Dr. B Centurion
Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Aug. 2006
Location: Clearwater, Florida
Height: 5' 10"
||Posted: June 24 2008,13:00
I did not prepare the below alone. I drafted the majority of it, and then Ada, DaveD, Shilps, and Paula provided input which greatly improved the clarity and tone.
Therefore, I take credit for any and all errors and deficiencies in the below, and give credit to the Staff for anything about it that's good.
This was originally drafted as a new question/answer for the Dieter's FAQ but got so long I decided to make it a separate post/topic, and then link to it from the new entry in the FAQ.
This topic was considered for inclusion in the Dieter's FAQ due to this question recently coming to dominate the forums. One common component to many people's attempt at a helpful answer was "don't beat yourself up, it happens to everybody". While that may be comforting, it's simply not true. The truth is that many people are 100% strict and do not cheat, or allow themselves to get into a situation they are not prepared for. Imagine you were deathly allergic to any food other than food given to you by your doctor. Would you venture out into some event of uncertain duration without taking some of that food with you just in case? If you did, and got caught short, would you just eat whatever there was and risk death? That's the mindset I had on 100% strict. It is not OK to cheat, and not everyone does it.
If you do cheat however, then, what has happened has happened and at this point it can’t be changed. The only question is, are you going to let it be a purely negative thing, or will you try to gain something positive from the experience? Assuming you (wisely) chose the latter, look at what happened and figure out where it went wrong. Did you go to an office dinner or party where you knew there would be temptations but thought you could resist them (and were wrong)? Did you go out to do [whatever activity] and you got caught away from the house with no Dr. B legal foods for longer than you planned? Did you "have just one" of an "off list" food "because you deserved it" and then go crazy and have much more than you should have? For almost any case of cheating, there should be an identifiable root cause. It is absolutely necessary to identify that root cause and make positive plans to proactively deal with it in the future. If your resolve is not yet strong enough to handle the peer pressure of an office party (or other event where lots of forbidden food and drink will be), then you just can't go to those things for awhile, or, if you do, you're going to have to dig deep down into your resolve and make yourself behave. If you work in a job where you might have to "pull a double" unexpectedly, then it is absolutely necessary to keep some extra "shelf stable" legal foods at work to deal with that, or identify restaurants nearby that can make you something legal to get you through. These are just a few examples. It is impossible to cover every conceivable circumstance, but this should give you a good idea of how to analyze and plan.
Regarding ketosis, whether or not the cheat "kicked you out of ketosis" is irrelevant. What you do to get back on track is the same, and in fact it is quite simple. Go back to 100% strict, be sure you're drinking the correct amount of fluids, and continue to go to the clinic on your normal schedule. Do not lie on your diet sheet (in doing so you are lying both to the clinic and to yourself) -- take responsibility for your action and write down what you had. If you lie on your diet sheet then the people who are responsible for your care are going to get confusing signals and they can't help you properly. If your urine and the scale say one thing and your diet sheet says another, they have to assume that you're either fudging the truth or there is something really wrong with you.
Understand that the physiological part of weight loss is pretty straightforward -- it's the mental part that is really tricky and demands your utmost attention and devotion. Your time on strict is precious time -- it is a time to practice discipline and form new habits and responses to stimuli. If you make it to goal, and switch to maintenance, you'll probably look back on strict as "the good old days when things were simple". If you didn't take full advantage of building your discipline and forming those new habits on strict, maintenance may well be a disaster for you. Maintenance is hard enough if you do learn what you need to learn on strict, but heaven help you if you don't. I like to paraphrase an old saying about "doing things right" like this "if you don't take the time to do strict correctly, you can always work harder to do it right the next time you're on strict". In other words, if you don't make every effort to learn what you need to learn from the strict phase of the diet and practice appropriate eating behavior at every opportunity, then, I believe the chances of keeping off long-term what you lose are slim and you'll probably be "starting over on strict" again some day in the future (getting a second chance to do it right).
Especially counter-productive are discussions of "planned cheats". When you're on strict, you should never plan to cheat. If you're going to take a vacation or something and just absolutely can't bring yourself to stay strict on it, then declare "temporary maintenance" and at least work within those (slightly wider) boundaries. If you can't do that, then again, I fear you are seriously jeopardizing your chances for long term success because there will always be vacations, and if you don't learn to manage them while on strict, how will you ever learn to do so?
I was on strict for 7.5 months. Those seven and a half months spanned my birthday, two close friends' birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and a whole host of other events that involved immense pressure for me to cheat. "You sure you can't just have a little piece of turkey?" "No, I had my protein before I came, but thanks, I'm just happy to be here with family." Through it all I never knowingly cheated one single time.
To that my wife says "yeah, but you're a freak" -- and that may indeed be true. But I'm a freak that made my goal weight on schedule and have successfully managed my weight for 15 months now. If that's being a freak, I wouldn't want to be "normal".
Join me, be a freak, don't cheat.
This question was added to the FAQ as a result of considerable PM traffic to me from members and staff that were concerned with the volume of "help I cheated" posts. They were coming to dominate the forum and not in a particularly useful way. Harping on the “I cheated, comfort me” theme affects all members as it is counterproductive to keeping the positive mental focus so crucial to success on this, and indeed on any, eating plan. This is not to suggest that no portion of that topic merits individual discussion. One topic that would be appropriate for discussion on the forums would be something like "I had the following thing happen that resulted in eating off plan. I've worked to identify a root cause and a proactive solution so it won't happen again and am having a hard time. Anybody experienced this before, and if so, what did you do to manage the situation?" In this case, it's not just a "I cheated and I want you all to make me feel better about it" post, it's a "I have a legitimate logistical problem and I'm hoping you veterans may have experienced it before and have a suggestion".
Some of you that haven't been around long are going to read the above and consider it overly harsh. You're probably thinking, "easy for him to say now that he can eat whatever he wants, he probably doesn't remember how hard strict is". The folks that have been here a long time will tell you that I've always had the same mindset regarding cheating, from my first day of the diet until now. If anything, I'm a little less harsh now because of the experiences I had on maintenance that give me some insight into they types of things that can happen (cravings, binges, etc.) when you do cheat.
If you're a very logical person, you might also want to check out my post discussing the utility analysis of cheating vs. not. In the interest of space I won't repeat it all here.
I hope that everyone can appreciate that the above is given because I want to help you, not to give you a hard time or be a "meanie" or whatever. Sometimes tough love is the best love.
I'll say it again -- join me, be a freak, don't cheat.
Being 100% strict is for losers! You want to be a loser don't you?
If you're new to the diet, be sure to check out Question #16 of the Dieters FAQ. It might help save you some needless worry.
American College of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant