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How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight

Diet 'cheat days' can actually boost your chances of weight loss success
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12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet continued...

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. 

3.    Go for flavor hits. Whatever you love, buy it in its most intense and tasty form, says O'Neil. This way, you can have less of it, yet still get the flavor you crave. For example, are you crazy about salty snacks? Splurge on gourmet sea salt or chunky kosher salt, and sprinkle it over a ripe, red tomato. "You'll have a more brilliant, bright flavor," says O'Neil, "but a better salty hit and crunch -- so you'll use less."

4.    Enjoy with all your senses. When you indulge in your diet splurge, serve it on a pretty plate with a colorful garnish so you can appreciate its eye appeal. "Eat your meals and snacks slowly by taking small bites so you can enjoy the taste and have a satisfying and mindful meal experience," advises Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindful Eating. Being more aware of what is on your plate and eating it slowly can help you get more satisfaction from your food.

5.    Have a plan. "If you happen to be a dessert lover and eat out, ask to see the dessert menu first," says O'Neil. This way, you can budget your calories for what matters most to you. Knowing where you're really headed -- toward that pecan torte, perhaps? -- will make it easier to skip the creamy clam chowder or deep-fried cheese sticks.

6.    Eat only what you love. "If it's bad [for your diet], it had better be good," says O'Neil. So instead of grabbing a trio of donut holes each morning with your coffee -- and distractedly downing a doughy 300 calories -- splurge on something worth savoring, like a small, perfect wedge of creamy cheesecake.

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