Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saturday: Cheat Day (1)

Tom and I decided to try having one cheat day a week and that this day would be Saturdays.

Now it may turn out that this is a terrible idea and we shouldn't do it, but we want to at least give it a try and see how it goes.

Why did we decide to have a dedicated cheat day?  For a few reasons....

1) The kids were constantly asking "well, can I have just a bit of grain today?... tomorrow...when?" 

If you have children, you know it doesn't matter how many times and how many ways you answer their questions -- if it's not the answer they want, they'll keep asking. So I thought maybe having a dedicated Cheat Day would provide the kids with a sense of stability (which I believe is fundamental for kids, always to know what's going on and what is expected of them), and would also help save my temper from exploding by the 37th time they ask the "can we have grains now?" question.

2) I've never liked being told "you absolutely cannot do that."

Yeah, I know it sounds juvenile, but it's the truth. I really can't stand it when people tell me I have no choice in the matter. If God sees fit to give me freewill, I am fairly certain the guy down the street has no right to tell me otherwise. I kid, I kid!


3) The emotional factor. 

Yes, I know, food should not be an emotional crutch, but let's face it: for many people, it is.

 (A friend of mine, mother of five, once said to me "You know... people look at us and think "why can't you just lose weight? I tell you why! because I'm about to go give five little kids a bath, so I'd better enjoy the hell outta this cheeseburger!" So for her a cheeseburger was a source of strength before wrestling five kids under the age of six in a bathtub. And I can't say as I blame her. ;) 

 I think it is expecting too much out of (most) people to expect them to happily give up every dish they've grown up with, relate to, and crave at certain times. Now you will say that that the health benefits of giving up these foods is worth the angst it causes. This depends on the person, I think. After reading many testimonials and talking to those who have GP I am realizing that it's really a journey. It doesn't have to be perfect right off the bat. Making one good choice eventually leads to many good choices... so if in the beginning you need tortilla chops every day, fine, but I think eventually we will all get to a point where our daily "must have's" will turn into "want to's" and finally "meh, I don't like it that much anymore's."   

In any event, I think it has lifted the mood of the household (not that it has been down and out) just to have a day where they can look forward to having a "forbidden fruit." I highly suspect it will not be an all out gorging, but eating one or two things we wouldn't normally have and not feel guilty about it. 

4) Why a dedicated day instead of whenever we feel like it?

I was afraid once we'd start to cheat here and there, the "here and there" would quickly become the norm without us realizing it. I don't think we'll always need a specified cheat day, but for now I think it's the safest way to go. 

5) Because I said so. 

So there :P

This past Saturday three of the kids were at Grandma's so Tom and I went out for lunch. He wanted pizza, so we headed to Old Chicago. I ordered a Stromboli (chicken, peppers, and mushrooms (GAK!) inside a bread casing, I dumped out the insides and left the bread. The lunch came with a dessert so I went for the cheesecake ball (maybe three inches) on a stick. I knew it had to have sugar, but it was at least grainless... it was way too sweet and Elizabeth ate half of it, which was okay by me. 

Tom had thin crust pizza with mushrooms (seriously icky) peppers, pepperoni and sausage. He hate about half of the pizza and took the leftovers home. About half an hour later he said his stomach felt a little off and he didn't enjoy it as much as he thought he would. He even threw out the leftovers!

Then we went shopping for a piece of furniture. Had no luck. Then we headed home since our city was supposed to be hit with tornadoes a few hours later. We went home and watched the weather and decided it was safe enough to have dinner. So we packed up Elizabeth and headed to Cheeburger Cheeburger for my cheat meal. We had cheeseburgers with a bun and a few fries. It was pretty delicious. And apart from a little bloating (not too bad) I didn't really suffer any ill-effects, I'm happy to say. 

I'm happy to say we didn't go crazy overboard, but we felt satisfied and happy... and we discovered that cheating can really make you appreciate being Primal. 

1 comment:

  1. Obviously, on point (1) I can't really comment, but I can imagine. On points (2) and (3), I agree whole-heartedly, as you already know. I really like the thinking in point (4), because it definitely shows a good amount of thought went into this. On point (5), that's all that matters in the end.

    I see that you guys soon learned that it wasn't as cracked up as you thought it would be. This is normal. You'll have cravings for things every now and then, but often when you get to have them you soon realize that they weren't as great as you thought they'd be. But, yeah. There is a psychological release in being able to stray from a perceived restriction, even if the "fruits" aren't as...um... fruitful. I think as time goes on, your one cheat day every week may become less important. That you may only cheat a day or two a month or every couple of months. Only time will tell.

    There is a deep connection between food and psychology, and I only wish I understood its true depths. I think you guys have definitely had your "switch flipped" to where you aren't going to go back to your old ways; but you still have that connection (that urge) that needs to be fulfilled every now and then for a while longer. It eventually subsides, but it does take a while.

    I will say this: I would be willing to bet that the prospect of living primal for the rest of your life no longer seems like a journey of great effort. I bet it almost seems like a new normal.