It's not uncommon that I make fun of Vegans (purely in jest) and there are definitely things that I (and science) don't agree with in terms of nutrition but there is one thing I have to admire them for.
Vegans don't have cheat days.
You don't see a Vegan down at the cafe on a Sunday morning hoeing into Bacon and Eggs saying "It's OK - it's my cheat day" . You don't seem them munching on a burger with a beer on a Friday night saying that it's OK cause they will eat clean the next day.
Why is that ? Why don't Vegans have cheat days ?
The answer is quite simple. It is because they are basing their diet on a BELIEF - not a goal or a desire. They BELIEVE in an animals right to live a happy life (so do I by the way). This belief is at their core - quite literally. Beliefs reside primarily in the neo-cortex and we receive a release of dopamine (the feel good hormone) when we do something that affirms that belief.
Contrast this with people who want to 'get fit' or 'get in shape'. They typically start off all keen and gung-ho but then start to have cheat mills, miss sessions etc and then either don't achieve the outcome they seek or drop off completely. I often smirk when people miss a session as they have another 'commitment'. What they are saying is that they are doing is something they are more committed to. That's fine in most cases like family but often they are just more committed to sleeping in than improving their lives.
The difference is the reason for the change - the belief, conviction, principle etc. People that want to 'get fit' are not making the change due to something they believe in but often just cause they desire an outcome. Often this outcome is just a short term thing too. Their desire and conviction to achieve this outcome wavers as it is not based on a core principle. If you ask them WHY they are doing this the answer is seldom firm ie it is not based on a conviction or a belief. It is often just I want to get in shape for a particular event.
Contrast this with people that answer the WHY question with responses such as 'to be a role model for my children', 'to be a role model for people my age'. These people seldom stray from their commitment to training and nutrition as their reason is based on a Belief or Conviction - just like in the case of a Vegan. Most of the significant transformations that you see on the internet are based on significant events that change one fundamental belief - the belief that we are immortal. Being told by a doctor that unless you lose weight you will die within 18 months or, worse still, suffering a potentially catastrophic illness such as a heart attack or cancer changes this belief. People that fundamentally change their lifestyle based on these event rarely have cheat meals...
Before you commit to making a change ask yourself two questions.
1. Why are you making this change and is that a core belief.
2. Are you truly prepared to commit to change (fence sitters need not apply).