Is Cheating OK When it Comes to Weight Loss?

candies chips cake raisins arranged beautifully in bowls in wooden plate
by Vance Larson

It’s that time of the year when many of us are going to be bad. There are parties to go to. You want to indulge. The right amount spirits consumed and the table is set. So is eating cheating?

Yes, the New Year is upon us. We have big plans for ourselves and often none bigger than losing weight. (You thought I was going somewhere else with this article, didn’t you?) Here’s the thing about losing weight in the New Year. It doesn’t come from exercise. It doesn’t come from dieting. It comes from responsible eating. Let me say that again. It comes from responsible eating. Have you ever heard that weight lose is done in the kitchen? It’s true. You can workout 7 days a week, but if your diet isn’t on point, weight loss will be short lived.

With an eating addiction you have to eat

Eating is not cheating. I have often said that an eating addiction is among the hardest to overcome and here is why. When treating addiction, we often prescribe and preach abstinence from said drug or vice—but here’s the problem with an eating addiction—you have to eat. Therefore dieting is not recommended. We must learn to eat responsibly.

There are many ways to eat responsibly. The first thing I would suggest is finding the right support and education system. You will lean heavily on this in the beginning, however, the question always comes up about a “cheat day”. Is it wrong? That depends on who you ask. In my experience, once you have developed responsible eating habits, having a “cheat” here and there is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with having a little reward system in place. In fact, knowing that you have that “cheat” coming on the weekend, in many cases will keep you on track. Thus, there is no resentment or feeling that you’re missing out. However, I caution you. Don’t cheat early on as in the early days the main focus is to cultivate some discipline.

There will be some that disagree with me and for some, they would be right. You have to find what works for you. However, I have found that telling someone that they can never have chocolate (or whatever their go to comfort food is) again, rather than saying we’re cutting back, usually produces a better result. So I have found the “cheat” once or twice a week is actually a good thing.

Is eating cheating? Only if the “cheat” is being eaten several times a week. Being a vegetarian for close to 4 decades, I very much appreciate my “cheats”. So if dieting is on your New Years resolution list, eat responsibly and don’t feel guilty about the occasional cheat!

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