Cheating vs. Choosing

I hate the word cheating.  I am not fond of people who cheat.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have done my fair share of cheating in my life.  In grade school during a test (I was not the brightest student), I would continually look at my neighbors paper to see what answers they put down on their paper.  Certainly their answers were better than mine.  And then my neighbor would catch on to me, straining my neck to catch an answer from their paper and they would then put their arm over their work so I could not see.  Bummer.  I did the same thing in high school – copied homework, and stole answers from my neighbors paper.  I am sure I plagiarized on occasion.  That is cheating.

In college,  I had an art history class that was in a very dark auditorium.  I loved that class.  I still remember and can name the artists of the Impressionist Era.  But it was so easy to cheat on tests.  It was so dark in the room and I could go in with my cheat sheets and easily ace a test.  And I did get an A in that class.  My biggest cheat in college was going into a World History final with several small pieces of paper shoved up my sleeve with a ton of information.  I passed that test with flying colors.  Yes that was definitely cheating.

People cheat on their taxes, people cheat on their spouses.  People cheat when playing games.  Cheating, cheating, cheating .  Cheating not only hurts yourself (I am sure I could have done better in school if I tried harder and studied more) but most of all it hurts other people.  A spouse cheating on his wife is devastating to all involved.  A person cheating on his taxes hurts the rest of society.  But me eating a piece of chocolate is not cheating.  Am I really hurting myself?  Am I hurting someone else?  No.  Absolutely not.  So my question is, why on a weight loss program when one slips does one say “I cheated”.  Or on many weight loss programs they say “You can have a cheat meal”.  The word cheating to me is a bad word.  In the dictionary the word cheat Is defined “as a fraud, a deceiver, to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers” (that was me).  So how and why do some weight loss programs say you can cheat on occasion.  The word cheat in a weight loss world makes no sense to me.

Now the word choosing is a much better word.  If I want a piece of chocolate I will choose to eat one.  If I want a glass of wine or two I will choose to do so.  If I want to eat more than my 26 points on Weight Watchers I will choose to do so.  I am choosing, not cheating.   But there are still consequences to my behavior.  I may not lose the weight or I might even gain.  But that is ok.  Because I have made a conscious decision to do so.  I am still in control of my situation.

Now on other weight loss programs they say you can have a cheat meal.  Oh my gosh – let me at it.  I can do some damage on a cheat meal.   Just the word cheat in my mind opens up the flood gates.  Remember I was a great cheater in school.  So cheating on a meal would mean I would eat things that I have totally taken out of my diet.  Chips, fried foods, ice cream, cookies, white bread, cereal, candy, and the list goes on.  We are talking major damage here.

So for 30 days I decided to shake things up and do the Paleo Whole 30 program.  I am trying desperately to get all of the additives out of my diet.  No more sweeteners.  No more diet sodas, eating whole foods – meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.  But giving up my non-fat greek yogurt is a challenge.  So I had greek yogurt as one of my meals with fruit this week.  I was told with the Paleo Whole 30 I could count that as a cheat meal.  Are you serious????  Greek yogurt as a cheat meal??  That does not make any sense to me when others are “cheating” on pizza, ice cream, cake and wine and calling it their “cheat meal”.

I chose to have Greek yogurt.  This is not cheating.  Greek yogurt may not be part of the Whole 30 program but it is definitely not cheating.   Me eating this food did not hurt anyone and it definitely did not hurt me.  I just chose to not follow the Whole 30 for one meal.

The word cheating is an inflammatory word.  Guilt goes along with the word cheat.  Yes I did feel some remorse for cheating on those tests.  I would hope a spouse has some guilt when cheating on his partner.  When I call someone a cheater I am hoping they will feel bad and change their behavior.  If I cheat on my “diet” my mind says “cheat with gusto”.  And then once I cheated I feel bad.   But eating greek yogurt does not make me feel guilty.

So I am not going to cheat.  I don’t have to cheat to succeed in life.  On my weight loss journey, I am choosing.  I am choosing what goes in my mouth.  Yes there will be days that I may not make the best choices.  But I am choosing to do so.  I am doing it with a full conscious knowing what and if any consequences will follow.  My cheating days are over.

