Wow! Look at the Rock’s cheat meal!

What a horrible message. He’s labelling his favorite foods as a cheat!

Doesn’t he realize stigmatizing foods as off-limits or “bad” creates enormous anxiety in the average person?

It becomes like forbidden fruit to gullible Adam, a splinter in their brain they can’t quite shake, so eventually they break and binge and spiral into a bottomless black hole of pizza & donut-dusted self loathing?


…maybe, just maybe…

Maybe those are gross generalizations that may apply to some people but certainly not to everyone?

Look, I’m a “words guy” and so I would be the first to say words matter.

But, after coaching a lot of people, I’ve learned that individualization is key. And people develop their relationship with food (good and bad) long before they hire a coach or see a dietician.

In the Rock’s case, he’s obviously from a high-end athletic background, where food is both seen as fuel to fill up on AND occasionally pounded for hedonisitic pleasure.

Though in his case not too often, because theres usually a goal in sight that’s closely linked to how he looks, and by extension, the food choices he makes.

So a good food/bad food/cheat meal classification system makes sense to him, and many others.

However, some people come from a much different background, where there’s a more negative or self-medicating relationship with food.

High calorie comfort foods or excessive portions are overused to feel good and assuage stress or even replace love.

Does labelling their favorite foods “cheat” or “bad” a good idea? Probably not.

So while replacing the word “cheat” with “treat” might be a better fit here, hopefully everyone can see that’s a grossly simplistic, condescending solution to a complex problem that likely started in early childhood, and requires professional help.

In practice, the way I define & use cheat meals for MOST new clients is just any meal that’s way off target for whatever reason (life, social obligations, etc). So when they happen (and they always do), BOOM, there’s your cheat meal for the week, Bucko.

And as for bad foods? Yes. They are real.

You can stand on your soap box and say they are “no bad foods, just bad diets” but all that says is you don’t understand or have experience with personal trigger foods, especially in highly stressed, anxious people.

Let’s just say some folks do MUCH better staying the hell away from certain foods.

As always, context is everything, individualization is everything.

Listening is everything. Empathy is everything.