When you cheat, is it because your mom paid a surprise visit and you just couldn't say no to her pie? Or they were giving out samples at Sam's Club? (Examples of unplanned cheats.)
Or do you plan your cheats well in advance? What "worthy" cheats require such advanced planning?
What percentage of your cheats constitutes unplanned cheats, and what percentage is planned?
I don't cheat, I indulge. They are 98% unplanned. Usually I choose to indulge because the item will somehow make my quality of life better. I remember this flourless chocolate cake I shared with my husband after crosscountry skiing in Yellowstone all day. There was a hot tub involved. Mindlessly slipping a chip into my mouth or having a quickie with a piece of bread isn't worth it to me. But a whole body experience, now that's what I'm talking about. But I'm a Taurus, we eat with all of our senses.
I do not buy into this concept of 'cheating' with food. I follow a very healthy paleo lifestyle and eat healthy food. If I so choose I will eat something considered non paleo, it's not a big deal, this is not a religion and I do not have to go confess my sins after. Every morsel of food we lift to out mouths is a choice, nothing more, as we all continue down the paleo path we just get more practiced better at making better and better choices. If i feel like ordering pizza for movie night with my kid I choose to do so or if I want ice cream I choose to eat some, but I am fully prepared for the resulting consequences, if any, of that choice.
I lost the most body, felt the best, and stuck to the healthiest program by giving myself one 21st century ANYTHING goes binge day. It was planned, religious and fun. The rule was absolutely no unplanned food 6 days a week, moderate exercise and on that one day, Saturday for me, I get to eat and do whatever I want. My cholesterol numbers improved, A1C dramatically improved and I felt like a million bucks on every day but the one morning after the binge day. I'll admit the binge hangover is kind of rough.
I have two cheats and plan accordingly because they fall right smack into the planned/not planned category at all times. Craft beer as I'm heavily involved in the brew community here in NY: working events, homebrew(ing), random bottle finds, launches, parties, etc. The other is.. pie. HOMEMADE pie. If there is pie anywhere at anytime then I am doomed as it must be mine. Usually one bite of crust because I gotta see if it's tasty and then the filling. It's kind of nice as I have chef friends who accept how I eat and will bake a ramekin of filling with a little circle of crust on it for me :)
I basically eat well all the time so any cheats would come as a surprise, but I only just cheat a little (one bit to try something).....just don't have the desire to over do it otherwise.
When I add in a baked potato I consider this my cheat for the week, but its planned and its really not a bad cheat, but knocks me out of ketosis for a day or so.
Generally I have to plan them because I know the average cheat food that would get offered to me would be a painful experience. "There are donuts in the conference room" "Hey, want a cookie?" "Office birthdays! Come to so-and-so's office for cake!" I know every single one of those will have my guts feeling like they're being sliced open in a few hours from all the gluten. Once I figured out what was causing me so much pain, turning those items down became easy.
So if I want to cheat, I need to plan in advance because I need to make sure it's a cheat I will enjoy, not one that would have me on the floor sobbing and swelling.
Mine are usually something in the middle, call it a committed impulse. For example last night I had icecream on impulse to celebrate getting though a tough class. But we don't keep it around and didn't have the dewar loaded so we went to get some.
I typically decide I want X and than must take further action to get it. In the case of random offers, it just isn't very appealing unless I have decided I want it first.
I don't cheat unplanned. Most of the food that 'sneaks up on you' is disappointing when you give in so I choose to cheat when I know I can be sure it will be delicious. I planned a cream tea cheat for yesterday. When I got to it there was no cream. Scones with cheap jam and butter weren't worth it so I left it.
I don't cheat. I even hate the term cheat. When deciding to go paleo, it was based on the science behind it. Which means that some foods are bad and never eaten (grain-based stuff), some foods are good (grass fed meats). Others are in-between. Nothing is 100% good for you, you just have to judge each food on a cost-benefit analysis (yes, that sounds scary, but it isn't). I almost never eat potato chips - potatoes are too startchy for me and they're probably made with bad oils. But if I go out to lunch after a WOD and the burger (without a bun!) comes with a side of potato chips, I may eat them. Immediately after a WOD, I know I need glycogen, so the starch doesn't matter, and the bad oil really isn't in a large quantity that I would have any effect (because I do this once a month or less).
Basically don't "cheat" for the sake of cheating. Don't have a treat and call it a cheat. Just look at what you're eating and say: Right now is eating this going to improve my life in some way (enjoyment is a valid improvement) more than it would hurt it (gut damage and potential autoimmune issues from gluten always outweighs anything else for me).
Most of my cheats are planned. I am really good about resisting those spontaneous "Hey want a cookie?!" moments.
And when I plan a cheat, I make sure it's something I TRULY LOVED pre-paleo so it's worth it. I'm not going to cheat with something that's "meh".
Most times though I try to make paleo treats as my "cheat". But not always... I love Reese's Peanut Butter cups :/ ... and Oreos.