Cheating on Your Diet

Many nutrition experts actually promote a lifestyle of dietary cheating as a means of release, provided it is controlled, planned and monitored. Others say not to get hung up on the right and wrong of nutrition, that food is just fuel for the fire, and that ultimately, it's just not that important. I couldn't disagree more.

Some say that striving for perfection creates guilt when we fail, and that such guilt is what leads to binging and eating all kinds of harmful food. Dieticians are stuck on calorie counting. They say that we can eat anything, that nothing is forbidden, that it's all just a matter of calories in and calories out. Poppycock! Calorie counting alone is a lost cause as the measurement of energy potential itself does not consider micronutrient density or the effect of the energy on the chemistry of the individual. Is 100 grams of sucrose identical in biological effect as 100 grams of kale?

So what do you think about cheating? Is it okay to cheat on ourselves? Is the concept of cheating relative or absolute? Is cheating a matter of type or degree?

To "cheat" means to defraud, mislead, swindle, deceive or violate a set of rules. So what do you think about cheating on your diet? Should you go straight during the week and cheat on the weekends? Should you cheat every day? Not at all? What does cheating accomplish?

Some experts recommend cheating to compensate for our natural tendency to break the rules. Like a means of releasing steam to prevent the lid from blowing off. But why is steam building up? What is causing the pressure? Do we have to "sin" to keep pace with everyone else?

Many of us use food to pacify emotions including anger, depression or loneliness. Others simply give into temptation. 100 percent pure hedonism. They can resist anything except temptation. Does cheating lead you astray or protect you from doing something worse? Does cheating make you stronger or weaker?

If cheating in school is discouraged by teachers and the public education system, and generally not encouraged by parents, why then is cheating on our diet acceptable? Are there different kinds cheating?

Could you explain to your daughter WHY she shouldn't cheat on a school exam? What would you say to your teenage son who wants to take steroids? The adage Cheaters Never Prosper can be explained like this, "If you cheat people, they will not continue to do business with you, and so your business will fail."

Is it permissible to break the law for personal gain? Does anyone care? We are judged by how we judge others. Are the principles we teach or enforce worth living by? Do as I say, not as I do? If everyone is cheating then why not conform.

In the documentary Bigger Faster Stronger, director Christopher Bell tells the story about himself and his two brothers who grew up idolizing their muscular heroes Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, only to discover that all of them were members of a steroid sub-culture who broke all the rules. Bell's message is clear. In a world preoccupied with being the biggest, strongest and fastest, you will never win in sport, business or war if you don't cheat.

Cheating anytime anywhere seldom brings us closer to the enlightened path of health and wellness. Is it less harmful to eat something detrimental if no one is looking? If we know it's wrong, and do it anyway, perhaps the best advice is to listen to reason. But where is reason when we need it most? In the human model reason often fails against emotion.

Ever watched Cheaters on TV? It's a reality show that actually videotapes spouses and lovers caught live in the act of infidelity using surveillance cameras. At you'll find a webpage dedicated to explaining exactly what infidelity is.

After reviewing 25 studies of infidelity, renowned psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass, author of several books on the subject of infidelity, estimates that "25% of wives and 44% of husbands have committed infidelity." This does not include emotional affairs in which no sexual activity has taken place Now let's compare cheating on your diet to cheating on your husband or wife. Is it okay to cheat on your spouse once a week? Why not? How about just on the weekends? Let's explore the downside of cheating in marriage and compare that to cheating on our diet.

Cheating on your friend, partner or spouse (whatever) puts both parties at risk for STDs, AIDS and of course for females, pregnancy. Cheating on your diet puts you at risk for infection and physical degeneration. To underestimate the destructive power of refined food is a grave mistake, literally.

Cheating on your spouse could have a long-term negative impact on your conscience, depending on your moral state. Cheating on your diet will have the same effect if you thinking eating junk food is wrong. To know what's right and still do what's wrong is like committing moral suicide. Ignorance is only bliss when it's foolish to be wise.

When you cheat on your partner, you lose the intimacy of monogamy. When you cross the line you can never go back. When you cheat on your diet, you lose the exclusive impact of eating for health. You dilute it. Is the pleasure worth the pain?

When you cheat on your spouse, you run the risk of addiction. Once we taste the forbidden fruit, it's very difficult to stop. Time goes by and we want more of the same. The taste is now a memory chip embedded in our brain. We remember the best part and forget the risk or gruesome reality. The same is true with junk food. Once the line is crossed the risk of wanting more increases exponentially with thought.

Does anyone understand the risk and biological consequences of eating refined food? Obviously not, because almost everyone is doing it. If we add prescription drugs to the mix and eliminate exercise can we expect anything but disaster? The rules put forth in the sport of life are designed to protect us, not rob us of the joy of living. Is living free of pain and degenerative disease worth the cost of dietary sobriety?

The original diet of mankind would be considered extreme by today's standards. Refined food didn't exist for most of human existence, and science confirms that back in the day everyone everywhere on the planet ate nothing but whole, natural real food. Isn't clean organic food at all times better than a diet tainted by greed and corruption?

Each one of us is drawn away when we are enticed and baited by our own lust and passion. It's not really about food. The junk is only an effect of something much deeper. When our desire for immediate gratification is conceived, it's next to impossible not to fulfill it. Why? Because such fulfillment is usually driven by powerful emotions and/or a physical state of inner chaos and blood sugar instability.

The next time you look at anything with lust in your eyes, think of the downside. That's what I do with junk food. I think of the risks and damage first, then I think of how much I love my health food and how good it is to me. That's how I nip any temptation in the bud. Right away. Immediately. I put the 'negative' desire to death before I let my mind wander and persuade myself to follow my dark side.

The force has a huge dark side, and it will always try to lure you in with thoughts that feed your sense of pride, pleasure and desire. When Darth Vader was young, he was lured away by a combination of pride, disobedience and deception.

So let's be careful out there. The reason the dark side is dark, is because it can lead to our destruction by our own hand. The upside of whole food is that it heals, regenerates and restores. Let's focus on that.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

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As always, stay well and live free!