How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight
Diet 'cheat days' can actually boost your chances of weight loss success
12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet continued...
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.
7. Make it yourself. Can't enjoy your morning
coffee without a muffin? Mix up your own batch, slipping in goodies like oats,
nuts, and whole-grain flour. Love piping hot pizza? Try making it yourself,
using intensely flavored toppings like goat cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh
herbs. You won't even miss the pepperoni. WebMD's "Recipe Doctor," Elaine
Magee, knows where to slash calories without anyone noticing: "Cheesecake is a
perfect example of an easy dish to lighten, because you can use a dusting of
graham cracker or cookie crumbs instead of a crust made with 6 tablespoons of
melted butter; [and use] reduced-fat ingredients like light cream cheese and
egg substitute and a little less sugar," she says. "Then you can heighten the
flavor with lemon or lime zest for a dessert that is much lighter so you can
enjoy a larger portion."
8. Get away from it all. How many times have
you eaten lunch at your desk or in front of the TV, and then realized you
didn't taste a bite? "Our society doesn't embrace eating and enjoying our food;
we try and be productive at all times," says Grotto. That's why it's so
important to savor your splurge without distractions. And if you do so away
from the kitchen, it's harder to sneak in seconds.