I know what you must be thinking. The title of this blog is very simple, and therefore, the answer must be simple: just don’t cheat. And you are right. Yet, us as humans understand that things are easier said than done. If you want to know how to not cheat on your diet, you need more information than someone telling you not to cheat. That’s pretty obvious.
What is a diet? Most of us hear the word diet and frown our face, or we hear the word diet and immediately think of all of the delicious, sweet, and savory foods that we are no longer allowed to eat. Yet, a diet is simply the total amount of food that you consume regularly. In it’s most basic form, diet has nothing to do with running a calorie deficit. Diet is the food you eat on a regular basis, no matter the amount of calories consumed. For example, herbivores have a diet consisting of plants. Carnivores have a diet consisting of meat. Omnivores have a diet consisting of plants and meat. The type of meat that a carnivore eats, or the amount of meat they consume makes no difference.
Regarding diet as it relates to health and nutrition most always includes some type of calorie restriction, or a reduction/elimination of a particular food or macro-nutrient. Have you ever heard of the ketogenic diet, or the vegan diet, or the high protein diet? All of these diets are either a reduction, or increase, of a particular food group and the reduction of calories. This blog is not meant to discuss which diet is best, this blog is meant to help prevent you from cheating on the diet you choose to follow. If you cheat on your diet, it can’t work. Diets only work when you stick to them. Are you on the ketogenoic diet? Then you know you must refrain from carbohydrates over 15g-20g per day. Are you a vegan? That means only natural and organic plant-based food for you. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, etc.
Why do we cheat on our diet? We cheat on our diet for the same reason we cheat on exams, cheat on our partners, and cheat people in general; we want to fulfill our desires in the moment. Why would anyone cheat on an exam? It’s because they want to ensure they pass. Why would anyone cheat while playing a video game? They want to ensure they win. Why would anyone cheat on their partner? They want to feel good in the moment. When you cheat on your diet, you are cheating on yourself. You have made a commitment to yourself to stick to a diet, and each time you cheat you break that commitment. No one forced you to make the commitment. You took it upon yourself to make it and now you must work hard to hold yourself to it.
When it comes to staying on your diet I want to give you some tips that you can use in order to not break your commitment to yourself, even when your desire is raging. This will take some discipline and will power, but it’s very possible. The first thing that you must do is eliminate temptations and distractions as much as possible. I am well aware of the power of addiction. Many of us were addicted to food until we started our weight loss journey and made a decision to live a healthier life. The fewer distractions you have the better. If you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to snack on cake and ice cream then it may be time to get rid of the cake and ice cream. Some will say that this makes you mentally weak, but I think it makes you mentally strong. You know your weakness and you are proactively removing it so that it will not trip you up. Why play silly mind games with yourself? The more often you see the food you crave, the more you will crave it, and the more you will be tempted to give in. Treat the food in the same manner that a recovering alcoholic would treat booze, or a recovering drug addict would treat drugs, keep your vice far away from you.
Anther way to not cheat on your diet is to always stay busy. You must keep your mind occupied all of the time. If you are not doing anything productive you will have nothing but time to sit and think about all of the justifications for you to cheat on your diet. Stay active physically and mentally. In those moments of the day where you have nothing but spare time you need to make sure that you are working on a side task of yours, or doing something that uses your brain power. You can use some spare time to reorganize your schedule, or look up a new book to read, or even look into starting a side business. If you have a lot of free time during the day, it’s a high probability that you will use that free time to eat.
My final tip is for you to realize that going to the gym, or working out is not an excuse to cheat on your diet. We often can justify cheating on our diet by saying that we will work out extra hard today, or we will do extra cardio to make up for the bad food we’ve eaten. The gym is simply a tool to help you lose weight and sculpt your body in an accelerated manner. You can loose weight by dieting alone. However, the gym is effective at breaking down muscle fiber, and helping you to create a larger calorie deficit. It is not acceptable to say that I can cheat on my diet because I’m going to the gym today. This is why people get poor results and end up quitting on their fat loss journey. They burn 500 calories at the gym and use that as an excuse to go and eat a slice of cake and a scoop of ice cream. Little do they know the cake and ice cream are 800 calories, and their deficit just became a surplus and therefore they lose no weight. Find a diet that works best for you. There are ultra-strict diets out there and also moderate diets. Don’t pick an ultra-strict diet if you know you can’t stick to it. Pick a diet that is comfortable and effective, and will allow you to reach your fitness goals in due time. This is how to not cheat on your diet.