals
Rules can confound other rules. There are cheat meals, then there are cheat events. Unless you want to be that person at the social event who is on a special diet, you will try to blend in. Smart.
So, you snack on what everybody else is snacking on, and most definitely if there is dessert, you enjoy some. Good.
This is the only way to socialize. The downside, around November and December these cheat events start to pile on top of regular cheat meals. The calories add up fast.
None of this is the end of the world. Cheat meals are still the healthiest way to live and eat with balance.
Ultimately, we should all be looking for the way we can best live our lives to enjoy them the most. I have yet to meet one person who is truly happy following a strict diet in the long run.
Good luck finding your perfect balancing point. Maybe you try some cheat meal action? Just beware of the above sneaky-sneakies.