Tag Archives: black and white thinking

What is cheating?

23 Jan

A very thought provoking post on Vertical Sleeve Talk today has had me do a lot of thinking about my definitions of cheating.  The original thread is here. I’m on the odd man out side of this thread, with most posters prefer bluntness and a kick in the pants if they are cheating.  For me, that kind of treatment makes me shut down and DO.BAD.THINGS.  If someone really knows me and has earned my trust and knows my issues they may have the right to give me a come to jesus about something, but not a random stranger on the internet.  I think the original poster was not getting down to the fine line of definition I’m struggling with and in the end it may not matter, but it does make me curious.

Here are some of my thoughts pulled out from that thread.  I want to grab them here because they represent a lot of thought i have about cheating, shame and failure.

This is an interesting thread. The immediate post op time period isn’t a time for cheating for sure. But I know I have made choices in the past month that were mistakes.
This may be a bunny trail, but, the word cheating is one I have issues with. Anyone reading or read Beck Diet Solution? It talks about mistakes versus cheating. I think the majority of folks in here who talk about cheating on their post op diets make mistakes, they don’t cheat. In all likelihood, a few bites too much or the wrong thing are not going to be the undoing of our sleeve. But when we attach words like cheating to it, there is such a message of immorality and failure to it..I dunno.
I guess apart from the extreme posts like eating a burger and popcorn a couple of days post op, I’d rather see us encourage each other in getting back to doing the right thing. Many many of us got here because of emotional eating and black and white thinking, so I’d rather us offer each other support to do the right behaviors.
While we did have extreme surgery, for many of us the ability to be perfectly compliant doesn’t magically occur just because we had the surgery. Maybe I shouldn’t have been approved, dunno, but I think I am doing a helluva lot better, even with mistakes, now, than preop!! But by my former harsh use of the word cheating , I definitely have done so many times in the past month. But each time I eat I have a chance to do it better.
Eta–not upset by original post, just challenging us to think about what cheating really is and encourage us to help each other out of black and white thinking!!!!

And a second response later in the thread:

Posted Yesterday, 11:54 PM

View Post<usernamedeleted>, on January 22, 2012 – 11:13 PM, said:

Blunt is good. This is a support site right? Maybe some people need a different kind of way of support. I’m
Yeah, I think that is what I am thinking about. I have struggled with this a lot over the last year, thinking about this.  I guess i’ve found that I react a lot better with encouragement rather than bluntness, and that is me.  I don’t need someone to sugar coat it for me, I just dont’ need someone judging me, because I already do it a lot worse to myself.
A lot of people got here through denial, very true and no doubt. Denial probably plays a role in most emotional eating issues. but it may not be the biggest issue for all of us.
I got here not by denial as my primary problem, I’ve always been painfully aware of how bad what I was doing was, but unable to stop.  I’ve spent years continually beating myself up and being way more blunt and over critical with myself than anyone else could ever be. For me, using language that represents a judgement on an action, is very black and white when I talk to myself or someone else, and is something I’m really trying to change. So a word like “cheating” is just a super loaded word to me. Which for those of us who have this particular flaw in thinking, cheating leads to feeling I’m a failure, and then that leads to thinking why bother and more failure. But saying I made a mistake, helps me know I can do better next time.
Think of it this way….if you forget to take a dose of a medication you need to take, do you consider that you have cheated? I don’t. I don’t think I’m a failure or that I’ve completely blown it.
Taking the emotions and judgement out of things is helping me a lot in getting to a new normal.
The other thing that is interesting is how we define  cheating. The original poster, Indymom, said:

View Post<username deleted>, on January 21, 2012 – 11:18 PM, said:

… the term “cheating” to me makes me think of being on Weight Watchers and deciding to eat a medium pizza by myself with breadsticks and a 2-liter of Pepsi, and not count the points.
which is a way different definition of cheating than I have.  I think that if I have eaten one more bite than I should have, or a type of food I shouldn’t have, that I have cheated.  And I’m trying to beat that kind of judgemental feeling out of myself, because when I feel that way I feel like a failure.
I’m encouraged by this kind of discussion about what works for us.
If useful, here is a coverage on this from Beck Diet Solution, which is the cognitive behavioral based therapy approach to eating issues developed by Judith Beck, who’s father actually developed CBT.

Quote from Beck Diet Solution

No more “cheating”
The word cheat doesn’t appear again in this book outside of this box. I’ve omitted it intentionally because too many unsuccessful dieters have all-or-nothing thoughts about their eating:  Either I’m perfect on this diet or I’ve cheated…If I’ve cheated, I’ve blown it–I may as well continue to cheat for the rest of the [day/week/month/year]/  I’ve found that people who view themselves as having cheated usually feel demoralized and even “bad.” which makes it even more difficult for them to get back on track.  Instead of cheat, I’ve used the words unplanned eating and overeating.  These terms are less negatively charged.  People who use them are able to take a more benign view and say Okay, so I ate something I didn’t plan to eat or I ate more than I was supposed to. But they’re also able to then add, It was just a mistake, no big deal…I’ll get back on track for the rest of the day.
The other thing that I think about, is in post-op diet, what really IS cheating?  I mean with the super wide variation of advice on the post-op diet, those of us who research and see all this variation, you realize that there is a WIDE definition of what is considered ok during the immediate post-op diet phase.  My single surgeon and his plan is not the definitive be-all end-all of advice.  I don’t take one person’s plan and advice as my absolute truth.  If there were a gold standard out there, or if all of their advice was remarkably similar, then I’d say the choices i’ve made since surgery that deviated from my doc’s handout would be something to think more about why I’ve made other choices.
Example there — the Cornell VSG post op guidelines say we can have oatmeal, grits, farina.    My doc’s guidelines say no.  Am I cheating if I have thinned oatmeal?
All very interesting.
I *think* the original post was targeted at folks that are blatantly doing really major things that are not good for them in the post-op phase, which I support, but where is the line?  This really triggered me to do a lot of thinking! Thanks!
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