What typically comes to mind when you think of “cheating” is probably cheating in a relationship, on an exam, or maybe in a game. However, our culture has come up with another use of cheating; that is, to cheat on a diet.
In a world where fitness and nutrition have taken over our culture, millions of people have put themselves on diets in order to maintain or create their ideal body; whether it be through a professional program or one that is self-created. Through personal experience, I know that trying to lose weight is not an easy task. Not only have I had to adjust my diet completely, but also I continue to push myself to go to the gym each and every day.
On the surface, this does not sound too difficult; but living on a college campus with constant temptation of unhealthy foods has made my journey that much harder. Many people, myself included, will see these indulgences and think “Hey, I’ve been so good with my diet all week. I deserve to cheat a little.” The next thing you know, you have just eaten hundreds of unwanted, empty calories, completely setting yourself off of your diet.
Cheating on a diet is much different than the types of cheating I mentioned before. This is because the other types involve deceiving other people, while cheating on a diet is deceiving yourself.
You are breaking the promise you made to YOURSELF, that is, to maintain healthy nutrition in order to accomplish your weight goals.
And these “tiny cheats” quickly spiral. When a person slips on their diet in the morning, for example, they justify eating unhealthy for the rest of the day because “the day is already spoiled.” And then you tell yourself, “I’ll start tomorrow” which often turns into the next week or month. Some say that “cheat days” have positive effects such as increasing energy levels. Such energy can be beneficial if put to good use doing cardiovascular exercise. However, the foods that people eat to cheat on their diets are not those that make them want to go workout in the gym.
I am not saying that a person trying to lose weight should never be allowed to have a cookie, but making periodic indulgences a habit will not work to accomplish goals in the long run.
Cheating on a diet may not be seen publicly as the worst type of cheating because no one is affected but you. But we need to learn to put ourselves, our health, and our bodies first. Being faithful to your diet is being faithful to yourself.