7 Good tips for when you’ve cheated bad

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K and I just got back from a weekend in the Cape Winelands, and boy was it awesome! We packed up the car and headed off with our good friends Gin and Tonic on Friday afternoon, bundled up against the chilly Stellenbosch weather and ready for some great food and wine.

See, Sellenbosch is one South Africa’s top wine-producing regions, and it’s also a famous university town where K studied. I knew this weekend was going to mean a little indulgence, but I had no idea how far I’d fall from the wagon.

My cheating confession

Between our pub crawl on Friday, Bastille Day celebrations in Franschhoek yesterday (Franschhoek – the ‘French Corner’ – being another renowned wine-producing area) and the fresh food fairs, wine farms, restaurants, fast food joints and craft markets we trawled, my GI system experienced an onslaught bar (n)one.

NOT the kind of sheep you should be eating on SCD/AIP

NOT the kind of sheep you should be eating on SCD/AIP

Most of my cheating took the form of copious amounts of booze – the ‘not allowed’ kinds like Jagermeister, sparkling and sweet wines, energy drinks (to make Jagerbombs – Jagerbombs!!) and tequila (though I think tequila is actually ‘legal’, as it’s made from cacti). But there was also nightshade veg (tomatoes at breakfast and lunch, and some fries), as well as an embarrassingly large amount of chocolate, including a chocolate sheep. In fact, I pretty much ‘forgot’ that tomatoes were nightshades. Did I leave my AIP brain at home?? It felt like it.

A small selection of the booze we bought...

A small selection of the booze we bought…

... and consumed this weekend

… and consumed this weekend

My ‘tips’ for cheating

This weekend was a PROPER cheat. Two days of diet debauchery. I do NOT recommend you EVER cheat as severely as this. But, if you do go hurtling off the wagon head-first into a pile of cheese, here are a few tips that I can share, purely from my experience.

1. Avoid gluten, even when cheating. My nutritionalist explained to me that gluten can take up to six months to leave your system altogether. One cheat is NOT worth undoing all that work. Have a gluten-free pizza or pasta, or have cheese or any chocolate that doesn’t contain gluten. There are ‘safe’ cheat foods and naughtier cheat foods, and then there are the cheat foods that can set you back months in your healing. Try not to have those.

2. Realise that cheating is inevitable. I cheat about once every two months or so. That’s six times a year. It’s not great, it’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s something I’m hoping will continue to decline in frequency over time. But it’s a FAR cry from where I was, and I’m making progress and trying my best. Just forgive yourself and move on (but don’t forget! And don’t eat gluten!).

3. Prepare for pain. There’s a reason you’re on the diet you’re on. Today, doubled over in pain as we drove home from Stellenbosch, I remembered just how great it feels to eat clean. Although the pain sucks, it’s also an effective way to keep the cheating to a minimum. Just remember how shit, literally, it feels to cheat. Remember this pain, nausea and desire to curl up and die.

4. Recognise when you’re in a ‘high risk’ situation. For me, it’s when my friends are buying rounds of drinks and the wine is flowing. I realise I can’t be in these kinds of situations without cheating, so I need to avoid them or keep them to an absolute minimum. It also helps to have people around you – for me, it’s K – who will remind you about your diet and castigate you for cheating. It sounds horrible, but it’s necessary and it works!

5. Stop as soon as possible. Don’t think that just because you cheated on Friday night means you should just write off the whole weekend and keep cheating until Monday – because come Monday, you’ll have another excuse to keep cheating until Friday – and hey, then it’s the weekend again! Cheat, then stop, or you never will.

6. Cleanse. Don’t stop your meds or your supplements. Don’t stop drinking two litres of water a day. Treat your body as if it’s flaring, because that’s probably how it’s feeling – sore, bloated, gassy and uncomfortable. It’s already had to do enough work processing the bad stuff, so give it a break and go back to basics. Stick to plain veggies, plain cooked meat, eggs (if you can tolerate them) and bananas. Even if you can tolerate dairy, it may be wise to cut it out for a bit – it’s known to aggravate a sensitive stomach. Also avoid coffee, alcohol and fruit juices, and stick with herbal teas and broths. You know what your body likes when it’s feeling bad, so feed it those things only.