Clean Eating

So Maria called me before the first of the year and proposed another challenge for me.  “Let’s do the 30 day Paleo challenge.”  Great – another challenge by my beloved daughter.  Do I really want to do this?  I have been very successful with Weight Watchers.  But then I thought it would be a great idea to start the new year off with a new challenge.  I am always up for a challenge and was interested in  what was involved.  Here is the link to the Whole 30 program. I read the program and saw what was good to eat and what I had to avoid.  And I new I could implement this with Weight Watchers new Simple Start.

Mostly the Whole 30  is eating lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and fruits and healthy fats.  Here is the kicker.  NO WINE!  Ok, I can give up wine for 30 days.  I have given up my wine before and it actually has been hindering my weight loss. So no problem.   Also on the Whole 30 there are no grains, legumes, dairy or additives.  No sugar substitutes.  So that means not only do I have to give up my wine, I can’t have sugar free gum, sugar free popsicles, diet tonic water and my Greek Yogurt (which I absolutely love).  I am ok giving up legumes and grains.    They have not been a big part in my diet anyhow.  But I will admit giving up my Greek yogurt, sugarless gum and sugar free popsicles and diet tonic water will be a challenge.

Before I go any further I want to clarify my few diet products that I enjoy.  I chew maybe one piece of sugar free gum a day.  I usually will pop a piece in my mouth early in the afternoon when I get a sweet craving.  My sugar free popsicle is a treat for after dinner.  And my one glass of diet tonic water was only drunk before dinner to replace a glass of wine.  Greek yogurt was my go to breakfast with strawberries.  Oh and I usually would sweeten it with one packet of Stevia Raw (which is also a no no).

My go to drink is now water, water and more water.  I fill a gallon jug of water, cut up limes and lemons and put them in the jug.  I love it.  It tastes fresh and is very refreshing.  Did you know that you are suppose to drink 1/2 your body weight in water?  That is in ounces not pounds.  So If I weigh 154 pounds, I have to drink around 77 ounces of water a day.  That is a lot of water.  But I have been easily drinking that amount daily and enjoying it.

Now I am not a perfect human being and I did choose to have a few items on the no no list.  I did have my Greek yogurt three times in ten days.  There are just so many eggs I can eat for breakfast.  I also don’t like meat or fish every morning for breakfast.  So that is a challenge.  We went to the movies yesterday and I didn’t even think about having popcorn.  Which is an absolute no no.  But I really was craving a diet coke which I very rarely drink.   After a few sips, I was noticing a horrible after taste.  I never have an after taste with my lemon water.  So I don’t think I will be having any more diet soda.    I finished my last sugar free popsicle last night and I will not buy any more.  I won’t even talk about me loving light lemonade.  I have totally given that up.  Now my sugarless gum might just have to stay in my program.

I think more than anything on this challenge is to not add any additives to your food. So here is what I am trying to do.  In my smoothies, (a great treat mid morning snack with one cup of almond milk and a cup of blueberries) instead of my Stevia Raw  I could add 1/2 of a very ripe banana.   How sweet it is.  I could also cook down some very sweet apples and add that and that would be a very natural sweetener.

I am now 10 days into this challenge and here is what I have learned.  Paleo Whole 30  is very easy to stick to.  It is a very healthy way of eating.  I am never hungry.  I LOVE NOT BEING HUNGRY!  I have not weighed or measured or tracked any food for 10 days and I am loving it.  And this definitely goes along with Weight Watcher Simple Start program.  I feel absolutely FREE.  I just eat my lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and my olive oil.  It is so simple.  I don’t think about food 24-7.  I do take time to make sure my refrigerator and freezer are well stocked with great wholesome foods.  I have enjoyed eating new foods.  My absolute favorite is Butternut Squash chips.  Which is a great snack when I come home from work.

I am enjoying my Clean Eating.  I feel great.  I am sleeping better.  I feel like I have a bit more energy.  The best thing is that Whole 30 is VERY EASY.  Weight Watchers Simple Start is also very easy. In my world of chaos and confusion, very easy is my favorite place to be.