How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight
Diet 'cheat days' can actually boost your chances of weight loss success
Many of us think that starting a weight
loss diet means forsaking the fattening foods we love. No sweets, no cream
sauces, no chips, no wine, no fun! But this kind of weight
loss plan can actually lead to more cravings, fixating on forbidden foods
-- and goals abandoned long before their time. The truth, experts say, is that
you can have your weight loss and eat cake, too --
as long as you "cheat" on your diet the sensible way.
Taking away a person's favorite foods can be the death knell to a diet, says
David NW. Grotto, RD, LD, author of 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life.
"I think splurging on a diet is mandatory, not an option," he says.
Grotto calls it "structured cheating." There's a difference between enjoying
your favorite foods occasionally and eating everything you adore, he says. The
key to maintaining control, he says, is deciding what you want and how much
you'll have, and then to "eat it with full consciousness ... lick your
lips, and then move on with your life."
Carolyn O'Neil, RD, agrees. "I think sensible splurging is really the key to
being able to achieve a healthy lifestyle," says O'Neil, co-author of The
Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
Anyone can follow a restrictive diet for a short time, says O'Neil. But
sooner or later, most people will break down and overindulge on the foods
they've been denying themselves. "So why not come up with a sensible diet, so
your chances of success are much greater in the long run?" she asks.
When you know what you're getting into, you have more control, O'Neil says.
So if you love cheesecake, memorize the calorie count of your favorite type,
and then you can manage your diet splurge with portion control. O'Neil sums up
her diet philosophy this way: "The more you know, the more you can eat!"
12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet
Beyond sensible splurging, WebMD asked nutrition experts for more tips to how you can cheat on
your diet and still lose weight. Here's what they said:
1. Accept your "splurge foods." Your desire
for them isn't going anywhere. And as we all know, when you tell people they
can't do something -- like enjoy a slice of pie -- they're going to want to do
it even more, cautions Grotto.
2. Eat more filling foods. Load up your diet
with foods that go the distance -- those with lean protein and fiber. "Add eggs,
whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, lean meats,
seafood, and low fat dairy because these foods fill you up and help tame your
appetite" says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Marisa Moore,
RD. For further cravings control, plan for healthy snacks so that you
don't go for long periods without eating.