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The Promise

You have to cheat on this diet.You eat a Mediterranean-style diet during the week, “cheat” on your diet all weekend long, and you’ll still lose weight, according to The Cheater's Diet by weight-loss doctor Paul Rivas, MD.

Purposely blowing your diet on weekends, Rivas claims, cranks up your metabolism, reversing the metabolic slowdown that happens when you restrict calories. Your furnace stays hot, so that when you eat fewer calories Monday through Friday, your body burns fat. Rivas doesn’t cite research to back up this theory, however.

Weekend “cheating” also strengthens your resolve to eat well the rest of the week, Rivas says (though it seems some people may find it even harder to stick to healthy eating after a weekend off.) You can even cheat on exercise, working out only twice a week and doing “lifestyle” exercise, such as cleaning the house, on other days, according to the plan.

What You Can and Can't Eat

Pizza, ice cream, steak, wine, beer, cinnamon buns -- they’re all fair game from Saturday morning to Sunday night. In fact, they’re downright encouraged. Only foods that might trigger overeating are off-limits.

On weekends, you add an extra 10 calories per day for every pound you weigh, which could mean a whopping 1,500 additional calories or more on both days.

On all other days, you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with lean protein (such as fish, chicken, beans, “and some pork loin thrown in now and then for taste”), and one-quarter with whole grains.

You have at least three servings of fruit per day (not bananas, which contain too much starch) and at least four servings of vegetables.

Low-fat yogurt, peanuts, eggs, and skim milk are specifically endorsed.

Sugar, bread, white rice, potatoes, saturated fats (like butter, cream, marbled meats, and most fried foods), and alcohol are off-limits during the week.

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