I NEVER cheat when it comes to my diet.

Now I know some of you will be reading this and thinking OMG. That would be right. That Brett, he is such a zealot. Of course HE doesn’t cheat.

Some of you will be screaming at your screens LIAR! I have seen him eat…

Some will go straight into guilt mode and start berating yourself for the times you slipped off of the wagon.

Others will go straight into justification mode and start extolling the virtues of the 80:20 rule or the benefits of a “cheat meal” on your metabolism or maybe even the dangers of Orthorexia and why we shouldn’t be too rigid with our rules around food.

So before you all start screaming at me at once give me a sec to explain first.

When I say I never cheat, that doesn’t mean that I perfectly follow my Paleo diet 100% of the time. What it does mean is that I just choose not to feel guilty about it, and I actually don’t consider it cheating.

I make conscious choices about what is the best for me right now and into the future. Wellness is about much more than just your diet. It is about your mental health, your social life, your relationships, your exercise, your sleep and so on and so forth. And for the most part find that the Paleo Diet ticks all of these boxes for me and I find that the more closely I follow The Paleo Diet the better I do in all of these areas.

Sometimes though I am out and about and there aren’t any or many Paleo options available or the ones that are available just aren’t that appetising.

Sometimes I have been travelling or on the road or just insanely busy and I have some very important work to do and I choose to have a black tea or even a coffee to get me through.

Sometimes I just have a craving for something that isn’t Paleo (dark chocolate is probably my biggest weakness now days) .
Sometimes I choose to join in on a social activity that includes alcohol or non-paleo foods (like having a drink with my cricket mates after a grand final as promised, or having a slice of pizza with some mates at a bux show rather than fast).

The thing is that in each of these cases I am choosing to do something based on what is best for me both in the moment and for the future. I know that there are consequences when it comes to my health when I don’t fuel my body the way it is designed to be fuelled. I am also lucky that I don’t have any true intolerances and severe reactions to any of these foods so I get to make this choice.

I also know that I need to be really careful that these VERY occasional exceptions don’t start to become occasional exceptions and then perhaps even more frequently. I know that when these exceptions start to creep into my life any more than just rare exceptions that I will pay the price in terms of my health. Not necessarily just in sickness or in symptoms but well before it gets to that stage in loss of productivity and vibrancy and creativity and joy.

But I also know that I need to take into account more than just the chemical component of my diet and lifestyle too. That sometimes I just need the mental break of not following the rules. That sometimes I do need a coffee to be physically able to get done what I need to get done to help all of the people that I want to help and to be there for my family and loved ones in the way that I want to be there for them. That sometimes just joining in and having fun with my mates warms my heart and makes me feel alive and youthful again.

I think that labelling something as a “cheat meal” is attaching feelings of guilt to that particular food. Guilt is a negative feeling of being judged (by yourself or others) because you have done something wrong and feeling guilty about the choices I have made isn’t serving anyone. By definition if you are making your decisions based around guilt you are not being authentic, you are doing what you think you SHOULD be doing rather than what you want to do which denies you the opportunity to learn your own lessons about health and life. You are acting out of fear of what people will think rather than out of love for you and your body. In extreme cases this can even lead to sickness, malnutrition and mental disorders like Orthorexia.

So there’s a really fine line to follow, and I’m not just giving you a free pass here! For some people they will just choose to go 100% either because their particular health concerns mean that is the only way to go for them or because they just find it easier to be 100% than to try and follow the thin cave drawn line and so long as you are doing that out of love for yourself not hate or fear or guilt then that is fine. For many people like me we will choose to walk that line. Knowing that sometimes we will slip up and get too far off track but also knowing what it is like to be on track and just how good that feels. We also know that sometimes the best lessons are learnt when you fall off the wagon and that sometimes it is just what you need to take the next step in your evolutionary health journey.

So I NEVER cheat on my Paleo Diet. Sometimes I choose not to follow it 100% and I am ok with that!