Another Way of Looking at Cheat Days and the Ruination they Lead to – from the Perspective of an Ex-drunk.
I went to a dinner the other night. Three of us were normal weight. The rest ranged from every-day overweight to morbidly obese. Two are currently eating themselves to death.
I have a problem in this setting because I have a tough time keeping my mouth shut. Put ten fat people in a room, you’ll hear more excuses and false information about why people get fat than you can shake a stick at. Better, they also happen to be experts on how to lose that weight. I should know, I used to traffic that cow pucky. I can only take so much before I say, “Now hang on a second”, and attempt to right the ship. Of course, I’m sure I’m a bundle of fun to have around as well – I’m not lost on this.
In any event, one of the “eating myself to death” family members suggested that for some people, “cheat days” are necessary when it comes to one’s diet. I submit Exhibit A, I think that family member missed the irony***.
A morbidly obese person telling a recovering alcoholic of more than two and a half decades, without relapse, that cheat days in what a person eats are necessary to lose weight. If you haven’t put two and two together, by that thinking I should be having a beer every now and again… or would that be a case of beer every now and again? Do you hear me now? If we’re going to cheat, why not do it right, eh? If you think there’s logic in the ex-drunk taking a drink every now and again, I suggest you marry a practicing alcoholic, or invite one in to your happy home and give that tornado a spin. It’ll change your perspective pretty quickly.
There are three distinct aspects to a cheat day, so let’s look at that, first; Eating too much, and eating junk or my favorite: Both.
Alcoholics and recovering alcoholics are the Masters of the cheat day. We’ve used every excuse there is to justify them. For us, the cheat days also come with heavy consequences. Madness, insanity, mayhem, death, and prison. Where can I sign up for some more of that?! For us, to drink is to die. There is no return to “normalized” drinking of alcohol so there are no cheat days. Oh, we may try, but sooner or later we’re butt-naked on the hood of our car with the key stuck in our ass, screaming, “It’s okay, I think it’s just flooded!**” In other words, there is no such thing as a cheat day. To cheat is to die, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
I prefer to save my cheat days till after I’ve attained my target weight. Of course, by then I don’t want to cheat because I know just how damned hard it is to lose the weight in the first place. And that’s pretty much how recovery works for me (over-simplified, but close enough for government work). Once I was able to remain sober for more than a few weeks and realized how difficult it was to stay sober and clean up the wreckage in the first place, I had no desire to go back to the old way of life… because the old way was miserable.
We can always have our misery back. We just have to do what we always did to get there. Just a thought.
**Special thanks to Robin Williams for that one. I laughed the first time I heard it, but it hit a little too close to home back then, if you know what I mean.
***I do know of people who have properly used cheat days – not many, but a few. Let’s just say they figured out that “a” cheat day every now and again isn’t bad…. they just can’t all be cheat days.