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7. Don’t stress. You screwed up and you’ve already done damage to your body. Stressing about it will only make it worse – just think about how your stomach feels when you’re in a state of tension and anxiety. Stress will only exacerbate your symptoms and prolong your healing. Be kind to yourself.

Do you have any other tips for cheating? Or perhaps any tips to help me stop cheating?? As you can see, I could really use all the help I can get!

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Day 84: What’s wrong with this picture? A cautionary tale about getting drunk on SCD

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I mean besides the bright pink eye-shadow and multi-coloured nails?

THAT PINK DRINK!

Last night, 84 days in, I completely fell off the SCD wagon – and yes, today I am filled with remorse and I’m hating myself pretty badly.

The day started out well enough. K, my sister and I went on a little shopping trip and ended up stopping for refreshments at the new branch of Osumo up the road from us – it’s a health food cafe that sells amazing natural fresh food. Perfect.

My sister and I each had their 100% apple juice, which is so pure they may as well be standing at your table and squeezing it from the apple as you drink it. I’ve never had pure fruit juice like that at a restaurant before, and I was so impressed. K had a ‘Chocolate Frosty’, which is made from banana, frozen yogurt and a few other things. She was so chuffed that it was delicious despite being healthy!

Just LOOK at that pure apple juice!

Just LOOK at that pure apple juice!

Apple juice and a Chocolate Frosty from Osumo

Apple juice and a Chocolate Frosty from Osumo

I had to add this picture of my cute little sister!

I couldn’t resist posting this pic of my cute little sister!

The rest of the day went fine too, and I pre-ate before we went out last night. We’d planned a super gay night out on the town – yay!

We started at our friends’ place with bubbly (it wasn’t a sweet one, though it was carbonated – a big no-no for me) and shots of jagermeister. I have never looked into this, but I’m pretty sure jagermeister is NOT SCD legal.

Then we got to the restaurant – and incredibly vibey place with an amazing drinks menu. I already had my buzz on, and I was failing to hear to frantic warning sirens in my head. I ordered a cosmo. My reasoning? It’s vodka and cranberry juice, and cranberry is good for you!

Of course, in the sober light of day, I am fully and painfully aware than the ‘cranberry juice’ they put into a cosmo is very, very, VERY far removed from anything natural I should be consuming. Actually, I realised this when the first sugary blast hit my tongue. But by this point, I was too tipsy to worry. And then, because I’d ‘already’ slipped up, I went on to order a strawberry daiquiri (the pic above), which I think is SO illegal on SCD it could actually get me arrested.

By the time I finished my super-potent drinks, I had not a care in the world. I didn’t order food, but when K’s arrived, it looked amazing.

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AH! I thought, regressing back to my pre-SCD brain, onion rings! Somehow, my drink-addled brain decided that because I’d already safely introduced onion, it would be fine to eat the BATTERED DEEP-FRIED onion rings off K’s plate. I took one bite and realised OMG GLUTEN!!!!!! and then quickly finished the lot while K shook her head sadly and repeated ,’84 days, 84 days’ and ‘I don’t know how to stop you.’ Thank goodness I managed to rein myself in before these shortbreads arrived at the table:

What would a super gay night out on the town be without penis cookies?

What would a super gay night out on the town be without penis cookies?

The rest of the night was okay. I drank water and/or vodka with soda water, but the guilt hung over me like a cloud. It still does today, and I’m hoping that writing about it here will at least benefit someone.

I’m sad that I knowingly cheated (and so badly!) so far into this. BUT I also realise that as human beings following a pretty difficult diet, slip-ups probably are inevitable. I’m no better or worse than anyone else, and I didn’t die (despite feeling like death today).

It  also made me realise that my food inhibitions willpower completely evaporates the moment I start drinking shots – something that I thought I’d conquered, but clearly have not. So whether or not they’re legal (like tequila), it’s not a good idea for me to have shooters EVER. I’m also strictly back on the diet so this is not a free pass to remain fallen-off-the-wagon.

Sigh. I really despise myself right now but I realise it’s not productive. Instead, I’m going to publish this post and let it take the self-hatred with it. Then, I’m going to have a big glass of water, a couple of eggs, and re-read this excellent article from SCDLifestyle.com that seems so applicable right now, about the glass wall mistake that people make when they think they’re getting better.

How’s your diet going?

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