1

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A Newbie to "cheating"...a litte help?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 22, 2012 at 1:40 PM

After being strict 100% Paleo for around a year now, I went without, any alcohol, any sugar, grains, dairy (all the obvious things) but also no nuts, hardly any fruit etc. I have decided that maybe I try to loosen up a bit. ( I have received multiple comments from very close friends saying quite frankly "you are the most rigid, not-fun human alive" (sipping unsweetened tea and excusing my self to get some deli meats if nothing else is there at parties for the last year, people have started to notice...

So what I have done is only on special occasions, Christmas, or a Special Birthday, I'll allow myself "normal things" like some wine and maybe some cheats here and there. (this scares me a lot because I have never done it before) the reason in the past was a cheat would send me dow na slippery slope and i didn't feel strong enough to wake up the next morning and hop on the wagon again...but things have changed since...

So my question is..(i know its silly, but it will help me tremendously if i just know), what is actually happening physically after let's say a cheat night?

My recent experience was this, I had been clean and strict for weeks, and was quite lean and felt great! A friend's birthday came up, So i thought why not...I had wine and cheese, and some version of a "healthy SAD banana nut muffin thing" some chocolate ...not the end of the world.

But..here is what I am not used to and just need to understand so that this perhaps can be easier for me.

I of course felt like crap the next day, woke up, ate a perfect day of Paleo meals and drank lots of water, Couldn't get myself to the gym for the life of me (prob bad idea, not creating stimulus for all of that sugar to be used) so i am retaining water, feel bloated and sluggish, and of course visually am unpleased and feel uncomfortable in clothing etc..

I want to be able to handle the repercussions of my choices and just deal with feeling like this for a couple days, and say "it was worth it" but ...to me, deep down, it wasn't. I would have rather looked weird sipping tea, eating turkey rolls ups (which i would have had to bring, it was a SAD laden event) than dealign with these couple days of this..

I think some clarification on what is happening physically to me will really help, because then i can just look at the bloated rolls and heavy legs etc and not think (oh now I've done it, i must have gained 10lbs etcetc) and rather just say...it was a planned break for a night and here is the natural physiological progression of things..

Can anyone help shed some light?

Thanks

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on February 23, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Look at Hagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream. Nothing but milk, cream and vanilla maybe eggs. Nothing bad. When you make your own you can make Paleo Ice Cream or you can make regular ice cream with cream, half-n-half, vanilla and sugar or fruit to sweeten it. No additives.

16d5d61046d3b3db6d24483fa0b79cc8

on February 22, 2012
at 07:36 PM

Speaking of ice cream. I keep seeing recipes for paleo ice cream online. before I go out and invest in an ice cream maker, is paleo ice cream really that good? or am i better off just having the good ol' fashion stuff bc i have some good artisanal ice cream places near me that make amazing home made ice cream.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:32 PM

you're so right. thank you. that cleared up the intense amount of fear surrounding the situation. It is fear of being out of control from my past.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:04 PM

Thank you. such a wonderful answer. Primal Danny for President :)

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10 Answers

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2
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on February 22, 2012
at 03:48 PM

It sounds to me like you know pretty well what's going on physically, that one piece of cake can't make you gain 10lbs of fat even if you are retaining a bit more water now, and that it's extra-important to get clean again the next day and not view it as an inevitable slope. You took control of the decision, you did what you did in full awareness that it wasn't for health reasons but for social reasons. That's perfectly legitimate (and perfectly paleo). You don't need to do anything special to 'earn' this deviation, going to the gym or whatever, the rest of your life is now so healthy that you can afford to make this choice and it simply be part of your life.

You can also take advantage of the situation. Instead of holding on to some nameless fear of trying to resist these treats, you've now faced it and can appreciate how much you and your body has moved on. Your body now recognises all these ubiquitous chemicals as toxins and shuts you down for a while to deal with them. That's its job. It doesn't want you out risking your life when you're not at 100%. Depending on what you ate there may be specific things affecting your brain function or more likely reawakening old pathways that trigger responses and memories from effectively a previous life. You can acknowledge that. The unexpected fear that you've put on weight again is just an errant neuron from a past that will always be part of you, but which you've moved on from. But most of the actual feeling crapness is actually your body doing its job, behaving in a normal, dunctional and healthy way to try and protect you.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:04 PM

Thank you. such a wonderful answer. Primal Danny for President :)

5
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on February 22, 2012
at 01:53 PM

It depends on what you cheat with. I actually hate the term cheat and I have a bunch of rants here about that; so, I won't repeat them here. But the biggest thing is to determine, for your body, the cost-benefit ratio for certain foods and situations.

For example, at a party it may be ok to have a little more sugar or a drink of alcohol because you may feel a little crappy the next day, but you had fun at the party. But something else like a muffin or piece of cake might be off limits because the gluten will cause longer term damage (often it can take the gut weeks to heal after one gluten exposure).

So what you need to do is weigh the fun you're having with the cost of what you're "cheating" with and its consequences.

3
83392933ff47145fbf7ab2dac171154d

on February 22, 2012
at 02:33 PM

It sounds like you're not even enjoying the cheat while you're cheating. When I feel like garbage the next day because I had a cocktail and a piece of pizza, what makes it worth it is remembering how awesome that cocktail and piece of pizza were and how much I enjoyed it. Really enjoying the moment is what constitutes a cheat. Having a guilty conscience the entire time is what constitutes self sabotage. If you're not enjoying it, don't do it.

