Hey, nobody’s perfect…and I suppose we all “cheat,” but is it alright to say it is okay to cheat? I think not. Is it to be expected? I think so. But then, if we do it, why is it then not alright to say it is okay? The answer is simple: it is wrong. Okay, that is a moral judgment but, are we humans not moral beings? Do we not make moral judgments? Is there not a right and wrong in this world? Do we have to see everything through a lens of moral relativism? I say the answer is “no.” It’s not okay, but it is to be expected. No one is perfect.
To be clear, “cheating” means that someone is being unjustly deprived of something that is rightfully theirs. That someone, in this case, is not someone else; it is you. You are cheating on yourself! But there are two ways to look on cheating on yourself: 1) the momentary “cheat,” and 2) the lifelong cheat of being deprived of good health.
You are rightfully deserving of good health. You were probably born with it and, if you are reading this column, you managed somehow to lose it. You lost it to the degree to which you have become 1) pre-diabetic, by your doctor’s observation of your fasting blood sugars or A1c’s, or 2), later in the progression of this metabolic disorder, you became a diagnosed Type 2 diabetic. Or you could be just a little overweight because you are Insulin Resistant and probably on the road to becoming a Type 2 diabetic.
So, I don’t consciously give myself permission to cheat. That would be too permissive. It would lend it an aura of acceptance – that it was in some way permissible; that is was an acceptable practice that somehow wormed its way into my daily or weekly routine and had a legitimate role in my lifestyle. That’s not what I want it to be. How, then, can I control my eating habits and patterns to address the inevitable “cheat”? These are my prerequisites:
1. We all say, “Our health is the most important thing,” but is that just an empty axiom? Not if you know that by close adherence to a Very Low Carb WOE over the years you have seen and will see mega improvements in your health. And not if you know that to “cheat” would put all that at risk. I put the thought of my health first.
2. I try to stay is a state of mild ketosis most of the time. This will keep 1) my blood sugars both low and stable and 2) my blood insulin level low, DISABLING HUNGER, avoiding fat storage and enabling fat burning.
3. In this state, with hunger virtually never present (honestly), cravings (from low blood sugars) are non-existent. So, eating becomes optional. If you’re not hungry, this legitimate reason to eat is “off the table.” There are, however, lots of triggers for eating besides hunger. I have plenty of them. But if I’m not hungry, I must decide how to respond to each of them. Each opportunity to eat is an opportunity to cheat. Here’s how I deal with it:
I simply ask myself, “Am I hungry?” The answer, of course, is “no,” and that is (almost) always sufficient.
If I’m not hungry, and therefore do not eat, I have succeeded. Contrast that with the compelling urge or craving you feel when you eat the standard American carb-loaded meal that shuts down fat burning. A few hours later, you feel hungry. But when you are in a state of mild ketosis, the absence of hunger is not a delusion. It’s a fact. It’s not about will power. My body is not asking me to eat because it is eating; it is eating my body fat. That breakdown of body fat, while in ketosis, is “the normal state of man.” Ketosis is the way our biology adapted to feeding ourselves for millennia prior to the Neolithic era only 500 generations (10,000 years) ago. This natural state of ketosis gave us the strength to hunt and gather. It is a healthy state. It is a high-powered, full-energy state, emblematic of an active metabolism.
So long as I remain in a state of mild ketosis (remember: without hunger), if I eat, it is for another reason. And there are many: a) the sight or smell or food, b) the thought of food, c) rationalizations (open bags or boxes in the pantry), d) social pressures (when as a dinner guest, food is offered), e) unsolicited food (bread at the restaurant table, hors d’hoeuvres at a party), e) thoughts of deprivation (everyone else is eating dessert at the pot luck), and habit, such as eating two or three meals a day. To all these things I have – in fact, I need, only one response:I simply ask myself, “Am I hungry?” The answer, of course, is “no,” and that is (almost) always sufficient.