On Cheating, part 2: 5 Ways To Beat the Cheat

Last week I identified the broader concept of cheating on your healthy diet. I first asked you to explore and get curious about your wellness plan. Do you have one and does it help you gain control of your life instead of life being in control of you? Now, no more waiting. Here are my five most trusted — and researched — practices that will help you stay away from your cheat.


1. Plan ahead

Identify any obstacles to your current healthy eating plan and create tangible solutions you know you’ll practice. 

Here are my trusty stress resilience practices to help you:

Spend 15-30 minutes every Sunday to plan your week. Plan your work projects, categorizing them between low/medium/high priority. Add in your family or self-care needs in the same way: low/medium/high. (After a while, you’ll find the number of “high” priority projects you must do are few.) Then add weekly projects (grocery, gas, etc) you need to complete as well as the social outing(s) to which you are committed.

Write down what time you will get up each day, what you’ll eat for your meals and your snacks, when you’ll workout.

Plan around your schedule. If you have a meeting any time between 3-5pm in the afternoon, plan a healthy snack before and prepare it so you can eat it easily. That’s the common “witching hour” of “hangriness” (hungry combined with angry). This will prevent you from wanting to eat your fist at 7pm when you are possibly out for a social or business outing.


2. Get social support

“We’re the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time.”

Surrounding yourself with others who are also aiming for optimal health will not only give you the support for those situations when you are tempted to cheat, they’ll also be there with you to celebrate the small victories such as favorable blood test results, going sleeveless with confidence, or completing a tough exercise for the first time.


3. Brush your teeth throughout the day

Create an environment where food isn’t tasty – like after you brush your teeth!

Who wants to eat ice cream after the minty toothpaste taste is still in your mouth?


4. Prepare your food in advance

Start small. Spend a little time to prepare even just one day of meals and snacks in advance. This will help stave off temptation throughout the day. 

This will take away the temptation to go out for lunch, to have an unhealthy snack, or to join a group for an outing when you already have your lunch or dinner prepared. After all, you spent your precious time preparing — why waste it?! Prepared snacks are key to any successful nutrition program. By first planning ahead (see #1), you’ve already identified times in your day or week when you want to get on top of an otherwise disastrous snacking binge. This also applies to the post-dinner “I’m hungry” one hour later. You aren’t hungry. Your body is stressed and needs to go to bed. So…go to bed. If you are “hungry” fewer than four hours after a meal, it is a craving, not hunger. Your body hasn’t had the chance to digest the last meal you ate!


5. Be aware of the clock

Know the time of the day when most people cheat so you can be in control of you instead of the temptation controlling of you.

Time 1: When you are tired. Your cortisol is already spent. Your body is craving sugar – or reward.

Time 2: It’s late at night. Sorry, folks, just don’t go there. Your sleep is so important to your health, waistline, and to not craving bad foods. It isn’t worth it to be up late. You gain nothing for your awesome life. It’s filler. We’re more irritable. We are less productive. We lose years off our life…all just from lack of sleep.

Time 3: Alcohol is involved. The less you drink, the better. Limit your alcohol to weekends only and that doesn’t mean Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It raises your sugar levels, impedes restful sleep and doesn’t help you make the best of your workout the next day.

Time 4: Hanging out with friends. Love your social support…but make sure your social outings aren’t always filled with booze. Meet a friend for a walk, a movie. Someplace that doesn’t involve food.


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!


Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314




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