I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately about to what degree the terminology I use in my own thoughts about eating have an impact on my actions. The word "cheat" seems so emotionally loaded, and likely to bring up shame or guilt, and inspire rebellion against my own best interest. In my own experience I've found it difficult to make good food choices on a long term basis if I get tripped up by thinking in terms of "good", "bad", "should", shouldn't", "success", "failure", etc.
The way I'm wording my current goal is "To fit in as many biologically appropriate and pleasurable meals as possible between now and when I die." I've only been tossing this around in my head for about a week now, but I feel like it is making a difference in upping my compliance percentages without "trying".
Has anyone else toyed around with this?
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When talking about paleo I always start by reminding people that the word diet has two meanings. One is a weight loss plan, the other being the make up of what you ingest to thrive and survive. Paleo being the latter.
With that in mind, I dont think that you can cheat on a way of life or on your subsistence, since it is all your diet after all. Therefore I like to call them occasional indulgences.
call it "leptin sensitivity maintenance" day.
I had some ice cream today (I'm on vacation). It was delicious. It wasn't a cheat as I don't have any reason to cheat. It was just something best done only occasionally. My body tolerates a load of sugar every once in a great while just fine--just as my ancestors might gorge on fruit or honey from time to time.
I agree that calling it a "cheat" can be counterproductive.
I prefer to think of cheats or treats as "indulgences." To me that word connotes something worthwhile, not impulsive, and less 'bad.' For some reason, it's harder to find something worth indulging in than something to cheat with.
You're referring to concept in psychology called "self-talk," which is intimately involved in areas as diverse as depression, sports performance, placebo and nocebo effects.
Negative self-talk is found in depressed people, who may tell themselves that they're worthless, stupid and ugly, and their life is hopeless. Cognitive therapy seeks to improve depression, in part, by improving the way patients talk to themselves.
Sports acumen may be enhanced by positive self-talk.
I agree that words can have emotional effects, and negative words can have negative (ie. nocebo) effects. So it may be helpful to call "cheating" something more benign, such as "snacking", "carb-loading", "tasting", etc.
I don't cheat. I go off-plan sometimes, and then I get back on-plan. Think of it like changing the bag in your vacuum cleaner, or even better, tripping on the cord. You just go over and plug it back in.
I used the term cheat and recently trash canned it. I think it has too many negative connotations and I just didn't like that what made me happy was being categorized as something that would be considered scandalous. For example, I don't crave sugar or grains.. I just don't. But a few days ago I was walking in the Village by a place that makes my favourite Yaki Onigiri, filled with sour plum. Did I pop in and order one? Yes. Why? Because I knew how good it was going to be. How often do I do this? First time in months. Will I do it again if I'm walking by? Yes.
For me: Food is fuel. Food is sustenance. Food keeps us going. Why not take pleasure in it as well?
Why think about it as a cheat at all?
All using the word cheat does is induce stress/anxiety (if you're that way inclined) because you believe you've done something that is considered wrong. Whether that is what you believe to be wrong or whether it is implied peer/community pressure is irrelevant.
It's just a word that could be substituted by lots of other words or phrases according to your view - treat, reward, deviation, error of judgement, oversight, and so on.
Besides, what one person views as a cheat is normal practise to another. As long as the main tenets of avoiding grains, legumes and sugar are maintained to the best of your ability most of the time, who cares whether you have the occasional bit of chocolate, dairy or other 'bad' item as long as it doesn't cause you serious health issues?
Harm......negative connotation brings up cortisol. We need to think positively all the time.
carb reload day, plan it correctly, and it is useful.
I agree that word-choice is important - in all contexts! I'm always checking myself and re-phrasing things to use more affirming, positive, and less restrictive language. E.g. all "shoulds" become "coulds" - way more empowering.
P.s If our actions are aligned with our values, there is no such thing as "cheating".