1
5e6a6f5c0fd3ab048f81c0a500206f41

on February 22, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Marks Daily Apple has a great post on what happens to your body, physiologically, after a cheat:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-carb-binge/#axzz1n8ZyyQWU

1
1e8de1cc0e6d5ae937f8ea19a6fbf294

on February 22, 2012
at 03:30 PM

'Cheating' is a really un-useful word, as others have noted.

The thing is, it's not just about the carbs. It's also about eating non-foods that translate into toxins in our bodies - and no matter what the social stimulus, wheat, corn, processed non raw dairy, sugar, chemicals and alcohol are going to cause toxic damage that lingers. It can take anywhere from 3-8 weeks to completely clear. In the meantime, these toxins trigger immune responses (next time you get 'a cold', look back 2 weeks and see what you ate) and later, joint soreness and pain as the inflammation works it's way out. These toxins have to store somewhere, because it overloads the liver. Hence the fat gain. (very simplified explanation) That's just physiology; that's just science. It's not emotional. I've seen the pattern in hundreds of clients over 20 years.

If you feel like shit, it's because you did damage. Your body is giving you feedback. If you're okay with that, GREAT! Enjoy it. If you've been diseased, if your system has had it with you, if it sends you down a slippery slope - then maybe toxins aren't a recreational source for you.

You know, like drugs. Same same.

1
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 22, 2012
at 01:50 PM

I know this doesn't directly answer your question, but it seems like you're undertaking this because of social pressure, not because it's something you yourself necessarily care about doing. Seemingly you've been happy to go without, but it's your friends that have convinced you that you need to loosen up.

Personally, I think you should examine the impetus for the choices. If this is something you really want to do, weigh it against the consequences, feeling terrible like you know you will, and decide. I may not always understand the biological mechanisms, even though I assume we're talking about insulin resistance here, but I know that when I eat a piece of cake I feel like shit, so what does it matter? I'd rather not eat the cake, and even though my friends give me a hard time sometimes, they're my friends, they get over it. And sometimes, I have that piece of cake or drink that beer, because whatever, I'm an adult, I do what I want.

If you really want to cheat and you're going to do it, give yourself permission to do so, and enjoy it as much as you can. Freaking out because you cheated is definitely counterproductive, no matter what is happening biologically.

0
B8fba331b8a54f1774e9fec00c0ca3a6

on February 22, 2012
at 07:41 PM

That happens to all, just get back in track and watch a little closer next time. is easy to point fingers but that had happen to everyone who has done this diet. one time or another. like Lisa suggested maybe next time you go to a dinner party bring a Paleo dish and let your friends try. so far people in my friends have being very understanding of my family new diet and always welcome or paleo dishes and try to accommodate us. Sometimes that is another way you can also find out how much your friends care and respect you. As an example: You would not force someone that would not eat pork for religion reasons to eat it right, hopefully you understand and respect his or hers decision without judgment. Maybe if you talk to your friend more openly about your diet and clearly express to them why you do what you do. Because they are smart people im sure they can understand your point of be and be more helpful

0
Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(267)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:26 PM

try each "type" of cheat separately, then you can figure out what affects you in what way. It does sound like the muffin though... Robb Wolf always suggests never to eat gluten (ever!) since people tend to feel terrible if they've had that out of their system for a while and then start eating it again.

0
Fc64db6a555559762432d503a1dbad19

(1478)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:17 PM

It seems like your temptations for cheating come about when you are out at events with friends. I find this to be my toughest time as well. My solution is to make something yummy but paleo, maybe not super strict paleo, and bring it to the party to share with everyone. This way people feel like you are cooperating in the event and not just sitting back and judging everyone for not being paleo. You may also be turning people on to something they never tried before. If you don't feel like drinking alcohol but you don't want to get crap from your friends, talk to the waitress or bartender in private and let them know when you order a Tom Collins you really want a virgin one with fresh lime juice and no sugar. Your friends wont know you are not drinking and wont judge you and you wont feel like you are judging them by not drinking and not participating in the fun. It doesn't seem to me to be about "cheating" it is more about participating and cooperating. That being said it sounds like you are being a little rigid like your friends are saying. Sometimes you need to just live a bit and stop worrying about the consequences. It seems to me to be more about being a perfectionist than the consequences of "cheating." It is a control thing for you. You have control when you can control your food choices, so life seems less scary and out of control. Life is not like that. Life is crazy and $hit happens, so live a little and don't feel bad about it. It will teach you how to deal with the ups and downs of life and create balance.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 22, 2012
at 05:32 PM

you're so right. thank you. that cleared up the intense amount of fear surrounding the situation. It is fear of being out of control from my past.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on February 22, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Try to not cheat with wheat. Fruit is of course fine. Ice Cream is a better cheat.

16d5d61046d3b3db6d24483fa0b79cc8

on February 22, 2012
at 07:36 PM

Speaking of ice cream. I keep seeing recipes for paleo ice cream online. before I go out and invest in an ice cream maker, is paleo ice cream really that good? or am i better off just having the good ol' fashion stuff bc i have some good artisanal ice cream places near me that make amazing home made ice cream.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on February 23, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Look at Hagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream. Nothing but milk, cream and vanilla maybe eggs. Nothing bad. When you make your own you can make Paleo Ice Cream or you can make regular ice cream with cream, half-n-half, vanilla and sugar or fruit to sweeten it. No additives.

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