I Don’t Cheat.

No, really… I don’t cheat. I do drink alcohol, go wine tasting on occasion,  eat jar(s) of almond/sunflower seed butter,  chocolate covered macaroons, dark & white chocolate bars, corn tortilla chips, corn tortilla tacos, dried fruit, chocolate covered bacon, sweet potato (fries, chips… just about anything sweet potato), and none of it I consider “cheating”.

Personally, I really hate the term “cheat”. Too much stress, and too many negative connotations attached to it. As I said, I don’t do it. “But Justin, what about all that stuff you mentioned?!” 

IT’S NOT A CHEAT.  You see, all of it was part of “the plan”, and if it’s part of the plan, it’s not cheating. I have goals, and I’m implementing a plan to achieve those goals. If my plan/actions are no longer achieving my goals, then I change them.

Whenever I ask a client about their goals, it always comes back to nutrition in some way, shape, or form. And, every time I ask about their nutrition, they respond in the same manner:“I’m eating pretty Paleo (maybe they include the term “strict”, or “80/20″), but I do have the occasional “CHEAT.” Maybe its alcohol on the weekend, or chocolate (dark, of course), or fruit, or sugary, but “Paleo”, treat, etc… There’s always something… But is it cheating?

So you go out drinking with friends on the weekends. Is that cheating?  Are you happy? Are you healthy? Are you achieving your goals? If the answers are “yes”, then it just sounds to me like everything’s going according to plan. Could you get faster results by not going out? Maybe, maybe not. You could also be unhappy because you’re no longer seeing your friends, and hanging out like you did before. Is an extra pound or two worth losing out on those experiences? That’s for you to decide. 

So my whole view sounds a lot like the whole “80/20″ deal, right? Well I don’t weigh or measure. For all I know, it’s 50/50 or 60/40 or 90/10… I don’t care because it’s working FOR ME. And on that note,  what works for me, might not work for you. A person has to asses their goals, and determine if their actions are supporting or impeding their rate of success (either way, there are no “cheats”). If things are working, then everything is going according to plan. If not, change your actions… or your goals. Remember, as Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”



Written by Justin

Justin Scott was Southern born, East Coast bred, and Midwest educated. The only constant being a love of athletic, martial arts, and competition. While earning a Bachelor and Masters degree from Purdue University he competed as an amateur boxer, endurance athlete, and trained Krav Maga (an Israeli self-defense system). These activities led to coaching a variety of athletes in everything from combative sports to endurance events. As a Krav Maga instructor Justin has had the opportunity to train not only civilians, but military, law enforcement and first responders on how to appropriately react during violent and life threatening situations. Due to his diverse experiences, Justin is able to bring a unique understanding of people, goal setting, achievement, and motivation to his coaching. He knows achieving one's goals in health and fitness can be difficult, but believes anything is possible with the right resources, programming, and motivation. With an eclectic background and rich steeping in fitness and nutrition Justin is able to coach a variety of clients with phenomenal results. "I find each individual comes to me with their own strengths and weaknesses, goals and aspirations, and perceptions of their ability to achieve them. I live for these moments when I see a client do something they never thought they could, or achieve a goal they always wanted to." Justin is a Certified Crossfit Endurance Coach, Phase B Certified Krav Maga Instructor, and Phase B Certified Fit-To-Fight Instructor.

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17 Comments

  1. Lindsey

    Justin, you are a wise man.

  2. Melissa

    Thanks Justin for writing this! I am in the process of finding a sustainable lifestyle where I include dark chocolate and red wine, etc. I realize that I do really good strict but when I add the cheat foods back I tend to go crazy. So I am reevaluating the way I eat because it is not sustainable going strict all the time. I need to learn how to include these foods and reach my goals.

    Thanks!
    Melissa

  3. Thanks for the perspective, Justin

  4. Susanna

    Another great post!

  5. Chocolate covered bacon??? Why didn’t I think of that.

    I think fruit is my downfall. Especially this time of year it is such an easy snack. I want my “plan” to be limiting fruit to one serving per day at most.

    • andrenio

      I think 1 serving per day of fruit is just too litle even in a weight loss plan

  6. Matt B
    Matt B

    Excellent post! It’s basically the same thing we always say, find what works from you in the realm of food. Strict paleo or not, achieving success is a lot in the mind as well, and if you use the word “cheat” your mind is messing with you.

  7. Jenny LaBaw
    Jenny LaBaw

    LOVE this post Justin! So true and so real…we preach Paleo here guys because it works on so many levels…but as Justin said, there are different levels of “strictness” depending on your goals and how you feel. I just had a conversation with one of our members yesterday about this and she confessed to “cheating” on dark chocolate on the weekends…i told her “I have a little bit of dark chocolate 5-6 days a week”. She looked like I just told her the world was ending… ;) I feel good, I’m performing good and I”m healthy…that dark chocolate is just part of my plan! :)

    • Michell Remley

      I think we should have T-shirts made that say “Dark Chocolate is just part of my plan” I love it!!!

  8. R.C. Smith

    This is a great post Justin. I couldn’t agree more. Everyone needs to find there own plan that works best for them, strict, not strict… Whatever it may be. As long as they are achieving what makes them happy. That’s what matters most, because if we aren’t happy doing something, why do it at all!

  9. Shawn G
    Shawn G

    What what??? Justin got some comments…..Finally!!! :-) Great post man!

  10. Cassie

    I love this post! It is so true that “cheat” refers to doing something bad. I’m going to start thinking of it as part of my plan too. I agree with Matt as well, that your body responds to what you think about your eating habits. If you obsess about eating one piece of chocolate it will do more harm than if you just enjoy it and go on with your day.

    P.S. I miss you guys and look forward to seeing you all soon :)

  11. andrenio

    Well, you DO cheat.
    Paleo diet is not just a plan about losing weight and no matter how much you cheat as long as you end up achieving my goals, you could do it with any other diet, even eating junk food as long as you eat less calories than you spend. Paleo diet is about eating HEALTHY food because you want to stay healthy. You can gain weight or lose it with a paleo diet but either ways you keep healthy.

    At the begining I established a free diet day, normally Sundays, to eat non paleo food. But then I felt bad about eating junk food and even sick, often I end up with the trots, my body didn’t like it. So now I stay within the paleo diet a 100% and I feel much better because I eat HEALTHY all the time. Sundays only means I can eat more nuts, fruit or dried fruit.
    I DO go out with friends and relatives and it doesn’t mean I have to cheat, I just eat what I can and say no to what I can’t eat, they do understand and respect me and that’s the way it must be.

    • Susanna

      I think it is quite clear from Justin’s post that he’s subscribing to more expansive take on health that goes beyond the strict adherence to an nutritional plan. There is no point in trying to earn the “paleo trophy” if you are miserable in the process. “Happiness,” “health,” “balance” are idiosyncratic concepts – your definitions of health/happiness/balance are not mine. So if Justin chooses not to cast his eating habits under a negative light, and he is happy about it, why insist on calling him out for “cheating”?

  12. nancy r

    I love the English language…and you nailed the obviously inflammatory nature of the word ‘cheat’! Way to go, Justin!

  13. is tequila paleo?

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