For Best Weight Loss Results Don’t Cheat When You Eat

For best weight loss results don’t; no, that’s not strong enough, never cheat when you eat!

If you think I’m saying be 100% perfect and never take a liberty here or there, that’s not what I mean. That’s not even close to what I mean.

Let me be more precise.

For best weight loss results avoid a food plan that is built on avoiding forbidden foods because if you eat them, “you’re cheating!”

If eating what you love is “to cheat” on your food plan then it’s more than likely you are going to cheat. Why set yourself up to cheat?

Before I go any further, I probably should make a few things clear.

  • The opinions I’m about to express belong to me, are strictly my own and are not representative of any commercial or organized diet plan.
  • If my opinion offends readers who have a different or contrasting opinion, I don’t apologize. If you don’t like what you’re reading or you are feeling offended, you probably should just stop reading this and go read something written by somebody whose point of view is similar to yours.

The other day I wrote a blog called, “Did You Know Cavemen Ate Wraps?” I discovered (and it wasn’t a surprise) people get very passionate when they discover a weight loss plan that works. If they also believe in the superior health benefits they get from their chosen way of eating to lose weight, they get almost religious about it. They don’t take kindly to somebody (me!) having sport with some of the sillier aspects of what some consider to be Paleo. Picturing primitive man creating wraps and pizza crack me up!

That’s fine, though, if you are passionate about Paleo (or low carb, or Atkins or whatever), that’s your prerogative. I’m not trying to change your mind or even put down your choice. I’m just sharing my way of thinking.

I don’t want to consider Paleo, or any other way of eating to monitor my weight that has a list of foods I can’t eat. To eat something I’m not supposed to “eat on my diet” is cheating.

I don’t ever want to cheat when I eat.
This is no cheat! It's a treat and it helps make life great!

This is no cheat! It’s a treat and it helps make life great!

I don’t want to cheat by eating forbidden foods. I’m not saying I adhere strictly to the guidelines of my plan that tell me how much to eat. I consider sometimes exceeding the max or failing to meet the minimum, is simply allowing for flexibility and versatility.

To eat forbidden foods is to cheat.
If loving (and eating) this is wrong, I don't want to be right!

If loving (and eating) this is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

The words flexibility and versatility don’t apply to eating “unapproved foods” they only apply to amounts.

Cheating because you ate a specific food makes you feel dishonest and unworthy. Feeling dishonest and unworthy are negative feelings. I don’t think seeing yourself as a cheater helps to foster success or even helps you to overcome little obstacles that we all face when managing our weight. Feeling unworthy certainly gets in the way of positive behaviors.

Negative self-thoughts do not inspire positive actions and success!

Negative self-thoughts do not inspire positive actions and success!

Some people are dishonest and they’re happy about it as long as they think they’re getting away with being dishonest. That doesn’t work when you’re dishonest with yourself. You can’t get away with being dishonest to yourself because you know exactly what you’re doing.

Suppose you are following a diet with forbidden foods and rigid guidelines and you do cheat. Let’s say you not only cheat, but the scale is what determines whether or not you got away with cheat, and the scale reveals progress.

"I'm not supposed to eat marshmallows on my diet. Don't tell!"

“I’m not supposed to eat marshmallows on my diet. Don’t tell!”

What’s the point of not being able to eat that food in the first place if your measure of progress doesn’t react badly to your cheat? Why, then, is it a cheat? It looks like a little bit will fit into your plan just fine.

"I don't want to look. It's going to be bad and its what I deserve because I am a dirty, rotten, diet cheater!" Now there's a way to inspire yourself to greatness with self-talk! NOT!

“I don’t want to look. It’s going to be bad and its what I deserve because I am a dirty, rotten, diet cheater!” Now there’s a way to inspire yourself to greatness with self-talk! NOT!

Maybe you’re trying to lose weight and achieve perfect health.

Some foods may be forbidden because they “aren’t healthy.” If a food is neither spoiled (as in rotted) or contaminated by a toxic substance such as mold, arsenic, rat poison, antifreeze or some such other substance, it can be safely eaten as part of a healthy diet. Balance and moderation and physical activity are more important than the quest for the perfectly healthful diet.

Let’s say you could eat the precise balance of macronutrients (although I’m not sure that scientists have figured that out or that the top scientists in the field of human nutrition even agree.)

Let’s say you ate only the nutrient dense foods and none of the nutritionally questionable food and you avoided all artificial preservatives, chemicals, and colors. Maybe you don’t eat any meat because it’s not healthy, or you eat meat like a caveman because you believe cavemen had to be healthy to live in such a hostile environment. As a result your health numbers are impeccable: blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, BMI, and your hip to waist ratio as a result of your rigid diet.* Even your eyesight and hearing are perfect!

That’s nice but it’s not a guarantee that you will live to 100-years-old in great health with full mobility and mental capacity. It won’t protect you from an accidental death or dying young because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It makes sense to take care of yourself but you can expect to have complete control over your health!

It makes sense to take care of yourself but you can’t expect to have complete control over your health! There is an element in your health that’s totally out of your control!

Loving food and getting pleasure from food is living!

Do you really want to deny yourself a great pleasure in life? Does it really make sense to declare eating what you love, “cheating?” Does it really make sense that the one and only way you can lose weight and keep it off is by adhering to a list of approved foods and avoiding all foods not on the list. If you should stray from the approved list, then you’re cheating?

If that does sounds rational, and more important, achievable, don’t let me stop you. I kind of think you may stop yourself one day.

In all reality, at some point you’ll get tired of “cheating” because I don’t believe many people would be able to stick 100% to such a restrictive way of eating. When you get tired of cheating, I think you’ll probably abandon the diet.  I just hope you don’t give up on your weight goal, just the way in which you will reach it and stay there!

* Perfect health numbers as a result of rigidly following a perfect diet aren’t guaranteed. Your genes play a role in your health numbers too!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.